The hiring of a well qualified CFO is an important development for Aurora Cannabis (TSXV:ACB), says Canaccord Genuity analyst Neil Maruoka.
This morning, Aurora announced that former QLT CFO Glen Ibbott has been appointed as the company’s chief financial officer, replacing Amy Stephenson, who had acted as Aurora’s interim CFO since last summer.
“We are delighted with the appointment of Glen, as he brings to Aurora deep experience and capabilities that match our needs as we continue to develop,” said Aurora CEO Terry Booth. “The timing is perfect as we continue executing on an aggressive growth and expansion strategy aimed at creating a global leader in the cannabis industry. We will continue to emphasize our roots as a medical cannabis company, while positioning Aurora effectively to seize the enormous opportunity we expect to be created by the legalization of adult consumer use. As we take the Aurora Standard to new heights in terms of operational, financial, governance and innovation excellence, we believe that in Glen we have found someone who ticks all these boxes, and will be a great fit for the company as we build on our leadership within the industry. Finally, I would like to thank Amy Stephenson for her significant contributions to Aurora over the past year, and for her professionalism, expertise and team spirit that made her a valued member of our team.”
Maruoka says operating an LP has become more complex than some might have first imagined, and Ibbott will be a positive for the company.
“We believe this hire fills an important role for Aurora, as Mr. Ibbott takes over from Interim CFO Amy Stephenson,” he says. “Moreover, we believe that Mr. Ibbott’s background as a Canadian Chartered Professional Accountant will be essential in interpreting the complex financial reporting for Canadian licensed producers of cannabis. Separately, the company has announced the appointment of Andrea Paine as Director of Quebec Affairs. We believe this is also a key role for the company as Aurora maintains a strong relationship with the Federal government and expands its cultivation footprint into Quebec with the acquisition of its Peloton Pharmaceuticals facility. Not unexpectedly, shares of Canadian LPs have been under pressure following the tabling of legislation to legalize recreational use of cannabis. Given the lack of macro and industry catalysts over the next few months, we continue to look for companies with differentiated strategies and potential stock-specific catalysts. As such, we remain buyers of Aurora ahead of construction milestones for its new 800,000 square foot Aurora Sky facility.”
In a research update to clients today, Maruoka maintained his “Speculative Buy” rating and one-year price target of $3.25 on Aurora Cannabis, implying a return of 22.6 per cent at the time of publication.
Maruoka thinks Aurora will post EBITDA of $10.2-million on revenue of $280-milion in fiscal 2017. He expects these numbers will improve to EBITDA of $80.2-million on a topline of $192-million the following year.