Tilray Inc. reported its first profitable quarterly period on Wednesday, ahead of its planned merger with Aphria Inc. 

The Nanaimo, B.C.-based cannabis producer said sharp increases in its adult-use and medical cannabis businesses led to it generating US$50.7 million in net revenue in the three-month period ended Dec. 31, an increase of 19 per cent from a year earlier. 

The company also reported US$2.2 million in positive adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) in the fourth quarter, topping the US$35.3-million adjusted EBITDA loss reported in the same period last year. Tilray still reported a US$3-million net loss in the quarter.

Analysts polled by Bloomberg expected Tilray to report about US$55 million in revenue in its fourth quarter, and a scant US$220,000 in positive adjusted EBITDA. 

"Over the course of 2020, and despite COVID-19 related challenges, we transformed and strengthened Tilray, delivered solid full year results, significantly reduced net loss, and achieved our stated goal of delivering break even or positive adjusted EBITDA in Q4 2020," Brendan Kennedy, Tilray's chief executive officer, said in a statement. 

Tilray said it expects to close its blockbuster merger with Aphria in the second quarter of this year, which will make it the world’s largest cannabis company based on pro forma revenue.

The company noted that it sold 6,901 kilograms of cannabis in the fourth quarter, a 54-per-cent year-over-year decline, as it ended its bulk sales program. The company's average net selling price per gram fell to US$5.97 from US$6.15 in the prior quarter due to pricing pressure in the Canadian recreational market. 

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