2018 was a significant year for legal cannabis companies. As legalization continued to spread—throughout additional parts of the U.S., across the entire nation of Canada, and elsewhere—cannabis companies and investors alike saw a major opportunity. The result was, at least in part, a dramatic increase in the prominence and hype surrounding this growing industry. More and more companies have launched, although a relatively small number of them have made it so far as to have their stocks listed publicly on a major U.S. exchange. Some major non-cannabis companies, like beverage producer Constellation Brands (STZ), have invested heavily in cannabis-focused businesses in a show of support for the future of the industry.
On the other hand, there are also reasons to be concerned with the legal marijuana industry. Of course, just because cannabis is legal in some form or other in a plurality of states does not mean that it is legal at the federal level in the U.S., and this poses serious threats and barriers to the ability of cannabis stocks to secure financial support like loans, to conduct business across state and international borders and more. What's more, there has been fear that the cannabis industry more broadly is overblown, with companies potentially extending themselves too far in a bid to buy up competitors, expand growing and production capabilities and prepare for an industry that enjoys worldwide dominance.
For many investors, the proof of a cannabis company's success is similar to that of any other company: it's in the financials. Now that cannabis businesses in Canada have reported their first sets of financials results since legalization took place in October of 2018, analysts can get a better sense of just how justified (or not) the hype has been. Below, we'll take a look at the top revenue-generating Canadian cannabis companies, per the most recent financials information available as of February 24, 2019.
1. Canopy Growth Corp.
Net revenue (Q3 FY2019): CAD$83 million
Canopy Growth Corp. (CGC) is an Ontario-based company which has the distinction of having been the first federally-regulated and -licensed publicly-traded cannabis grower in North America. Now, thanks in part to an investment of close to $4 billion by Constellation Brands in August of 2018, Canopy Growth is the largest marijuana company in existence as of this writing and per market capitalization.
Canopy Growth Corp. reported on its final-quarter results from 2018 early in the new year, and the figures boast some impressive accomplishments. The company boosted sales for its FY Q3 by 256% as compared with the prior quarter. Sales are up by 283% year-over-year for the quarter as well.
2. Aurora Cannabis
Net revenue (Q3 FY2019): CAD$54.2 million (CAD$47.6 million in cannabis-based revenue)
Headquartered in Edmonton, Aurora Cannabis (ACB) is a major cannabis producer and a licensed distributor. It follows Canopy Growth as the second-largest cannabis company in the world with respect to market capitalization as of this writing. Aurora boasts a strong international presence, having purchased Berlin-based Pedanios GmbH and having received a supply agreement through a subsidiary called Pedanios to the Italian cannabis market as well.
Aurora's financials for its FY Q3 were quite strong compared with previous quarters as well. It nearly doubled cannabis sales from FY Q2 thanks in large part to its acquisitions of two other companies, MedReleaf and CanniMed. All told, the company enjoyed an increase in revenue year-over-year for the quarter of about 387%.
Net revenue (Q2 FY2019): CAD$21.7 million
Founded in 2014, Aphria (APHA) is a relatively new entrant in to the legal cannabis space. It focuses on medical cannabis, having first received a license to rpoduce and sell medical products. In recent months and in an effort to expand into the U.S. market, Aphria has engaged in high profile (and sometimes highly controversial) acquisitions.
For the three-month period ending November 30, 2018, Aphria reported net revenue of CAD$21.7 million. This is nearly triple its net revenue for the analogous period in the prior year.
4. CannTrust Holdings
Net revenue (Q3 2018): CAD$12.6 million
CannTrust is, as of February 24, 2019, the latest stock with plans to move to a popular U.S. exchange listing. On February 25th, CTST will be the new ticker symbol for CannTrust, which will begin trading on the NYSE. The Ontario-based company has not enjoyed the same prominence in conversations about the cannabis industry as some of the names above, but it nonetheless is a major player in Canada's marijuana market.
CannTrust generated net revenue of CAD$12.6 million for the quarter ending on September 30, 2018. This figure was still high enough to earn the company a spot in the top five Canadian cannabis producers by revenue, but it is significant because it does not include any portion of the period after which recreational marijuana usage became legal in Canada. Investors should not be surprised if the company sees that figure move higher in future reports.
While none of the companies above has yet to generate revenue that draws significant attention compared with figures from many other industries, investors are most interested in the growth patterns apparent in the most recent results. Looking ahead, the next test of these businesses will be whether they are able to sustain such impressive revenue growth quarter-over-quarter going into the future.