Tilray (TLRY) beat Wall Street's revenue expectations but didn't meet analysts' bottom-line estimates when the company reported its fiscal 2018 fourth-quarter results in March. But the news was better when Tilray announced its fiscal 2019 first-quarter results after the market closed on Tuesday.

The Canadian marijuana producer announced a GAAP net loss for the first quarter of $30.3 million, or $0.32 per share, and an adjusted net loss of $25.2 million, or $0.27 per share. This adjusted figure matched analysts' consensus earnings estimate.

Tilray reported Q1 revenue of $23 million, up 195.1% over the prior-year period and well above analysts' consensus estimate of $20.16 million. The company's revenue total, however, included excise taxes. Adjusting for these taxes, the company's revenue was $21.5 million, which still handily topped expectations. Here are the three key things that fueled Tilray's tremendous revenue jump in the first quarter.  

Marijuana leaf on top of a $100 bill

Image source: Getty Images.

1. Canadian adult-use recreational market

The obvious reason for Tilray's revenue growth was the Canadian adult-use recreational market. Tilray reported Q1 sales from this market of nearly $7.9 million. Since the market didn't open until Oct. 17, 2018, the company had no revenue from adult-use recreational marijuana in the prior-year period.

We don't know for sure how much Tilray's adult-use sales increased from the previous quarter because the company didn't provide a detailed revenue breakdown three months ago. However, it's fair to assume that Tilray saw a solid increase in sales in the Canadian recreational market since the first quarter had a full three months of sales while the fourth quarter didn't. 

2. Manitoba Harvest acquisition

Another big growth driver for Tilray was its acquisition of Manitoba Harvest. The company announced on Feb. 20 that it was buying the hemp food manufacturer. The deal closed just eight days later.

Tilray reported Q1 sales of food products of $5.6 million, all of which came from the addition of Manitoba Harvest's products to its lineup. Manitoba Harvest's hemp-based foods are sold in 16,000 stores across the U.S. and Canada.

Manitoba Harvest's revenue will need to grow significantly to provide a decent return on investment for Tilray. The company could pay up to $310 million based on revenue milestones, with two-thirds of the amount paid up front with cash and stock. 

3. International medical cannabis 

Tilray also reported a solid quarter for its international operations. Sales of medical cannabis in international markets totaled $1.8 million in Q1, a 321% year-over-year increase.

Unfortunately, we don't know how much Tilray's international sales grew on a sequential basis. The company didn't give details on its international sales in the fourth quarter, although Tilray's Q4 press release mentioned higher spending on "expansion of international teams." 

Although international medical cannabis sales represent slightly under 8% of Tilray's total revenue now, the company's future growth could stem more from outside of Canada than in the domestic market. Tilray CEO Brendan Kennedy noted that the company was expanding operations around the world and that its progress so far positions Tilray "as a global leader in the cannabis industry."

Looking ahead

There are several reasons to expect even better results from Tilray in the coming quarters. The company is increasing its capacity thanks to expansions of three Canadian facilities and the acquisition of Natura Naturals, a medical cannabis producer. Tilray also projects multiple harvests from its Portugal facility in the next few months.

In Canada, Tilray should benefit from the anticipated opening of the cannabis beverages and edibles market later this year. The company teamed up with giant beer maker Anheuser-Busch InBev to research cannabis-infused beverages for this market.

But the biggest growth driver for Tilray should be its operations in the U.S. and in Europe. Legalization of hemp in the U.S. could boost sales for Manitoba Harvest. Tilray's partnership with Authentic Brands Group to distribute cannabidiol (CBD) consumer products in the U.S. should also generate solid sales growth. 

Analysts think that Tilray's revenue in the second quarter of 2019 could nearly double what the company reported this quarter. With several significant growth opportunities ahead, Tilray just might be able to hit that goal.