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Weekly Cannabis Stock News: HEXO Hits an All-Time Low

By Eric Volkman – Nov 3, 2019 at 9:34AM

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The company releases a damp squib of an earnings report, while Curaleaf modifies the terms of a major acquisition.

There is no formal earnings season for marijuana stocks. Roughly speaking, however, they do tend to report within a few weeks of each other.

So, given that the term is fairly loose, we can say that we're now entering cannabis earnings season. Coming up to bat last week was HEXO (HEXO 6.71%); hopefully its performance isn't a harbinger of things to come for the broader industry.

Marijuana plant with sun shining behind it

Image source: Getty Images

HEXO Q4: Deeper into the red

Over the past few months, a big reason investors have been selling out of marijuana stocks is the sector's habitual lack of profitability. This isn't going to change with HEXO's latest quarterly and annual results.

After a notable delay, last week the company reported fourth-quarter and full-year 2019 figures. Neither was particularly encouraging. For the quarter, the company brought in just under 15.4 million Canadian dollars ($11.7 million) in net sales, up from the previous quarter's nearly CA$13 million. The former number was in line with HEXO's guidance, but under the average CA$16 million average analyst estimate.

That came on the back of a 45% quarter-over-quarter increase to 4,009 kilos of cannabis and equivalents sold in the third quarter, although the average selling price per gram dropped to CA$4.74 from the preceding quarter's CA$5.29.

The company's net loss for the quarter was CA$56.7 million. That was far deeper than the Q3 shortfall of CA$7.8 million.

Despite recently pulling its guidance for the entirety of fiscal 2020, HEXO in its Q4 release did provide some forecasts for the new fiscal year. In the first quarter, the company believes it will book revenue of CA$14 million to CA$18 million. Zooming out to the entirety of 2020, it anticipates achieving positive EBITDA for the year; it didn't get any more specific.

Very few things are going well for the company lately, and these uninspiring numbers aren't going to help. HEXO is cutting around 200 jobs throughout its operations, while broader problems in Canadian marijuana -- like supply issues -- will continue to put the squeeze on the finances.

HEXO's stock promptly sank to its all-time low in the wake of the earnings release. Yes, it's now extremely cheap on a relative basis, but until we get some better news about its business, I think it probably best to avoid its shares just now.

Curaleaf cuts price in Cura Partners deal...sort of

Curaleaf's (CURLF -0.65%) seemingly endless quest to own the Select brand of cannabis products from Cura Partners is dragging on, but at least there's a development in the story.

Curaleaf announced last week that it is modifying the deal, agreed back in the good old days of the marijuana industry in spring 2019, to reduce its upfront payment. The company will now fork over 55 million of its subordinate voting shares to own Cura Partners in the all-stock acquisition. The two companies originally set the price at slightly over 95.5 million shares.

The difference -- slightly over 40.5 million shares -- might or might not end up with Cura Partners investors anyway. This stock will be awarded if Select's extract sales, under Curaleaf's umbrella, reach at least $130 million in calendar 2020. Additionally, present Cura Partners shareholders are eligible for up to an extra $200 million in subordinate voting shares if those sales exceed $300 million in the same time frame.

In the press release announcing the new payout schedule, Curaleaf said the modification was being made because of "changes in market conditions." With the marijuana industry experiencing a host of struggles, it's better for the acquirer to tie a big chunk of the originally agreed price to sales incentives.

Although this move should be viewed positively by investors, it's meaningless if the deal doesn't close. I'll get more excited when all the handshakes are done, the i's dotted and the t's crossed, and Select is finally in Curaleaf's portfolio.

Eric Volkman has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends HEXO. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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