By Jeremy C. Owens, MarketWatch , Max A. Cherney
Cannabis company decreased forecast in August but still missed diminished expectations, stock falls 9.9% in after-hours trading
Aurora Cannabis Inc. shares declined over 9% in premarket trading Thursday after the pot company missed revenue expectations even after trimming its forecast.
The Edmonton, Alberta-based Aurora (ACB.T) (ACB.T) announced a fiscal fourth-quarter net loss of C$2.26 million on net revenue of C$98.94 million, with an adjusted Ebitda loss of C$11.7 million ($8.9 million). In a separate filing, Aurora said that its net loss attributable to common shareholders was less than C$200,000, and less than a penny a share, with the rest of the losses attributed to two subsidiaries' non-controlling interests.
Analysts surveyed by FactSet had estimated adjusted losses of C$0.06 a share on revenue of C$108 million. Last year in the same quarter, Aurora reported net income of C$79.9 million, or 17 cents a share, on net revenue of C$19.1 million. Aurora shares declined 9.9% in after-hours trading following the results.
Earlier this year, Aurora executives had said the company was on track to achieve a sort of profitability: On an adjusted basis, the company would post a positive figure for earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization. Aurora adjusts its Ebitda figure for biological asset transformation (), among other things.
But in August, the company appeared to walk back the figure, saying in a news release that it was "on track" to achieve positive adjusted Ebitda without mentioning a specific time frame, as it had previously. In the outlook provided in Wednesday's announcement, Aurora even stopped pointing to that adjusted profitability, saying instead that it "expects adjusted Ebitda to continue to improve in the future due to expected revenue growth, improvements in gross margin and prudent SG&A growth."
Prior to the August guidance, analysts polled by FactSet had estimated fourth-quarter revenue of C$111.9 million. In the August update, the company tamped down expectations, telling investors that it was now on track to book sales of C$100 million to C$107 million, net of excise taxes, but it failed to hit that mark in the end.
"In 2019 Aurora took its place as the global leader in cannabis production, research, innovation and international market development," Chief Executive Terry Booth said in Wednesday's announcement. "We are executing on all our strategic priorities."
Aurora plans to hold a conference call with executives at 9 a.m. Eastern time Thursday.
Aurora's fourth-quarter results arrive amid a swath of disappointing top-line results from the largest Canadian pot companies (). Difficulties growing and packaging ( ) the plant have contributed to the lackluster start to legal recreational cannabis in Canada, as has the relatively small number of retail locations in provinces such as Ontario, the most populous.
Much like other cannabis companies that purchased cultivation and other production assets ahead of recreational legalization last October, Aurora carries a substantial amount of goodwill on its balance sheet, roughly C$2.4 billion according to its third-quarter financial results (). It's difficult to determine when and if the company will write down the value.
Though Aurora sold its stake () in Green Organic Dutchman Holdings Ltd. (TGOD.T) for C$86.5 million on Sept. 4, those shares were still on the books during the June quarter. The company's bottom line has in the past been affected by the value of a number of its investments in other cannabis companies ( ), such as Dutchman, and swings in the sector.
U.S.-traded shares of Aurora have gained 31% this year, with the S&P 500 index rising 19.7%.
-Max A. Cherney; 415-439-6400; AskNewswires@dowjones.com
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
September 12, 2019 07:16 ET (11:16 GMT)
Copyright (c) 2019 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.