Toronto-based Slang Worldwide Inc. (CNSX: SLNG) (OTCQB: SLGWF) posted earnings results that flex its strategic partnerships and the expansion of its product sales channels.
The cannabis consumer packaged goods giant released its financial results for the three and full-year ended Dec. 31, 2022.
The company generated positive operational cash flow in the fourth quarter of 2022 and again in the first quarter of 2023, marking two consecutive quarters of positive operational cash flow for the first time in the company’s history.
Revenue from continuing operations for the full-year 2022 was $38.19 million, up 1% over the year, driven by a full year of revenue from its High Fidelity dispensary in Vermont, which offers “premium cannabis, coffee, and conversation in a relaxed atmosphere.”
The gains were offset by a reduction in revenue due to two factors:
- The company’s shift from Oregon being a core market to an emerging one, which means that the it was no longer a primary focus for the company, resulting in a decline in revenue generated from that market.
- Second, there was a decrease in sales in the company’s other emerging markets.
Annual adjusted gross profit was $17.62 million, a 22% increase over the previous year, while adjusted EBITDA improved to a loss of $3.65 million in the full-year 2022 from a loss of $5.63 million in the prior year.
In a statement, CEO John Moynan attributed the company’s financial success to consolidating its supply chain and streamlining operations across core and emerging markets. Slang achieved cash flow positivity in October 2022 for the first time in its history and plans to drive revenue growth in its most profitable channels.
“We will further build upon our successful partnership model to enter new emerging markets in a capital-efficient manner, strategically positioning our brands at the forefront of the industry and Slang for continued growth,” Moynan added.
Slang’s success in Vermont was due to pent-up, organic excitement in the state as adult-use recreational sales came online last October.
The CEO also pointed to its brand portfolio, particularly O.pen, which Moynan said is the top-selling vape cartridge product in Colorado (229% sales rise from August 2022 to September 2022). The company plans to expand its market share through product sales channels such as THC-free goods and will enter new emerging markets in a “capital-efficient” manner.
The company’s operational highlights in 2022 included opening its Ceres Collaborative dispensary in Vermont, where licensees are only allowed one retail spot each. Slang also is expanding into new markets such as Michigan and Maryland, and is launching Alchemy Naturals Edibles in Colorado.
In the fourth quarter, revenue from operations was $11.78 million, a 33% increase over the year, driven by core market sales in Colorado and Vermont.
Ceres Collaborative was one of three adult-use cannabis shops that opened in Vermont on Oct. 1. Slang has a recreational store in Burlington and three medical-only dispensaries operating under the name CeresMED.
Other shops are expected to join the market soon, and the landscape will change significantly in the next six months. The state has received around 35 retail applications, and most or all of them are expected to be licensed and operational at some point. The timing and locations of these new shops remain unknown.
When Slang acquired High Fidelity – now the parent company of Ceres Natural Remedies CBD, Champlain Valley Dispensary, and Southern Vermont Wellness – in 2021, the takeover raised concerns among critics who believed the local Vermont cannabis markets should be led by Vermont-based companies and small farms, rather than out-of-state conglomerates.
The Vermont Growers Association at the time issued a statement arguing that the deal would mean there would no longer be a local Vermont-based license holder in the medical market, nor a Vermont-based company eligible for the recreational license. The limited license type, outlined in Act 164, was designed to lead the emerging adult-use market.
Slang’s acquisition included a 28,000 square-foot indoor production facility with an expansion of 50,000 square feet by the time the adult-use rollout finally came around. Critics have argued that the large-scale production is inappropriate for Vermont, potentially leading to market saturation and threatening the viability of the adult-use market.
Moreover, the association and others have posited that highly-capitalized cannabis companies with a history of undervaluing products could pose a risk to smaller businesses that cannot absorb losses as easily.