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Better times ahead for TerrAscend, says Clarus

Clarus Securities analyst Noel Atkinson remains upbeat on cannabis company TerrAscend Corp (TerrAscend Stock Quote, Chart, News, Analysts, Financials CSE:TER), maintaining a “Buy” rating and target price of C$16.25/share for a projected return of 109.1 per cent in an update to clients on Tuesday.

Incorporated in 2017 and headquartered in Mississauga, TerrAscend cultivates, processes and sells medical and adult use cannabis in Canada and the United States, producing and distributing hemp-derived wellness products to retail locations and manufacturing cannabis infused artisan edibles.

Atkinson’s latest analysis comes as the U.S. cannabis sector aims for a fresh start after a tough 2021.

“The entire U.S. cannabis sector probably gave a collective sigh of relief once the games ended with trying to jam the Safe Banking Act into a defense budget bill,” Atkinson said. “We now enter 2022 with the usual pro-cannabis posturing from Capitol Hill but thankfully no new garbage bills that give false hope to retail investors.”

According to Atkinson, 2021 was made even tougher by several prime brokers no longer allowing custody of U.S. cannabis stocks for clients, which hindered liquidity and overall sector performance, as well as kept many hedge funds out of the sector.

However, Atkinson did note a pair of optimistic points for companies like TerrAscend, namely the expectation for 2022 to be a big year for state-based legalization, with New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, New Mexico, Virginia, and Vermont all legalizing adult-use sales, while Maryland, Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania are in position to legalize sales through voter ballot or legislative bills.

Furthermore, Atkinson notes that the end of 2021 saw the Biden administration weighing the idea of clemency through expungement or pardons for federal non-violent cannabis offenders, which he thinks might be enough for social justice Democrats to back a SAFE Banking bill in 2022, bringing improved banking access for thousands of companies and millions of employees across the U.S. cannabis sector while potentially removing the 280E federal tax clause.

TerrAscend’s most recent quarterly financials arrived in November, where the company posted $49.1 million in net sales (all report figures expressed in US dollars) for a 29 per cent year-over-year increase, paired with an adjusted EBITDA margin of 21 per cent.

“I am pleased with the improvements made in Pennsylvania since we withdrew full year 2021 guidance in August,” said Jason Wild, Executive Chairman of TerrAscend in the company’s November 16 press release. “The ratio of quality flower to trim from recent harvests has increased dramatically. Additionally, THC and Terpene potency has been testing at all-time highs. In New Jersey, we are well prepared for adult use once the state gives us the go ahead. Our New Jersey Apothecarium dispensaries will have some of the best selection and depth of product available in the state at launch.”

“We are building this business for success over the long term and will continue to make decisions with that mindset,” Wild added.

Atkinson’s financial projections remain unchanged from his previous analysis, as he continues to forecast a jump to $214.6 million in revenue for the 2021 fiscal year, a potential year-over-year increase of 45.2 per cent, before climbing to a projected $404.3 million in revenue for 2022, marking a potential year-over-year increase of 88.4 per cent. (All figures in US dollars except where noted otherwise.)

He also sees the company’s Price/Sales multiple continuing to perform well, forecasting a multiple of 8.9x for the 2021 fiscal year before a drop to a projected 4.7x in 2022.

Meanwhile, Atkinson predicts the company’s adjusted EBITDA margin will only get wider after turning positive in 2020, forecasting a 32 per cent margin ($68.7 million) for the 2021 fiscal year, then jumping to a projected 41 per cent margin ($166.8 million) in 2022.

Accordingly, the EV/adjusted EBITDA multiple projection takes a positive step forward, with Atkinson forecasting a drop from 25.7x in 2021 to a projected 10.6x in 2022.

Atkinson’s diluted EPS projections also remain in check at $0.14/share in 2021 and $0.24/share in 2022, accompanied by a P/E multiple projection of 25.6x.

Overall, Atkinson believes TerrAscend, further buoyed by the upcoming close of its Gage acquisition, is ready to further plant its roots in the cannabis industry in 2022.

“We continue to be bullish on TER’s opportunities in 2022, including contribution from the GAGE acquisition in MI as well as its strong position in NJ, PA, and MD,” Atkinson said. “We would not be surprised to see TER push into neighbouring states such as NY, OH, and VA if they can get a solid toehold at a reasonable price.”

TerrAscend’s stock price has dropped by 40.8 per cent over the last year, reaching a 52-week high of $19.97/share on February 10, then falling down to a 52-week low of $6.17/share on November 4, though it has risen by 21.6 per cent since then.

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About The Author /

Geordie Carragher is a staff writer for Cantech Letter
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