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Cresco Labs wins price target raise at Haywood


CrescoUS cannabis company Cresco Labs (Cresco Labs Stock Quote, Chart, News, Analysts, Financials CSE:CL) has received a price target raise from Haywood Capital Markets Neal Gilmer, who likes the look of Cresco’s move into the state of Florida.

In a company update on Thursday, Gilmer reasserted his “Buy” rating with the new target of C$24.00 (previously C$20.00), which at press time represented a projected 12-month return of 35 per cent.

Chicago-headquartered Cresco Labs is a US multi-state operator (MSO) and consumer packaged goods company with business in nine states including 16 cultivation/processing facilities and 20 dispensaries under its Sunnyside brand. The company announced on Thursday a definitive agreement with Florida-based Bluma Wellness in an all-stock transaction valuing Bluma at $213 million. (All figures in US dollars except where noted otherwise.)

Bluma has seven operational dispensaries and eight more identified locations planned for opening, a fleet of 15 delivery vehicles, a current footprint of 54,000 sq ft of cultivation space with planned expansion of cultivation capacity as well as a processing lab and edibles production. Focusing on producing high-quality product, Bluma currently ranks second in the high-powered state in terms of per-store sales of smokable flower.

Details of the deal reveal Bluma shareholders will receive 0.0859 of a Cresco share per Bluma share, implying a price of $1.12 and representing a 29-per-cent premium to Wednesday’s closing price.

In the announcement, Cresco said the Bluma addition will give the company a meaningful presence in seven of all seven the ten most-populated states in the country with cannabis programs. Cresco CEO Charles Bachtell said they wanted to enter the important Florida market “in a thoughtful way” and saw Bluma as having the right tools and advantages for growth.

“Bluma is known for having best-in-class cultivation in the state of Florida, a differentiated retail experience and omni-channel offering with effective delivery, a clear pathway to scale and an incredible management team, Bachtell said in a Thursday press release. “We have a proven track record of integrating assets in strategic states, improving fundamentals, and amplifying operations to take share in the most competitive cannabis markets.”

“In 2020, we demonstrated the growth and leverage that can be created by focusing only on the most strategic markets, executing high-quality cultivation at scale, and marrying it with a targeted, consumer-focused model of high-volume retail. In 2021, it’s rinse and repeat. We’re using the same playbook to go deeper in strategic states, including Florida,” Bachtell said.

In his report, Gilmer said he views the acquisition positively as it continues Cresco’s expansion across the US. The analyst said Florida’s medical cannabis market has shown strong growth in recent years and he doesn’t expect that to slow down in the near-term. Plus, as the country’s third-most populous state, Florida gives Cresco growth and optionality on adult-use legalization with the next election cycle.

“Momentum continues to build across the cannabis landscape and we believe this acquisition is a positive development for Cresco Labs,” Gilmer said. “Following a strong 2020 with growth supported by acquisition and organic expansion, the company is well-positioned in 2021 to report a strong H2/21.”

Gilmer said he has not yet included estimates for Blumas in his Cresco forecast but is waiting for the transaction to close. The analyst said he expects both continued momentum in the stock and multiple expansion in the sector and has raised his target based on an increased multiple of 20x his fiscal 2022 EV/EBITDA estimates versus 16x previously and a 15-per-cent discount. Comparatively, Gilmer sees Cresco to be currently trading at 12.4x his 2022 EBITDA estimate which is a discount to its US peer group at 15.3x, excluding high and low values.

On his forecast, Gilmer expects Cresco to finish 2020 with revenue and EBITDA of $481.4 million and $116.5 million, respectively, and to generate 2021 revenue and EBITDA of $871.4 million and $275.2 million, respectively, and 2022 revenue and EBITDA of $1.1314 billion and $396.0 million, respectively.

Gilmer said Cresco’s management team is strong, with extensive experience in the CPG sector which should enable it to capture market share through its diverse brand portfolio.

“[Cresco] has exposure to some of the high-growth states in the US with the largest presence in Illinois and significant exposure to the strong medical market in Pennsylvania. Furthermore, Cresco has demonstrated strong growth in California following its acquisition of Origin House in early 2020,” Gilmer wrote.

Cresco last reported earnings in mid-November where its third quarter 2020 delivered record revenue of $153.3 million, up 63 per cent from the previous quarter, and record adjusted EBITDA at $46.4 million, up 182 per cent sequentially. The company said the revenue growth included increases in its wholesale business, which was driven by increase in harvests and expanded capacity, and in retail, which was driven by same-store growth and the addition of two new stores in Illinois.

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About The Author /

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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