Following a miserable 2019, marijuana stock investors are looking for the industry to deliver improvement in 2020, even if it’s modest. Of course, the reality is that many of the issues currently plaguing the North American cannabis industry will require time to resolve. This includes regulatory- and supply-based issues in Canada, as well as exorbitant tax rates in select U.S. states.
While this does mean that most brand-name pot stocks in Canada will continue to produce losses throughout 2020, there are a few exceptions. Although Wall Street’s consensus profit estimates remain highly fluid in the cannabis space, the following five Canadian cannabis stocks are expected to be profitable in 2020.
To begin with, OrganiGram Holdings (NASDAQ:OGI) looks to be the only pure-play marijuana grower that has a shot at profitability in fiscal 2020. According to Wall Street, it’s expected to produce a CA$0.04 — that’s in Canadian dollars (CA$) — per share full-year profit.
This probably shouldn’t come as a surprise given that OrganiGram is the only pure-play grower to have generated a no-nonsense operating profit to date. In the fiscal third quarter of 2019, it produced a CA$1.2 million operating profit without the aid of one-time benefits or fair-value adjustments.
OrganiGram’s expected success is especially intriguing given that it’s only operating one cultivation farm (Moncton, New Brunswick). This farm is utilizing a three-tiered growing system that’s capable of 113,000 kilos a year, assuming the full operation and build-out of Moncton. This not only intimates that OrganiGram will be among the industry leaders in terms of yield per square foot, but that it also has the ability to adjust spending and production more easily than its peers to match consumer demand and domestic market conditions.
Furthermore, being headquartered in an eastern Atlantic province gives OrganiGram easy access to regions where adult cannabis-use rates are higher than the national average. But no worries here about distribution, since it’s also one of a handful of growers with supply agreements in all 10 of Canada’s provinces.
Village Farms International
The only other Canadian grower expected to generate a profit in 2020 is Village Farms International (NASDAQ:VFF), with Wall Street expecting CA$0.63 in full-year per-share earnings. It’s not included side by side with OrganiGram because it’s not a true pure-play pot stock. In addition to growing cannabis, Village Farms also generates revenue from its hemp-growing and vegetable-growing operations.
The cannabis driver for this company is its joint venture with Emerald Health Therapeutics known as Pure Sunfarms. This British Columbia-based joint venture already has a 1.1-million-square-foot campus (known as Delta 3) that’s fully operational and has an annual run-rate capacity of 75,000 kilos of weed, and an adjacent facility of the same size (known as Delta 2) that should be producing cannabis by the second quarter and operating at full run-rate capacity of 75,000 kilos by the end of the year. In total, this gives Pure Sunfarms, when fully operational, the ability to deliver at least 150,000 kilos per year.
Village Farms has also been a busy bee when it comes to planting hemp. Between the company’s two U.S.-focused joint ventures, 625 acres of hemp have been harvested of the 870 acres planted, based on its most recent quarterly update. This hemp biomass, which can be processed to yield high-margin cannabidiol (CBD), is expected to be sold in the fourth quarter of 2019 and throughout 2020, contributing to the company’s top- and bottom-line growth.
Another pot stock expected to break into the green in 2020 after a nominal per-share loss in 2019 is EnWave (OTC:NWVCF). Wall Street is looking for the manufacturer and licenser of commercial-scale dehydration platforms to earn CA$0.03 for the full year.
Although EnWave provides its radiant energy vacuum (REV) dehydration platforms to a variety of industries, including fruit and vegetable growers and to the pharmaceutical industry, it’s the application of this drying technology in the cannabis space that’s most interesting. Rather than waiting a week or two for cannabis to naturally dry out, EnWave’s REV technology can help to accomplish this same feat in less than an hour. This technology has allowed it to snag a number of big-name licensing contracts, including Aurora Cannabis and Tilray.
EnWave is also the company behind the Moon Cheese brand of snacks that are found in Costco and Starbucks, to name a few locations. In 2019, EnWave wound up completely rebranding its Moon Cheese products, as well as entered new retail doors.
With sales increasing by 88% in 2019 and royalty revenue rising by 84%, the expectation is that EnWave’s REV technology and Moon Cheese brand will (pardon the pun) bring home the cheddar in 2020.
After already producing two consecutive quarterly profits, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that Wall Street expects extraction-service provider MediPharm Labs (OTC:MEDIF) to generate a CA$0.15 per-share profit in 2020.
Extraction companies like MediPharm are at the heart of the derivatives movement in Canada — derivatives being non-dried-flower products, such as edibles, vapes, and infused beverages, to name a few. Derivatives provide cannabis companies with substantially higher margins than dried flower, making these must-have products for any portfolio. The thing is, growers need resins, distillates, concentrates, and targeted cannabinoids to make these alternative consumption products, which is where MediPharm Labs comes in.
Many of the contracts MediPharm nets are often for a year or longer in length, meaning management has a good idea of what to expect in terms of fee-based processing revenue and cash flow well in advance. This plays a key role in ensuring that MediPharm doesn’t overspend as it pushes toward 500,000 kilos in annual run-rate processing capacity.
The Valens Company
The fifth and final Canadian pot stock that’s expected to bring the green in 2020 is The Valens Company (OTC:VLNCF). Valens, which is also an extraction-service provider, is forecast by Wall Street to earn CA$0.36 per share in 2020.
Similar to MediPharm, Valens Company has been signing up cannabis and hemp growers to intermediate-length deals. Last year, both HEXO and Tilray agreed to two-year volume and price commitment agreements with Valens that should account for a healthy amount of its processing capacity. Currently able to process 425,000 kilos on an annual run-rate basis, Valens is angling for 1 million kilos of annual extraction capacity.
What’s really impressive about these extraction providers is just how quickly they’ve pushed into profitability. It took MediPharm and Valens each less than a year to go from flipping the switch to generating the green. As Valens expands its relationships with growers in Canada and leans on cultivator demand for derivatives, its position as a go-to middleman will only increase in importance.