Fourth quarter results fell short for Acreage Holdings (Acreage Holdings Stock Quote, Chart, News CSE:ACRG), according to Beacon Securities analyst Russell Stanley who reviewed the cannabis companies state of affairs in an update to clients on Thursday. The end result was Stanley kept his “Buy” rating but dropped his price target from C$17.00 to C$5.25 per share, representing at press time a projected return of 42 per cent.
New York-based multi-state cannabis operator Acreage Holdings has interests in 20 states including pending transactions. The company’s national retail store brand is The Botanist, which was launched in 2018.
Acreage released its fourth quarter and year ended December 31, 2019, financials on February 26, showing Q4 revenue up 101 per cent year-over-year to $21.1 million and full year revenue up 251 per cent to $74.1 million.
The company reported an adjusted net loss of $14.6 million and $50.6 million for the quarter and year and pro forma adjusted EBITDA losses of $15.8 million and $44.4 million for the quarter and year. (All figures in US dollars except where noted otherwise.)
Management said it was targeting pro forma adjusted EBITDA to get into the black by H2 2020.
“While 2019 was a challenging year for the industry, I am pleased with the many accomplishments we delivered for shareholders including: launching three award-winning brands, implementing our Canopy Growth strategies, and significantly growing our retail and wholesale businesses. We subsequently secured capital for our short-term operating requirements, and we are targeting positive pro-forma adjusted EBITDA in the second half of the year,” said Kevin Murphy, Chair and CEO of Acreage.
Stanley said the quarter came under his estimate, where he called for pro forma revenue of $49 million compared to the reported $44 million and for an adjusted EBITDA loss of $3 million versus the reported $16 million loss.
In his report, the analyst noted that while the company ended the year with 30 dispensaries, well under guidance set in November for between 35 and 45, management indicated in the conference call that construction was complete on eight more stores, seven of which were awaiting final regulatory approval to open and one (in Florida) is awaiting product supply.
“During the associated conference call, management reported that its pro forma y/y same-store sales growth reached 40 per cent for both Q4/19 and the full year. Management noted that this blended rate reflects approximately 50 per cent growth in medical markets (with essentially all of that from transaction volumes), and 20 per cent growth in adult-use markets,” Stanley wrote.
“The wholesale business continues to expand as well. The Pennsylvania operation still has 100 per cent penetration of third party dispensaries in the state. The company’s Nevada acquisition target, Deep Roots, has 80 per cent penetration in that market.
Finally, the company has 50 per cent penetration in Illinois, where adult-use sales began in January. The company exited with wholesale revenue contributing 16 per cent of the mix, up from its 6 per cent share at the end of 2018,” he said.
Based on management’s comments and the Q4 results, the analyst has reset his fiscal 2020 forecasts, now calling for pro forma revenue of $270 million (was $381 million) and EBITDA of negative $74 million (was negative $36 million). Stanley said Acreage’s most notable near-term catalyst would be the completion of its financing plan which could bring in a total of $150 million.
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