Two of the biggest Canadian marijuana producers, Aurora Cannabis and Canopy Growth, reported their results for the quarter ending Dec. 31, 2018, several weeks ago. That meant all eyes were on Tilray (NASDAQ:TLRY) today as the company announced its fourth-quarter results after the market close.

Tilray reported Q4 revenue of $15.5 million, up 203.8% year over year thanks largely to the opening of the Canadian recreational marijuana market. This figure easily topped the average analysts' estimate of $14.2 million. The company announced a net loss in the fourth quarter of $31 million or $0.33 per share. This reflected deterioration from the net loss of $3 million, or $0.04 per share, from the prior-year period. It was also worse than the consensus analysts' estimate of a $0.12 per share net loss. 

Red Canadian maple leaf surrounded by marijuana leaves

Image source: Getty Images.

Despite the earnings estimate miss, Tilray's share price rose nearly 5% at one point in early after-hours trading as the market focused on the company's revenue growth.

With much of the fourth quarter including sales in the Canadian adult-use recreational marijuana market, it was widely anticipated that Tilray's revenue would be significantly higher than in the past. However, observers also expected that Tilray's quarter-over-quarter sales growth wouldn't be as strong as that of either Aurora Cannabis or Canopy Growth -- and they were right. Tilray's sales jumped 55% from the previous quarter compared to quarter-over-quarter sales growth of 83% and 256%, respectively, for Aurora and Canopy.

Check out the latest earnings call transcript for Tilray.

Tilray's net loss worsened from the prior-year period and the previous quarter as the company cranked up spending across the board. The biggest jump was in general and administrative expenses, which soared nearly 83% from the previous quarter. Tilray attributed the increased spending to "growth initiatives, expansion of international teams, and costs related to financings and M&A [mergers and acquisitions] activities."

Brendan Kennedy, Tilray's President and CEO, focused more on the company's business initiatives than the financial results. He noted that Tilray made significant progress on several initiatives, including beefing up its production capacity, expanding partnerships, and making strategic acquisitions. Kennedy said that Tilray is "committed to pursuing global growth opportunities and will be disciplined in deploying capital, particularly in the United States and Europe, where we believe we have multiple paths for value creation."

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