Marijuana stocks have done well so far in 2019, but one stock has notably underperformed its peers. Tilray (TLRY) is actually down over the past three months, and although much of that is due to the fact that the Canadian cannabis company got a fast jump out of the starting gate following its 2018 IPO, some still see the stock as being overvalued compared to its peers.
Yet Tilray CEO Brendan Kennedy still has ambitious plans about the future of his company, and he's determined to get a lead over his peers in driving Tilray's growth in the months and years to come. Following Tilray's earnings release last week, Kennedy spoke to investors about what he sees as the company's best prospects to accelerate growth.
1. The marijuana revolution is only beginning
We are still in the early stages of the global transformation of a $150 billion worldwide industry. We believe that over the long term, companies such as Tilray with a portfolio of trusted brands powered by multinational supply chains will win the market by earning the confidence of patients, consumers, and governments around the world.
-- CEO Brendan Kennedy
In the middle of the rush toward marijuana, it's easy to see short-term factors as being of key importance. Yet Kennedy believes in the long game, working to establish a brand that will bring with it loyal followers who will stick with Tilray for years. If the company can build an image of confidence in first-moving markets, then when other markets open up, Tilray's brand will already be well known and will help drive early sales.
2. Tilray's path to success
Our global growth strategy remains focused on six top-line performance drivers that we expect to generate strong returns as the business continues to grow.
Kennedy sees six things driving sales for Tilray. Increasing production capacity and inventory will be essential to meet demand, but the company also has to maintain high quality. Partnering with established distributors and retailers will help Tilray broaden its reach quickly, and building out multiple brands will help it connect with a wide range of customers. Fostering acceptance of marijuana in the medical community should build out the medical cannabis market, and Tilray expects to keep investing in innovation and research. If Tilray can execute in all of these areas, Kennedy's convinced that revenue dominance will come in due course.
Check out the latest earnings call transcript for Tilray.
3. Expect more acquisitions
Strategic mergers and acquisitions remain a core focus of our global growth strategy.
Tilray sees growth through acquisition being a solid driver of expansion, and its $317 million purchase of Manitoba Harvest is just the latest example of the potential that Kennedy is looking to discover. Manitoba Harvest will bring distribution relationships with 16,000 retail locations in North America, as well as hemp farmer supply relationships that Tilray will be able to use for newly legalized hemp-derived products in the U.S. market. Other M&A efforts could yield similar opportunities to widen Tilray's scope.
4. Europe could be the next big market
Just last month, the European Parliament passed a resolution similar to the World Health Organization's recommendation to increase access to medical cannabis, further legitimizing the industry, and we believe this decision will encourage other states and countries to legalize.
U.S. investors are focusing mostly on the North American marijuana market, but Europe represents another big opportunity for Tilray. Kennedy believes that the number of countries with legal medical marijuana could rise from 41 at the beginning of 2019 to between 50 and 60 by the end of the year, and with Tilray's European Union campus in Portugal, the company is positioned well to meet rising demand on the continent.
Keep your eyes on Tilray
Marijuana investors have seen a lot of ups and downs with Tilray, but its CEO has high hopes for its future. With Kennedy at the helm, shareholders can count on Tilray to seek to remain at the cutting edge of the cannabis industry for years to come.