Curaleaf Holdings, Inc. (OTCQX: CURLF) reported its financial and operating results for the first quarter ended March 31, 2021. Total revenue increased by 170% to $260 million during the first quarter of 2021, compared to $96 million in the first quarter of 2020. Despite the enormous revenues, Curaleaf still delivered a net loss in the quarter of $17 million, versus a net loss of $15 million in the first quarter of 2020.
The company attributed the loss to an income tax provision of $31 million and ultimately blamed it on Section 280E of the Internal Revenue Code and, to a lesser degree, by an increase in the interest expense related to lease liabilities due to the expanded number of retail sites. The net loss for the quarter also included approximately $6 million in one-time charges which mostly include expenses associated with the equity offering and debt raise.
“Curaleaf delivered record first quarter 2021 financial results with total revenue exceeding the high-end of our guidance range as we extended our U.S. leadership, all while creating a new foundation for future international growth opportunities,” said Joe Bayern , Chief Executive Officer. “The stronger than expected first-quarter performance drove record adjusted EBITDA as well as approximately 640 basis points of improvement in gross margin year-over-year. These impressive results reflect the leverage of the strategic investments we have made across the organization in cultivation, product innovation as well as expanding our branded retail and wholesale distribution channels. Curaleaf launched a range of innovative new products to our retail and wholesale channels during the quarter, including our new Select Squeeze THC-infused beverage enhancer which marked our most successful product launch ever and represented one of the cannabis industry’s widest national product launches to date. With our revenue projected to increase to $305 million to $315 million in the second quarter, we also expect to generate significant improvements in terms of achieving positive net income and positive operating cash flows in the back half of 2021.”
Revenue Grows Across The Board
Curaleaf noted that retail revenue increased by 231% to $188 million during the first quarter of 2021, compared to $57 million in the first quarter of 2020, representing 72% of total revenue. Growth in retail revenue was primarily due to strong organic growth across Curaleaf’s footprint, the opening of six new stores across Florida, Maine, and Pennsylvania, and the rapid acceleration of revenue growth in Arizona after the introduction of adult-use sales in January of 2021.
Wholesale revenue increased 254% to $72 million during the first quarter of 2021, compared to $20 million in the first quarter of 2020, representing 28% of total revenue. Growth in wholesale revenue was due primarily to the continued national expansion of the Select brand in both the Central and Northeastern markets including Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Illinois, and Pennsylvania, and the successful launch of new products such as Select Squeeze, Select Essentials, and Select Fresh. It also resulted from the strength of the Select brand in core Western markets including Arizona, California, and Oregon.
Boris Jordan, Executive Chairman of Curaleaf said, “With the acceleration of cannabis liberalization momentum at the state and federal levels, Curaleaf’s prospects for growth in the United States have never been stronger. The recent approvals of adult-use cannabis in New Jersey and New York, which are states where Curaleaf has a leading market share, will unlock vast new markets, worth an estimated $2.1 billion and $5 billion in sales respectively. We raised approximately $300 million in new capital during the first quarter to help support our ability to scale for new adult-use markets while also allowing us to be opportunistic for highly attractive assets that further strengthen our position as the global cannabis market leader.”