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.
Earnings season has kicked off! Green Thumb Industries, one of the largest American cannabis operators, reported revenue and adjusted EBITDA that were ahead of expectations, and the stock ended up rallying for the week.
We really like GTI as a company, and the stock seems very cheap, but I don’t include it in either of my model portfolios currently. Our view remains bullish longer-term on cannabis stocks, but we remain a bit concerned in the short-term as we discussed here in early January. Hopefully, earnings season will help bring buyers into the market. We don’t think the GTI report will do that, though!
While GTI exceeded expectations slightly and rallied a few days after the report, the volume wasn’t high at all. A worse aspect is that the analysts lowered their 2023 outlook. GTI is now expected to see revenue grow 9% in 2023 to $1.107 billion with adjusted EBITDA projected by the analysts to grow 10% to $344 million. Ahead of the report, the analysts were expecting sales of $1.178 billion and adjusted EBITDA to be $372 million. So, the expected revenue is now 6% lower, and the adjusted EBITDA margin has declined from 31.6% to 31.1%.
Last week, we shared a target price for Canopy Growth that was drastically lower than where the stock was trading, and we are happy to share my year-end target price for GTI that is a lot higher than where it closed Friday. I had shared this in early January when I wrote at Seeking Alpha about the company being cheap but not as inexpensive as peers, and my target for year-end 2023 was $16.71. I am using the same valuation ratios to update it, and it’s now 10% lower. Using 2024 projected adjusted EBITDA of $381 million and a ratio of 10X for its enterprise value yields now a stock price target of $15.00. This is 69% higher than the $8.90 close on Friday.
We remain hopeful that investors will be more interested in cannabis stocks soon. A big part of the shift towards optimism, though, is based on the outlooks holding steady. The GTI report was mixed, with the revenue and profitability better than expected but the analyst outlooks lower than before. We have a lot more earnings reports ahead, and we hope that the outlooks that analysts have afterwards are in line with the expectations beforehand.
The Cannabis Investor Earnings Conference Call Calendar, managed by New Cannabis Ventures, tracks upcoming conference calls of cannabis companies within the United States, Canada and other countries. The list-based calendar also provides links to dial-in numbers, web-links and replays. This data-driven, fact-based calendar will continually update with new scheduled calls. Companies must file with the SEC, SEDAR or their regulatory authority to be considered for inclusion.
New Cannabis Ventures publishes curated articles as well as exclusive news. Here is some of the most interesting business content from this week:
Sales of adult-use cannabis in Illinois got off to a slow start in 2023, falling 11.1% sequentially in January and again by 5.8% in February. Still, sales were $120.5 million, up 5.7% from a year ago. Sales rose a whopping 106% in 2021 but just 13% in 2022. So far this year, adult-use sales are up 7.4% to $248.4 million. Non-resident sales decreased from 28.8% in December and 28.2% in January to 25.5%, the lowest since May 2020. Medical use sales for January fell 12.1% sequentially to $27.6 million, down 7% from a year ago. For January, combined sales of $155.6 million dropped 11.3% sequentially but were up 5.9% from a year ago.
The Q4 earnings season is underway and New Cannabis Ventures will keep informed via its Public Cannabis Company Revenue & Income Tracker. The tracker has a senior and junior list. To qualify for the senior list, companies must have a minimum quarterly revenue of US$25 million/C$34 million. To qualify for the junior list, companies must have a minimum of US$12.5 million/C$17 million. At the time of our last update on Jan. 25, 39 companies qualified for the senior list, including 31 filing in U.S. dollars and eight in Canadian currency. Currently, 30 companies that file in U.S. dollars qualify, and eight that file in Canadian dollars are qualifying for the senior list, for a total of 38. The junior list now includes eight companies reporting in U.S. dollars and three in Canadian dollars. On a combined basis, the Public Cannabis Company Revenue & Income Tracker includes 49 companies.
The Global Cannabis Stock Index’s big rally didn’t last long with the index losing 6.3% in February to 10.02. While the index fell 70.4% in 2022, it is now up 3.2% in Q1. The five strongest companies in February (up by 3% or more) were Scotts Miracle-Gro, TerrAscend, Hexo Corp., Green Thumb Industries, and Turning Point Brands. The weakest, which fell by 17% or more, were Canopy Growth, Aurora Cannabis, SNDL, Grow Generation, and 22nd Century Group.
Other proprietary indices that New Cannabis Ventures maintains are the American Cannabis Operator Index, Ancillary Cannabis Index, and Canadian Cannabis LP Index, as well as Canadian Cannabis LP index Tier 1, 2, and 3. The American Index remained unchanged from January at 15.14 and is up 6.3% this year. Two stocks, TerrAscend and Glass House Brands, were up by double digits. Next month, MariMed and Planet 13 Holdings no longer will be part of the index, while Upexi will be added. The Ancillary Cannabis Index fell 5.3% to 16.43 in February but is up 9.4% for the year. Three companies, Agrify, AgriFORCE Growing, and WM Technology, no longer will be part of the index. Meantime, the Canadian Cannabis LP Index dipped 0.9% in February after starting off the new year with a bang – rising 19.4% in January. The index is up 18.3% for the year. The Canadian Cannabis LP Tier 1 Index gave up 10% in February after surging by nearly 24% in January. The Tier 2 Index lost most of what it gained in January, falling 7.4% in February to 109.29. The Tier 3 index rose 8 % in February to 24.04 adding to its 26.1% increase in January.
Cronos Group Q4 revenue of $22.9 million rose 10% sequentially and decreased 11% year-over-year. The company blamed part of the decrease on lower cannabis flower sales in the Canadian adult-use market, as well as the impact of the weakening Canadian dollar against the U.S. dollar. Meantime full-year revenue of $91.9 million increased by $17.5 million from the previous year, which the company attributed to growth in the Israeli medical market and higher extract sales in the Canadian adult-use market.
Green Thumb Industries Q4 revenue of $259 million increased 6% year-over-year but slipped 1% sequentially. For the full year, total revenue increased by 13.9% to $1 billion. Q4 revenue growth primarily was driven by the legalization of adult-use sales in New Jersey, which began on April 21, 2022, as well as revenue generated from acquisitions made throughout 2021. The company’s Chairman and CEO Ben Kovler lamented the federal government’s failure to legalize cannabis. “As a federally illegal business with limited access to capital, we remain focused on our cash position, while consistently paying interest and taxes on time,” he said. “The lack of progress regarding cannabis regulation from our elected officials in Congress is mind-numbing. The crippling tax burden continues to hurt new operators by greatly reducing their prospects for a profitable and sustainable cannabis business.”
Innovative Industrial Properties reported Q4 revenue of approximately $70.5 million, a 20% increase from the prior year and a 1% decrease from the prior quarter. For the full year, the company reported revenue of $276.4 million, up 35% from the previous year’s total of $204.6 million. IIP invested approximately $394 million (excluding transaction costs), including nine acquisitions of properties located in seven states and 12 lease amendments to provide funding for qualifying real estate infrastructure improvements at properties in seven states, expanding IIP’s footprint to 110 properties totaling 8.7 million rentable square feet in 19 states at year-end.
MariMed reported Q4 revenue of $35.8 million, up 6% sequentially and 15% year-over year. “Headwinds continued to challenge the industry, and the economy impacted consumer spending, yet MariMed delivered strong financial results, including positive cash flows from operations for the third consecutive year,” said CEO Jon Levine. This year, the company expects to open four new dispensaries: one each in Ohio and Illinois, and two in Massachusetts. It also anticipates opening new wholesale facilities in Illinois and Missouri.
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Alan & Joel