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Should you take a flier on Drone Delivery Canada?

Drone Delivery Canada

Drone Delivery Canada Drone Delivery Canada (Drone Delivery Canada Stock Quote, Chart, News TSX:FLT) has been on a hot streak as of late and investors may be wondering whether there’s more upside to come. Perhaps, says Bruce Murray of the Murray Wealth Group, but as with any speculative bet, don’t go betting the farm.

Drone Delivery Canada, which designs proprietary logistics software for drones, has been hard at work for years on the regulatory and testing fronts in establishing drone delivery as a viable model. And while the company has had success, including a commercial deal signed two years ago to transport supplies to Moose Factory Island in Northern Ontario, the market seems to have been less supportive of the company’s efforts, having pulled the stock down pretty steadily over the past three years.

But FLT has literally taken off over the last week of trading, apparently in response to a letter of intent for a multi-year, multi-route delivery contract to rural communities in Quebec. Drone Delivery announced the LOI on November 24, saying that with the assistance of its sales agent Air Canada, the company will work towards a binding agreement with Drones Express for the use of FLT’s DDC Condor drones to service coastal communities on multiple routes along the Lower North Shore region of the province.

FLT said the agreement is expected to be for ten years with a total revenue of $3.6 million over that time plus other potential service revenues and the potential for expansion to more routes and communities as the project carries forward. Last year, Air Canada signed a ten-year agreement to market and sell drone services on behalf of DDC.

“Market response to our pre-selling of the Condor solution has been favourable in Canada and internationally and we are excited to announce our first potential Condor project,” said Michael Zahra, President & CEO of Drone Delivery Canada. “This is a pivotal milestone for us. We are pleased to be working with Drones Express on this innovative commercial opportunity to service the needs of rural communities in Quebec, with potential further network growth in the future.”

The news pushed up FLT over 32 per cent in the past week alone, putting the stock at a return of about 15 per cent year-to-date.

With the rise in e-commerce over the last few years and accelerating through 2020 and the COVID-19 pandemic, drone delivery could receive more attention. But Murray said it’s still early days for the technology, making an investment in Drone Delivery Canada firmly within the speculative category.

“I met with Drone Delivery a couple of years ago, and they are one of the leading companies at moving into drones,” said Murray, speaking on BNN Bloomberg on Tuesday. “They actually have designed a series of drones and they started off with experimenting in Northern Ontario with Moose Cree First Nation at Moosonee where their railhead is on the mainland and the main community is on the island and so they were using the drones to fly back and forth, especially during the flood seasons where getting back and forth was tough.”

“It’s a very nascent company, it’s new technology and it’s also very expensive delivery, probably,” he said. “It could be an exciting company but at the same time it is certainly still speculative, so if you are excited about it, hold some but don’t put your whole portfolio in it.”

Along with its proprietary Flyte software, DDC has three types of drones, the Sparrow for shorter (maximum 30 km) and lighter (under 4.5 kg) cargo, the Robin XL for midrange distances and payloads and the Condor, with a max range of 200 kms and a payload of up to 180 kg.

Last month, DDC gave an update on its Robin XL testing, which is expected to be completed over the next three months and could be in commercial use to support COVID-19-related activities and remote area deliveries in 2021.

“We are very pleased with the ongoing successful testing of our RobinXL delivery drone. The Sparrow, Robin XL and Condor all have unique commercial use-case applications based on range and payload capabilities, and we are excited to have the Condor and Robin XL models coming to market soon. Robin XL & Condor pre-selling efforts are underway and market response has been very favourable in Canada and internationally, and we are working on a number of specific prospective opportunities for both,” said Zahra in a press release.

Last year, DDC announced a commercial agreement with DSV Air & Sea Inc. Canada, the Canadian arm of Danish transport and logistics giant DSV Panalpina.

DDC last reported earnings in mid-November where it noted drone service revenue of $36,000 for the three months ended September 30, 2020 and an operating loss of $3.8 million. The company finished the quarter with cash and equivalents of $14.0 million.

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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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