There's a lot of investor demand for marijuana stocks right now. Because of the recent opening of the Canadian recreational cannabis market along with a rising number of U.S. states and other jurisdictions worldwide legalizing pot, companies that grow marijuana have vaulted into the limelight. The desire to be able to invest in cannabis has pushed many companies to look at initial public offerings, both in Canada and on U.S. stock exchanges.
It might seem like marijuana growers are essentially identical, with all sharing in rising demand for their products. Yet that's actually not the case, as some companies have taken innovative approaches toward cultivating and harvesting cannabis that investors hope will result in better yields and lower costs. That's the primary appeal of CannTrust Holdings (NYSE:CTST), and soon, U.S. investors will get an opportunity to buy shares of the Canadian cultivator on the New York Stock Exchange.
What makes CannTrust stand out?
On its face, CannTrust Holdings looks like just about any other marijuana company. The Canadian cannabis producer, headquartered in the Toronto suburb of Vaughan, got started as a specialist in providing medical marijuana products to patients. The company has two primary growing facilities, one in Vaughan and the other in the Niagara region across the border from Buffalo. With the recent legalization of recreational cannabis products, CannTrust has expanded its scope to serve the adult-use market as well.
CannTrust is far from the only company to get started with medical cannabis, but there are several ways in which it distinguishes itself from its competitors. First is the fact that although the company just began operating less than five years ago, its founders were pharmacists, bringing more than 40 years of experience in the broader pharmacy and healthcare fields to the table. That brought a scientific focus to CannTrust, and the company remains committed to research and development with innovative products and production methods aimed at making it easier for patients to get favorable results from medical marijuana. With a pharmaceutical partner, CannTrust's product development teams are engaged in evidence-based research that has spurred advances in the industry.
CannTrust's drive for innovation has paid off with a cultivation method that most major cannabis companies haven't used. CannTrust's production facilities use state-of-the-art hydroponic technology in order to ensure a steady flow of high-quality standardized cannabis products that are completely free of pesticides. The company's original 50,000-square-foot facility includes capabilities of cultivating cannabis as well as processing extracts like cannabis-derived oils and distributing products to customers. The much larger 430,000-square-foot Niagara facility uses advanced perpetual growing technology, with expectations for boosting yields even further.
How CannTrust has performed
So far, CannTrust's efforts look like they're paying off. In its third-quarter financial report, the Canadian cultivator reported revenue of 12.6 million Canadian dollars, more than doubling from year-earlier figures, and the number of active patients that CannTrust is serving jumped above the 50,000 mark. CannTrust reported a modest profit of CA$421,000, although those figures include substantial upward adjustments for changes in fair value of biological assets.
CannTrust has even higher hopes. The company made its first shipment of cannabis-derived oils to Denmark, where it's the only accepted provider currently. Collaborations with researchers in Canada and Australia are aiming to find more uses for medical cannabis, and after the end of the quarter, CannTrust entered into a strategic partnership with an Australian producer for construction of a 1.7-million-square-foot greenhouse facility. In addition, the purchase of land near its Niagara Greenhouse will allow CannTrust to expand production even further in the future.
Coming soon to the NYSE
It's because of these successes that CannTrust now feels comfortable making efforts to list its common shares on the New York Stock Exchange. As CEO Peter Aceto noted, "CannTrust has firmly established itself as one of the top licensed producers in Canada, with a global platform rooted in science and innovation. A U.S. listing is a natural step forward in our evolution as we look to broaden our investor base and expand our business on an international scale."
CannTrust isn't the first marijuana stock to make the move to the NYSE, and it won't be the last. But with its innovative approach toward the cannabis industry, CannTrust deserves close attention from U.S. investors as it prepares to list its shares on Wall Street.