Marijuana stocks are at the forefront of the investing world, and investors are getting familiar with companies in far-flung corners of the market. Aurora Cannabis (NYSE:ACB) (TSX:ACB) is one of Canada's fastest-growing cannabis stocks, with investors focusing on the company because of its impending listing of shares on the New York Stock Exchange. That move should make Aurora Cannabis much more easily accessible to U.S. investors, pulling the company even further into the limelight.
Yet like any other business, Aurora Cannabis is counting on growth opportunities to drive its fundamental performance higher. In the documents that Aurora Cannabis released in its efforts to list on the NYSE, the cannabis company highlighted three key future events as critical to its long-term success. If something goes wrong with these strategic efforts, then Aurora could end up disappointing its early investors.
1. Aurora Sky
The first key strategic goal that Aurora Cannabis lists in its disclosures is the full completion and ramp-up of its Aurora Sky cannabis facility. The 800,000-square-foot project is located at the Edmonton International Airport in Alberta, and given its proximity to Aurora's Edmonton headquarters, the flagship cultivation facility will be of landmark importance in paving the way toward faster growth for the cannabis company.
Aurora expects that Aurora Sky will be the highest yielding greenhouse in Canada, and the facility will also house research and development activities that will be crucial in helping Aurora build and maintain competitive advantages over its rivals in the cannabis business. Currently, Aurora Sky is fully operational, but as chief corporate officer Cam Battley explained last month in the company's quarterly conference call, Aurora Cannabis expects the project to operate at full capacity by the beginning of 2019. That will open the door to more than 100,000 kilograms of cannabis production, roughly 20 times what the company's original Aurora Mountain facility north of Calgary produces.
2. Aurora Sun
Aurora Cannabis has plans for an even bigger facility for cannabis production in the future. Aurora Sun will be located in Medicine Hat, an Alberta town about 160 miles east of Calgary near the Saskatchewan border. The hybrid greenhouse cannabis facility is currently in the design stage, with plans calling for 1.2 million square feet of space for cultivation.
Medicine Hat might seem like an out-of-the-way place for Aurora to build, but the city is known as the sunniest in Canada, helping to facilitate production. With the potential to add 150,000 kilograms of annual cannabis production to Aurora's overall capacity, Aurora Sun would help the company not only supply domestic demand but also export cannabis internationally. Currently, Aurora management hopes that first plantings will occur in the first half of 2019, with full completion of the facility in the second half of next year.
3. Aurora Nordic Cannabis
Cannabis is a global market, and Aurora recognizes the value of having facilities across the globe. To meet international needs, Aurora is working with a company called Scandinavian Cannabis on its Aurora Nordic Cannabis joint venture, in which the Canadian marijuana company holds a 51% stake. Aurora Nordic has existing greenhouse facilities in Denmark that total about 100,000 square feet, and it's retrofitting those facilities as phase 1 of its project. However, Aurora is also looking at building a new 1 million-square-foot facility for cannabis production as phase 2 of its efforts there.
Aurora intends for Nordic to have capacity to produce more than 120,000 kilograms of cannabis annually, and the company has already sent plants to the phase 1 facility for medical cannabis cultivation. With close proximity to key jurisdictions in Europe where medical marijuana is legal, Aurora Nordic hopes to expand its global scope dramatically by ramping up production there.
Track their progress
Aurora Cannabis has big plans, and it will have to boost its cultivation capacity dramatically in order to achieve all of its goals. It's important that Aurora Sky, Aurora Sun, and Aurora Nordic all deliver on their potential for growth, or else Aurora Cannabis could find itself unable to deliver on its promises to customers in the long run.