Aphria (NASDAQOTH: APHQF) disappointed investors the last time it reported quarterly results in August because its revenue growth was underwhelming. Even worse, the Canadian marijuana grower predicted that its EBITDA could weaken in the future.
That future arrived on Friday, with Aphria providing its fiscal 2019 first-quarter update. Here are seven key things you need to know from what the company had to say.
1. Revenue soared on a year-over-year basis
Aphria reported fiscal Q1 revenue of 13.3 million in Canadian dollars. That represented an impressive 117% year-over-year increase.
But the comparison with the company's previous quarter wasn't as great. Revenue increased only 10.5% from the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2018. That's well below the 17% quarter-over-quarter revenue growth that Aphria reported in August.
2. A great streak was broken
Prior to Q1, Aphria had a streak of 11 consecutive quarters of positive adjusted EBITDA. No other Canadian marijuana grower can boast that kind of track record. Unfortunately, though, Aphria's streak won't extend to 12 quarters in a row.
The company posted a negative adjusted EBITDA in fiscal Q1 of CA$3.96 million. Aphria had warned that this could happen because of increased spending related to preparing for opportunities in the Canadian recreational marijuana market and international medical marijuana markets.
3. Nearly CA$1 million thrown in the trash
Another factor behind Aphria's decline in adjusted EBITDA came from the company throwing nearly CA$1 million in the trash. Seriously. Aphria stated that it disposed of 13,642 plants prior to harvest at a cost of CA$970,000.
The problem was that the company wasn't able to fill all of the open positions at its Aphria One greenhouse early in the summer. Because there weren't enough staff members to harvest production, one week's crop rotation grew past its optimal harvest time. Aphria decided its best option was to dispose of the plants and take the write-off.
4. Growing costs increased -- temporarily
Aphria prides itself on being one of the lowest-cost producers in the Canadian cannabis industry. In the fiscal first quarter, though, the company's cash cost to produce dried cannabis jumped 39% from the prior quarter, to CA$1.30 per gram. Aphria's all-in cost of goods sold increased 14% quarter over quarter, to CA$1.83.
Again, though, Aphria had told investors to anticipate the increase. The company knew that its ramp up in spending related largely to preparing for the opening of the Canadian recreational marijuana market would temporarily cause its growing costs to rise. Aphria could see higher growing costs next quarter, as well, but CEO Vic Neufeld said this was "an event and not continual."
5. What's coming with international opportunities
Neufeld stated that Aphria has two different strategies for Europe, depending on the country. The company will focus on hemp-based cannabidiol (CBD) products in certain European countries. But it will market products containing both CBD and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana that produces the feeling of being high) in other countries.
The tender deadline for applications in Germany is Nov. 5, 2018. Neufeld expressed confidence that Aphria will be in good position in the German medical cannabis market. He also stated that the United Kingdom is a top international priority for Aphria. Neufeld anticipates that Aphria will be one of the first three entrants into the U.K. medical cannabis market.
As for Latin America, Aphria CFO Carl Merton said that the company expects to see revenue from Colombia in 2019. He also anticipates some sales in Argentina and Jamaica. Brazil, however, remains a question mark. Merton didn't appear to have high hopes of revenue in the country in fiscal 2019.
6. A U.S. listing on the way?
Three Canadian marijuana stocks are already listed on U.S. exchanges. Aurora Cannabis hopes to trade on the New York Stock Exchange by the end of October. Will Aphria follow suit?
Neufeld said that the company is "entertaining some thoughts on uplisting." However, he wouldn't provide any details on when Aphria might move forward with a U.S. listing or which stock exchange the company would prefer.
7. Short-term pain, long-term gain
There could be "lots of bumps in the road" with the initial launch of the recreational marijuana market in Canada, according to Neufeld. He predicted that there would likely be product shortages across provinces for the first two or three months.
However, Neufeld thinks the issues will be resolved relatively quickly. He believes that Aphria will be at the forefront of what he calls "an exciting new era" for the cannabis industry. And the excitement begins in just four days.