Ahead of quarterly earnings from Aurora Cannabis (Aurora Cannabis Stock Quote, Chart, News TSX:ACB) due next week, PI Financial’s Jason Zandberg said to be prepared for a COVID-19-inspired negative impact on the company’s finances.
In an update to clients on Wednesday, Zandberg maintained his “Neutral” rating and $2.00 per share target price, which at press time represented a projected 12-month return of 102 per cent.
Beleaguered cannabis name Aurora has seen its share price destroyed over the past 12 months, dropping from $13.00 last March to where it currently languishes around the $1.00 mark.
The downturn has been sector-wide but Aurora’s fall from grace is of particular note as the company was once considered a leader in the fledgling pot industry and perhaps one of the surer bets in the space.
But the Canadian —and international— cannabis story still has many chapters to be written and Aurora’s contribution still looks to be significant.
In his report, Zandberg said he’s still expecting year-over-year revenue growth from ACB’s fiscal third quarter 2020, albeit slight, calling for revenue of $66.8 million compared to last year’s Q3 top line of $65.1 million. The analyst is forecasting the quarterly EBITDA loss to come to $29.4 million compared to last year’s Q3 loss of $36.6 million.
“Management expects cannabis revenue to grow modestly compared to last quarter. ACB saw its market share dropped last quarter as the market shifted towards value brands which prompted the Company to release its value offerings during Q3,” Zandberg said.
“ACB also announced that it is on track with its near-term targets including significant reductions in SG&A and CapEx. The upcoming earnings will reflect the impact of restrictions due to COVID-19 such as limited dispensary hours and dispensary closure,” he added.
Before the quarter comes out, Aurora plans to consolidate its shares on a 1:12 basis next Monday in order to maintain compliance with the NYSE’s continued listing standards.
The consolidation will take ACB’s share count from roughly 1.313 billion to 109 million.
“Our focus today continues to be on financial discipline across the entire organization. We are taking appropriate actions to strengthen our cash position and maintain financial flexibility as we navigate through the current environment,” said Michael Singer, Executive Chairman and Interim CEO, in a press release last month announcing the consolidation. “As Aurora drives towards generating positive free cash-flow, we are confident that our shareholders will be supportive of our further actions to solidify our balance sheet and position the Company for success.”
Zandberg said Aurora may be announcing a new CEO with the earnings next week.
As for his forecasts, Zandberg is calling for fiscal 2020 revenue and EBITDA of $279.9 million and negative $139.4 million, respectively, and for fiscal 2021 revenue and EBITDA of $481.0 million and $28.9 million, respectively.
With the consolidation announcement on April 13 and with respect to the COVID-19 crisis, Aurora management said its Canadian and international operations continued to be fully operational while the company continues to work closely with health authorities to ensure compliance.