Cantor Fitzgerald reiterated its overweight rating on shares of Aurora Cannabis Inc. (ACB.T) on Thursday and raised its stock price target to C$27 ($19) from C$22, after the company announced a long-awaited push into the U.S. cannabis market, via the $40 million all-stock purchase of a cannabidiol maker called Reliva (). "ACB proved last Thursday (5/14) that it is making great strides with its reset (divestitures, cost cuts, cash flow improvement), and played down the risk of further dilution," analyst Pablo Zuanic wrote in a note to clients, referring to the company's better-than-expected quarterly earnings. The analyst views the Reliva deal as one likely to boost EBITDA and said it's reasonably priced compared with other deals, "as long as it does not distract from progress in the Canadian and European cannabis markets. Certainly, the consumer CBD industry faces temporary challenges in the US, but the industry has long-term upside, valuations have pulled back, and we think Reliva has a unique channel and price positioning that allowed it to perform quite well pre-COVID," Zuanic wrote. Aurora's stock price rally in the last three days -- it has gained about 230% in a move that comes after a long slide -- is "understandable," he said, adding that the South Korean and Swiss sovereign funds that have taken stakes would probably agree. "But in a growth industry, we also judge companies based on the platforms they are building for future growth," said the note. "We also sense the deal has other intangibles: it strengthens the ACB senior management bench, brings global CPG connections that may be useful, and should help reinvigorate ACB's alliance with the UFC," said the note. Aurora shares were up 29% premarket, but are still down 51% in the year to date, while the Cannabis ETF (THCX) has fallen 24% and the S&P 500 has fallen 8%.
-Ciara Linnane; 415-439-6400; AskNewswires@dowjones.com
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
May 21, 2020 07:20 ET (11:20 GMT)
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