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These three cannabis stocks are buys, according to analysts

Cannabis Sector

Cannabis has certainly had its ups and downs over the years. And while the sector was flying high earlier in 2021, things have decidedly took a turn south more recently. But that’s no reason to ignore the space entirely, as there are a number of gems in the bunch, including these three, all of which trade on Canadian exchanges.

Cresco Labs (Cresco Labs Stock Quote, Charts, News, Analysts, Financials CSE:CL) is a Chicago-based multi-state operator (MSO) in the US with business across ten states and counts itself as now the largest wholesaler of branded cannabis products in the country. The company just recently released quarterly results which saw its Q2 generate $210.0 million in revenue, which was god for a 123 per cent year-over-year increase and an 18 per cent jump over the previous quarter. (All figures in US dollars except where noted otherwise.)

“We are very proud of the record performance this quarter, driven primarily by organic growth, and we’re even more excited about what lies ahead as we begin recognizing contributions from growth initiatives initiated over the last 18 months,” said Cresco CEO Charles Bachtell in an August 13 press release. “We remain dedicated to our differentiated strategy and continue to lay the foundation for long-term leadership in the U.S. cannabis industry.”

Echelon Capital Markets analyst Andrew Semple called the quarter solid, saying the company’s topline beat his and the consensus estimates, while pointing out the company’s newly announced upsized credit facility, now doubled to $400 million from existing lending partners. That war chest will help the company meet its ambitious capex plans, according to Semple, where management has highlighted New York, Pennsylvania and Florida as key growth areas. 

“We believe the Company’s improving retail business – with sales per store metrics that lead the peer group – underpins high visibility revenue ahead, while substantial investments into increasing production capacity offers torque to H221 revenue growth,” Semple wrote in an August 13 update to clients.

With his update, Semple maintained his “Buy” rating on Cresco and C$18.00 target price, which at the time of publication represented a projected 12-month return of 34.1 per cent.

Another major player south of the border is Green Thumb Industries (Green Thumb Stock Quote, Charts, News, Analysts, Financials CSE:GTII), which also just delivered a bang-up quarter. Green Thumb, which has operations in 14 US states including 16 manufacturing facilities and 62 operating dispensaries, altogether employing over 3,000 people, saw its revenue grow 85 per cent year-over-year to $221.9 million with adjusted operating EBITDA almost doubling to $79.3 million.

“Since the first quarter, we closed three acquisitions, expanding our manufacturing capabilities in Massachusetts and geographic footprint into two new states, Virginia and Rhode Island. These critical steps strengthened our position to distribute our brands to more patients and consumers in existing and new markets,” said Green Thumb Chairman, Founder and CEO Ben Kovler in a press release.

The strong quarterly numbers were cause for a recent target raise from Beacon Securities analyst Russell Stanley, who in an August 12 report increased his estimates going forward while keeping his “Buy” rating and raising his target from C$46 to C$50, representing at press time a projected return of 21 per cent.

Expansion plans are well-backed by the company’s over $350 million in dry powder, Stanley said, making it the US MSO with currently the most resources for M&A activity.

“Given the company’s strong cash flow profile, we believe it can effectively self-finance its CAPEX requirements, leaving essentially all of the company’s cash ($359 million at quarter end) available for M&A or other investments,” Stanley wrote.

Finally, Raymond James analyst Rahul Sarugaser says BC-based Village Farms International (Village Farms Stock Quote, Charts, News, Analysts, Financials TSX:VFF), a company with business in vegetable growing, cannabis and CBD, should really be on your list of cannabis favourites. Sarugaser argued in an August 16 update to clients that the company’s recent acquisition of Colorado-based CBD company Balanced Health Botanicals was a great move for VFF.

“We view VFF’s direct entry into the ~$4.7 billion U.S. CBD market (~$16 billion by 2025) through today’s Balanced Health acquisition very positively, showing another successful step in VFF’s evolution into a proper CPG company, and having the potential to yield plenty of synergy with VFF’s existing operations,” said Sarugaser in his report.

The analyst said VFF’s positioning in the US CBD market now lends to a profitable pivot into the US high-THC cannabis market if and when movement occurs at the federal level. With his update, Sarugaser retained his “Strong Buy 1” rating while raising his target price from $26.00 to $27.00, which at press time represented a projected one-year return of 202 per cent.

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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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