Last week saw a landmark decision by the U.S. House Judiciary Committee, which approved a bill advocating the decriminalization of marijuana at the federal level. Pending approval by the House of Representatives and Senate, this could mean full scale legalization in the U.S.
The good news instigated a bit of a rally across cannabis stocks, and a timely one at that, too. The cannabis industry has had a rough ride this year, with many leading names struggling in the market due to a variety of reasons, from retail delays to congestion at the wholesale level to regulatory uncertainty.
The cannabis industry is still in its nascent stages, and the young sector is still finding its feet. Seaport Global’s Brett Hundley has been keeping a close eye, noting, “The breadth of product offering rushing to market is incredibly wide and diverse. The prospect of trying to pick winners and losers at this juncture is challenging, to say the least.”
With Q3 reports recently filed, Hundley decided to reassess his position on three cannabis stocks, which have seen their prices trend downward this year. Let’s have a look at some of the analyst’s findings.
Aurora Cannabis (ACB)
“I believe the children are our future,” so the song goes. Aurora Cannabis hopes so too, as ACB is the most held stock on millennial user-heavy investing app, Robinhood.
Popularity, though, doesn’t always equate to success. Aurora, the world’s second largest cannabis company, recently experienced a sell-off following a disappointing earnings report.
Following Aurora’s earnings report, Hundley has updated his financial model, noting “Our new model includes a draw-down of forward production expectations, offset by an improved pricing assumption. As a result, our forward sales forecasts move higher, including new FY2020 and FY2021 estimates of $400.5MM and $522.2MM, respectively. We now expect a deeper-than-anticipated EBITDA loss in FY2020, built mainly on a higher SG&A assumption. We now project an EBITDA loss of $98.8MM in FY2020, followed by a forecasted loss of $33.8MM in FY2021.”
As a result, Hundley reiterates a Neutral rating (i.e. "hold") on Aurora stock without providing a price target. (To watch Hundley's track record, click here)
The rest of the Street’s take is split on Aurora. 5 Buy ratings, 5 Holds, and 2 Sells received in the last three months give the cannabis giant a Moderate Buy analyst consensus. Is Aurora stock overvalued or undervalued based on these ratings? The average price target stands tall at $4.97, putting the upside potential at a hefty 99%. (See Aurora stock analysis on TipRanks)
Canadian cannabis company, Tilray, has led the charge on several fronts. The company was the first medical cannabis producer in North America to be GMP certified, the first cannabis company to IPO on the Nasdaq, and the first Canadian cannabis company to legally export medical cannabis to the U.S. for a clinical trial.
As the saying goes, though, you’re only as good as your last performance, and the Tilray show has not been without its share of glitches over the last year.
Year-to-date, the cannabis producer’s share price has tumbled down, losing roughly 70% of its value. A negative cash flow and the acquisition of the world’s largest hemp foods manufacturer, Manitoba Harvest, completed earlier this year, have exerted heavy downward pressure.
The company’s recent quarterly report was a mixed bag too, reporting slightly better-than-expected revenues for the quarter, but with the company still heavily in the red. Management has said it expects to achieve positive EBITDA by Q420.
Hundley, though, is a bit more conservative and has updated the financial model for Tilray. The analyst said, “We now forecast an EBITDA loss of $23.3MM for 2020 along with positive EBITDA of $29.3MM for FY2021. Previously, we believe that management was willing to invest at continued losses in order to grab global market share, ahead, however we think that near-term market challenges have forced it into a drive for profitability, like many others in the space.” The analyst added, “We do like the company’s positioning as a global enterprise capable of producing brands or value-added ingredients for CPG/pharma partners. This gives the company multiple options, depending on how the overall global cannabis market evolves.”
Accordingly, Hundley maintained a Neutral rating on TLRY, without offering a stock-price forecast.
All in all, 3 Buys and 6 Holds assigned over the last 3 months add up to a Moderate Buy consensus on Tilray. The average price target, though, is $29.57, indicating a potential twelve-month gain of 45% from its current price. (See TLRY stock analysis on TipRanks)
Acreage Holdings (ACRGF)
You can tell times have changed when you look at a cannabis manufacturer’s board of directors, and find a former Republican Congressman, a former IBM CFO, and a former conservative Prime Minister among its board members. That’s what you get, though, at Acreage Holdings.
Still, the big names haven’t helped the Canadian cannabis producer in the market this year, its chart a reflection of the difficulties the cannabis industry has faced– an unremitting ride to the bottom, whilst shedding more than 70% of its value.
Earlier this year, the multi-state operator completed the acquisition of Form Factory, a multi-state manufacturer and distributor of cannabis-infused beverages and edibles. Acreage also agreed to a deal with Canopy Growth, the world’s largest cannabis company, who will purchase all of Acreage’s shares for $3.4 billion. The deal will be concluded in the future and is subject to the legalization of cannabis by the U.S. government.
The company’s Q3 earnings report was slightly underwhelming and missed out on the Street’s estimates. Hundley recently updated his model on Acreage, too, noting, “Forward sales projections come down; however we are also moderating anticipated EBITDA losses, ahead. For FY2020, we now project sales of $221.8MM alongside an EBITDA loss of $3.4MM.” Further adding, “ACRGF remains focused on expanding its footprint across a wide swath of US states, and it believes that it will continue to garner access to various types of financing, in part related to its relationship with CGC.”
To this end, the analyst reiterated a Buy rating on ACRGF, though slightly lowering the price target from $15 to $14. This still implies very healthy upside potential of 176%.
According to TipRanks, the consensus on Wall Street is that ACRGF stock is a “hold” for investors. But TipRanks might as well have said “buy” — because analysts, on average, think the stock, currently at $5.05, could zoom ahead to $15.33 within a year, delivering 200% profits to new investors. (See Acreage stock analysis on TipRanks)
The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.