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HIVE Blockchain gets dumped by PI Financial

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hive blockchainPI Financial analyst David Kwan announced on Friday that he has discontinued coverage of Vancouver-based cryptocurrency miner HIVE Blockchain (HIVE Blockchain Stock Quote, Chart, News TSXV:HIVE), another sign of dwindling fortunes for HIVE, which has been hit hard by declines in cryptocurrency prices.

Kwan wrote, “We are dropping coverage, as the company no longer meets our coverage criteria. Our previously published estimates and ratings should no longer be used or relied upon.”

“Effective immediately, we have no rating or target for HIVE Blockchain Technologies Inc,” he said.

Earlier this fall, Kwan had given an update to clients on HIVE, lowering his target price from C$0.45 to C$0.25 while saying that the company’s just-released fourth quarter financials had a modestly negative impact while Kwan retained his “Netural” rating on the stock.

HIVE, which became a public company in September of 2017, owns GPU-based mining operations in Iceland and Sweden to mine Ethereum and also has cloud-based ASIC capacity for mining other currencies including Bitcoin. The company saw its share price soar over the fall of 2017 as the cryptocurrency craze went into high gear. Over 2017, the price of Bitcoin rose from C$1,300 to over C$19,000 while Ethereum went from C$11.00 to over C$1,000. Both cryptocurrencies have fallen from those heights, with Ethereum
now trading at C$197.00.

HIVE released its second quarter ended September 30, 2019, on Monday, reporting income from digital currency mining of $12.0 million, up from $6.5 million a year prior with an adjusted EBITDA loss of $4.6 million compared to a loss of $15.1 million for last year’s Q2. The company’s net loss was $11.5 million and its gross mining margin was negative $0.6 million. (All figures in US dollars unless where noted otherwise.)

“I am pleased to report a healthy second fiscal quarter of positive free cash flow contributing to an already strong balance sheet and continued progress in restructuring our operations to ensure sustainable future profitability,” said Frank Holmes, Interim Executive Chairman of HIVE, in a press release.

“I am particularly pleased with the improvements we have seen in our GPU Ethereum mining operational efficiency. During the second fiscal quarter, we unwound our previous service provider agreement in Sweden and assumed full control of our supply chain in that jurisdiction. This transition, which was completed in November, is anticipated to result in an approximately 25 per cent reduction in our operating and maintenance costs, notably through direct relationships with local energy suppliers,” Holmes said.

For the quarter, HIVE generated 586 Bitcoin, 20,649 Ethereum and 32,692 Ethereum Classic.

Earlier this year, HIVE reached a settlement in an ongoing proxy battle and contract dispute with its largest shareholder, Genesis Mining, which had called for the removal of non-Genesis board members. A board restructuring occurred. HIVE’s share price is down 60 per cent in 2019 and is currently trading at $0.12 per share.

Holmes says that the fluctuations in currency prices are having less of an effect on HIVE’s performance now than in the past.

“The cryptocurrency market has continued to remain volatile, and the share prices of digital currency miners in general has underperformed the actual coins,” said Mr. Holmes in the second quarter release.

“We have not been immune to this as our share price, which previously was highly correlated to the performance of cryptocurrencies, has decoupled from them for the past six months as large, early investors in HIVE have pared down positions. While we cannot control such external impacts, we continue to remain focused on improving the profitability of our operations and are hopeful that our share price will ultimately reflect improving fundamentals,” Holmes wrote.

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