We have to wait a few weeks for the two biggest Canadian marijuana producers to report their first results that will include adult-use recreational marijuana sales in 2019. Aurora Cannabis (NASDAQ:ACB) and Canopy Growth (NASDAQ:CGC) haven't even scheduled their quarterly updates yet.
However, Organigram Holdings (NASDAQ:OGI) announced its results for the quarter ended Feb. 28, a couple of weeks ago. Could the smaller marijuana producer's update provide some hints at what to expect from Aurora and Canopy? Probably so.
How Organigram fared
Organigram had predicted that its Q2 sales would at least double from the first quarter. And it was right on target.
The company reported all-time high net revenue of $26.9 million Canadian in the second quarter. Organigram stated that CA$24.5 million of that total came from adult-use recreational marijuana sales in Canada.
Although Organigram notched its third quarter in a row of positive EBITDA, its bottom line swung to a loss. The company announced a net loss in Q2 of CA$6.4 million.
The culprit behind Organigram's loss was a significant increase in spending. Operational expenses soared 154% year over year to CA$9.7 million. However, higher spending levels were to be expected with the increased costs associated with Organigram's launch of products in the Canadian adult-use market.
Hints for Aurora and Canopy?
You might think that Organigram's Q2 results don't mean much in trying to get a feel for how well Aurora and Canopy might perform in the next quarterly updates. After all, Organigram is a relatively small player compared to the two industry giants.
However, keep in mind that Organigram is one of only three marijuana producers with supply agreements in all 10 Canadian provinces. Granted, the company hasn't shipped products to Quebec yet. But Organigram isn't just a regional player.
On the other hand, Organigram's second quarter only included two months in 2019. Aurora Cannabis and Canopy Growth will report results from January through March of this year. This difference in fiscal calendars increases the difficulty of using Organigram's Q2 results as a basis for setting expectations for Aurora and Canopy.
But there's at least one important takeaway from Organigram's performance that could be relevant to how well Aurora and Canopy performed in the quarter ending March 31, 2019. Organigram handily beat analysts' sales estimates in the quarter. That could bode well for Aurora's and Canopy's prospects of topping analysts' expectations.
Also, Organigram's large number of SKUs (stock-keeping units) might have played a role in its success in Ontario, Canada's largest province. That's good news for Canopy, especially, since it carries even more SKUs in Ontario than Organigram does.
Another factor that could work to both Aurora's and Canopy's benefit is their significant supplies of cannabidiol (CBD). Organigram CEO Greg Engel said in the company's Q2 conference call that "one big gap in the industry" has been the supply of CBD.
Remember, too, that Organigram hasn't had international sales yet like Aurora and Canopy have. With international medical cannabis markets expanding, particularly in Germany, the two bigger companies have another source of revenue growth that Organigram didn't have in its latest quarter.
Short-term caution, long-term optimism
Scotiabank recently slashed its estimate for Canopy Growth's revenue in the first calendar quarter of 2019. Analysts Oliver Rowe and Ben Isaacson think that fewer-than-expected retail cannabis store openings, limited availability of adult-use cannabis products, and flat medical cannabis demand will weigh on Canopy's revenue.
It's possible that these issues held Organigram back from achieving even more impressive sales results than it reported in its latest quarter. Whether or not Scotiabank is correct in its relatively pessimistic view, there is some reason to be cautious about Aurora's and Canopy's coming quarterly updates.
However, investors continue to have plenty of reasons for optimism over the long run for all of these stocks. Organigram's Engel was enthusiastic about his company's prospects in the cannabis edibles market that should open later this year. Aurora and Canopy should have even more excitement based on their plans for the new market.