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Charlotte’s Web still has tonnes of upside, says PI Financial

Charlotte's Web

Charlotte's Web Weak retail figures were offset by robust direct-to-consumer sales for US CBD company Charlotte’s Web Holdings (Charlotte’s Web Holdings Stock Quote, Chart, News TSX:CWEB), according to analyst Jason Zandberg of PI Financial.

In an earnings update to clients on Tuesday, Zandberg kept his “Buy” rating and C$10.00 target unchanged, saying a lot for CWEB depends on when and how regulations surrounding CBD in the US pan out.

Boulder, Colorado-based Charlotte’s Web, a producer and distributor of hemp-based CBD products, announced its second quarter 2020 results on Monday, coming in with consolidated revenue of $21.6 million compared with $25.0 million a year ago. Adjusted EBITDA was a loss of $5.7 million compared to positive $3.8 million for Q2 2019. (All figures in US dollars except where noted otherwise.)

The company said in its report that COVID-19 has had its effect on retail and health practitioner sales channels due to decreased foot traffic into stores and temporary location closures. The quarter was nonetheless eventful for CWEB, which closed on its acquisition of Abacus Health Products, a US leader in over-the-counter topical products combining active pharmaceutical ingredients with hemp extract.

“Second quarter revenue was below expectations due to the impact of COVID-19 on retail sales,” said Deanie Elsner, CEO of Charlotte's Web, in a press release. “However, our DTC sales increased 33.6 per cent, largely offsetting declines in B2B retail sales. We made excellent progress building out our infrastructure and expanding our products portfolio with the closing of the Abacus acquisition. Abacus CBD Medic products are now being sold through our online store and we look forward to realizing more cross-selling revenue synergies with Abacus through our FDM partners.”

Charlotte’s Web ended the second quarter with cash and cash equivalents of $99.8 million compared to $53.0 million for the end of the previous quarter.

Zandberg said the Q2 revenue was in line with his expectations while the $5.7-million EBITDA loss was better than his estimated loss of $6.5 million. Zandberg said CWEB’s CBD gummy product line did well over the quarter, with sales growing 500 per cent year-over-year and now accounting for 20 per cent of the company’s overall product revenue.

At the same time, the company saw topical CBD product sales decline by 49 per cent year-over-year. Zandberg noted that the Abacus acquisition, which closed on June 11, represented $0.6 million in sales during its shortened contribution to the quarter.

“CWEB recorded negative EBITDA of ($5.7 million). This is the third consecutive quarter of negative EBITDA as gross margins declined to 53 per cent (75 per cent last year) and SG&A expenses represented 129 per cent of revenue. Gross margins face headwinds due to competitive pressures but we expect SG&A costs to decline as a percentage of revenue as CWEB integrates efficiencies with Abacus,” Zandberg wrote.

“The biggest catalyst for CWEB, in our opinion, is the regulatory environment within the CBD market that is currently non-existent and requires changes. We are watching the pending legislation surrounding hemp-based CBD dietary supplements (Bill HR 8179) which was introduced in the US House of Representatives in early September. We believe enforceable regulations will eliminate unfair competitive practices and should positively impact CWEB’s share price,” Zandberg argued.

Looking ahead, the analyst is calling for fiscal 2020 revenue and EBITDA of $111.2 million and negative $23.5 million, respectively, and for fiscal 2021 revenue and EBITDA of $166.6 million and $27.1 million, respectively.

At press time, Zandberg’s C$10.00 target represented a projected 12-month return of 166 per cent.

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About The Author /

Jayson MacLean
Jayson is a writer, researcher and educator with a PhD in political philosophy from the University of Ottawa. His interests range from bioethics and innovations in the health sciences to governance, social justice and the history of ideas.

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