Canada's SNDL (SNDL -0.73%) was undoubtedly familiar to many of you for years as Sundial Growers. Chances are, you also thought of SNDL as a cannabis business more than anything else.
There are changes afoot, though, and not just in the company's name. Lately, cannabis hasn't been SNDL's sole focus. Indeed, the company may be focusing on another substance that requires a license to sell, even if some retail traders aren't aware of it.
Speaking of that, SNDL's management recently acknowledged the retail-trading crowd, even to the point of crediting them with the company's continued existence. It might be a startling admission to some, but if the meme-stock shoe fits, SNDL might as well wear it with pride.
What's in a name, anyway?
Whatever you do, don't call the company Sundial Growers anymore -- or at least not in the presence of CEO Zach George.
He says the original name and identity are "becoming less relevant," while the "new SNDL brand better reflects our corporate activities and the undeniable impact that retail-investor support has had on our survival and ability to build Canada's largest private sector distribution platform for liquor and cannabis."
There's a lot to unpack from that statement. First of all, it's not every day that a company's CEO references its own "survival" in a quarterly earnings press release. Beyond that, though, it's notable that George seemed to credit the retail trading crowd with SNDL's viability as a going concern. He's not exactly an "ape" leader like AMC Entertainment Holdings' Adam Aron, but George at least gave a thinly veiled shout-out to the meme-sters.
Another tidbit from that quote (albeit a subtle one) is that George mentioned liquor before cannabis. That's probably not accidental, as the CEO did this twice during the press release. Moreover, SNDL's second-quarter 2022 data does indeed indicate that the company's primary cash cow is now booze, not pot.
During that time, SNDL's Liquor Retail gross revenue was $148.6 million, more than the combined gross revenue of its Cannabis Retail ($63.5 million) and Cannabis Cultivation and Production ($15.4 million). And before you assume that SNDL is a cultivator first and foremost, consider that SNDL sustained an $8 million net loss in the second quarter from its Cannabis Cultivation and Production segment.
New, but not necessarily improved
Overall, the rebranded SNDL's second quarter of the year gave ample fodder for bulls and bears alike. In the bullish column would definitely be the company's record second-quarter net revenue of $223.7 million, up a jaw-dropping 2,344% year over year. Another company record was set when SNDL posted a second-quarter gross margin of $43.1 million, up 1,627% versus a year ago.
For some cautious investors, however, the bottom line will always remain the bottom line. Thus, they won't be particularly fond of SNDL's $74 million net loss, which is 41% wider than the year-ago quarter's $52.3 million net loss. In a similar vein, SNDL's adjusted EBITDA loss deepened from $200,000 in the first quarter of 2022 to $25.9 million in 2022's second quarter.
This isn't to trivialize SNDL's spectacular top-line growth, but it does put it into perspective. As George admitted, despite the company's "encouraging results," there's "still room for improvement."
The sharp quarterly revenue increase might be misleading/distorted on a surface level, though, as it appears to reflect the addition of $148.6 million from a Liquor Retail segment that didn't exist a year earlier. There's also $63.5 million in revenue coming from a Cannabis Retail segment which, again, was zilch in the year-ago quarter. As far as SNDL's Q2 2022 pre-tax earnings loss is concerned, $7.9 million of it is attributable to Cannabis Retail while Liquor Retail nearly made up for that with a $7.2 million profit and Cannabis Retail provided a small quarterly profit. In other words, SNDL clearly isn't losing money from selling alcohol.
It's fine to make a small, speculative investment in SNDL as long as you know what you own, and more importantly, what you don't own. And what you don't own is a stake in a profitable, cannabis-first business.
What you might own, though, is a promising "sin" stock, a stake in a powerful revenue grower, and (quite possibly) a meme stock. Call it a gamble if you'd like -- but please, don't call it Sundial Growers.