Cannabis Investors Should Pay Attention to This Valuation Metric

You’re reading a copy of this week’s edition of the New Cannabis Ventures weekly newsletter, which we have been publishing since October 2015. The newsletter includes unique insight to help our readers stay ahead of the curve as well as links to the week’s most important news.

Subscribe to receive our free weekly newsletter in your inbox each Sunday morning.


We think that cannabis stocks have very attractive valuations for the most part, but we aren’t sure that this matters right now. The cannabis industry has been struggling with slowing overall growth and with tough capital markets. Again, we think that the ultimate reversal of what is now a 2 1/2 year bear market will require either the elimination of 280E taxation or the ability of American cannabis stocks to trade on the NASDAQ or another higher exchange, but we are not in a position to predict the timing of either of these.

When the industry got started, investors could look only at revenue projections, as there were no profits yet. As the legal cannabis industry grew, investors began to focus on profitability as measured by adjusted EBITDA, which is the earnings before interest expense, taxation and depreciation and amortization with certain types of expenses removed, like stock compensation. American cannabis companies are priced very inexpensively to forward estimates. Looking at the projected 2023 estimates for adjusted EBITDA, the largest 5 American cannabis companies are trading in a range of 4.0X to 8.5X, an average of 5.7X.

Many investors have questioned using the metric, but due to the high tax-rates, very few companies are earning a net income, which makes a PE ratio difficult to use. Looking at the largest American cannabis operators, they all have debt, but some have more debt than others. Many investors are rightly concerned about the future. How will these companies pay off or extend their debt?

I use a metric that is very different, price to tangible book value (TBV), which helps measure staying power in my view. Most of the large American cannabis companies have negative tangible book value, which means that their assets less liabilities is exceeded by their goodwill and intangibles. For debt-free companies generating cash, price to TBV is not so important, but to companies facing tough capital-raising, it could be very important. Here is a table with the price to TBV and the enterprise value to adjusted EBITDA projected in 2024 for the largest American cannabis companies:

Of the 5 top American cannabis companies, the only one with substantive tangible equity is Green Thumb Industries, at $551 million. Still, with a market cap of $1.66 billion, the stock is no value at 3X TBV. Trulieve has TBV of just $17 million, while the other largest MSOs are negative, including Verano at -$90 million, Cresco Labs at -$166 million and Curaleaf at a stunning -$722 million.

In Canada, a federally legal market, some of the LPs trade below tangible book value with no debt and lots of cash. Canopy Growth trades more expensively than these at a 30% discount, but the company has a lot of net debt and is generating large use of cash from its operations. Tilray, which we have warned about, had at the end of Q3 a tangible book value of $333 million, but it has more debt than cash and trades at 5.7X TBV. We continue to be concerned with the valuation.

At 420 Investor, I have very high exposure to cannabis companies with low price to TBV in my model portfolios, mainly in Canada but across ancillary and American cannabis companies too. My largest MSO position is an American operator that is debt-free and trading at just 1X tangible book value.

With the bear market winds still blowing forcefully, we suggest that investors pay attention to the tangible book values of cannabis companies.

Like this newsletter? Sign up, and you will receive a free copy by email each Sunday morning. Each week, we share the top stories and write an original perspective as well.

New Cannabis Ventures publishes curated articles as well as exclusive news. Here is some of the most interesting business content from this week:

Financial Reports

Cresco Q2 Revenue Increases 2% From Q1 to $197.9 Million

To get real-time updates download our free mobile app for Android or Apple devices, like our Facebook page, or follow Alan on Twitter. Share and discover industry news with like-minded people on the largest cannabis investor and entrepreneur group on LinkedIn.

Use the suite of professionally managed NCV Cannabis Stock Indices to monitor the performance of publicly-traded cannabis companies within the day or over longer time-frames. In addition to the comprehensive Global Cannabis Stock Index, we offer the Canadian Cannabis LP Index, the American Cannabis Operator Index and the Ancillary Cannabis Index.

View the Public Cannabis Company Revenue & Income Tracker, which ranks the top revenue producing cannabis stocks.

Stay on top of some of the most important communications from public companies by viewing upcoming cannabis investor earnings conference calls.

Discover upcoming new listings with the curated Cannabis Stock IPOs and New Issues Tracker.


Alan & Joel

Exclusive article by Alan Brochstein, CFA
Alan Brochstein, CFA
Based in Houston, Alan leverages his experience as founder of online community 420 Investor, the first and still largest due diligence platform focused on the publicly-traded stocks in the cannabis industry. With his extensive network in the cannabis community, Alan continues to find new ways to connect the industry and facilitate its sustainable growth. At New Cannabis Ventures, he is responsible for content development and strategic alliances. Before shifting his focus to the cannabis industry in early 2013, Alan, who began his career on Wall Street in 1986, worked as an independent research analyst following over two decades in research and portfolio management. A prolific writer, with over 650 articles published since 2007 at Seeking Alpha, where he has 70,000 followers, Alan is a frequent speaker at industry conferences and a frequent source to the media, including the NY Times, the Wall Street Journal, Fox Business, and Bloomberg TV. Contact Alan: Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn | Email

Get Our Sunday Newsletter