COVID Causes Harborside Revenues To Fall, Buys Sublime

Harborside Inc. (CSE: HBOR) (OTCQX: HBORF) reported its financial results for the first quarter ending March 31, 2021, after the market close on Monday. Harborside reported that its net revenues fell 9% to $12.4 million versus last year’s $13.7 million for the same time period. This missed the Yahoo Finance average analyst estimate for revenues of $13.65 million. The company blamed the decline on decreased store traffic due to COVID-19 restrictions, however, there were also declines in the wholesale business related to lower yields. The net losses for the quarter grew 21.9% to $2.9 million from last year’s $2.3 million. 

“Our Q1 results reflect the strength of our business as we demonstrated sustained profitability while we executed on the opportunity to scale up our cultivation activities, improve the breadth and depth of our product portfolio, and expand consumer access to our retail stores,” said Matt Hawkins, Chairman of Harborside. “Throughout the quarter, we continued to build Harborside’s management team with a focus on operational strength and deep industry experience which, together with our strong balance sheet, has positioned Harborside with both the resources and depth of talent to execute on our California focused growth strategy.”

Sublime Acquisition

Following the earnings announcement, Harborside said it was buying California-based Sublimation Inc. also known as Sublime for $43.8 million. The acquisition is expected to close in July 2021. Founded in 2016, Sublime is best known for its expansive line of high-potency, high-quality and affordable, Fuzzies branded pre-rolls, a leading brand of pre-rolls in the state of California, as well as vapes and roll-your-own flower kits.  Since 2019 Sublime has delivered a revenue CAGR of approximately 70% and ended 2020 with a 7.9% California pre-roll market share.

“This acquisition adds an iconic, award-winning California brand, with an exceptional product offering and consumer following, to our growing brand portfolio,” said Peter Bilodeau, Interim CEO of Harborside. “Harborside has been a customer of Sublime for many years and we know the quality of their products.  With the existing production capacity and soon to be completed upgrades at our Salinas cultivation facility, we are well-positioned to support the continued growth of the Sublime brands while expanding the reach of Harborside’s existing branded product portfolio in both the retail and wholesale markets, which we expect to ultimately drive increased profitability across our entire business. We’re very excited to continue to provide consumers with innovative, high-quality products while delivering strong value for our shareholders.  The company will issue new guidance in due course.”

Revenue Breakout

Harborside’s retail operations saw its net revenues drop 2% to approximately $10.0 million for the quarter. Gross margins improved from 51.3% to 55.0% on a year-over-year basis. The company said in a statement, “While retail revenue has been supported by improved in-store merchandising and a focus on selling more items that are produced in-house, it was hampered somewhat in Q1 2021 by decreased in-store foot traffic due to COVID-19 capacity restrictions in California, particularly in Alameda County.” On a positive note, Harborside’s retail stores branded products represented 5 of the top 10 selling SKUs in Q1 2021.

Harborside’s wholesale operations net revenues dropped 31% to $2.4 million for the quarter. The company attributed the decline to a lower-than-expected flower yield from Harborside’s cultivation/production facility in Salinas, California, which was caused by several factors, including a delay in completing the planned greenhouse capital improvements due to a COVID-19 related disruption in the supply chain for grow light fixtures; a weather event which damaged the roof over a portion of the flower canopy; and, a subsequent infestation of non-beneficial insects, which was addressed through implementing a more robust plan for how pests are managed. The aforementioned events affected harvests and limited the overall supply of sellable flower during the quarter.

Mr. Hawkins added, “With adult-use consumer sales officially underway at our San Leandro retail store, as well as a new, more conveniently located store expected to open in the second half of the year, and our strong pipeline of acquisition opportunities under review, we have built a strong foundation to accelerate our growth and drive strong value for our shareholders.”

Looking Ahead

In January 2021, Harborside announced that for the full year of 2021, it expects standalone gross revenues of between $68.0 to $72.0 million.  The anticipated increase in revenues for 2021 is expected to be derived from improved retail pricing combined with continued increases in both flower yields and processing efficiencies from the company’s wholesale operations.  In addition, the company said it expects an Adjusted EBITDA in the range of 15% to 17% of net revenues for 2021.  Management expects to attain this higher level of Adjusted EBITDA in 2021 through more efficient procurement of goods sold and stronger cost discipline on overhead spend.

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