Cronos Group Archives - Green Market Report

StaffStaffMay 10, 2019
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10min1390

A 6.0% dividend yield tells you all you need to know

By Will Ashworth, InvestorPlace Contributor May 3, 2019, 2:07 pm EDT

It’s been almost two months since Altria (NYSE:MO) closed its deal to buy 45% of Cronos Group (NASDAQ:CRON) for C$2.4 billion. And the cigarette maker’s latest earnings disappointment would suggest Cronos Group stock is the better buy of the two if you’re looking to make a play on marijuana stocks.

However, before you jump on your discount broker’s website to buy some CRON stock, you might want to consider the argument for considering MO instead.

Earnings in Transition

In my opinion, free cash flow is the metric that rules most, if not all, investment decisions. That’s because if you’re a company with minimal debt and growing free cash flow, it’s pretty hard to get into too much trouble in an economic downturn.

And while an economic downturn doesn’t appear to be imminent here in the U.S., economies have a way of turning sour in a hurry. Donald Trump’s economic policies are all the rage right now with (a whopping 56% of ) Americans, but when the benefits of his tax cuts wear off and the country’s debt problem worsens, you better own companies whose financials are rock solid.

Altria reported Q1 2019 results April 25. On the top line, revenues net of excise taxes fell 6.0% year over year to $4.4 billion. On the bottom line, adjusted earnings per share decreased 5.3% to $0.90.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, Altria missed the analyst estimate for earnings by two cents and revenues by $200 million.

Ouch.

Free Cash Flow Set to Grow

However, the company is in the early stages of a cost reduction program that should generate significant savings over the next year. In addition, investments such as Cronos and Juul should change the company’s growth trajectory in the years to come. A short-term decline in earnings isn’t a big deal.

From a free cash flow perspective, despite the downturn in earnings, Altria still managed to generate $2.25 billion in the first quarter. On a trailing 12-month basis, it’s free cash flow is $7.6 billion providing CEO Howard Willard with plenty of cash to pay down the $16.3 billion in 4.1% unsecured debt it issued in February to pay for Juul and Cronos along with general corporate purposes.

As long as it can commit to paying down a billion a year over the next five years, the increased cash flow from Juul along with gains from its Cronos investment should bring the total debt down to close to two times EBITDA from 2.8 after the first quarter.

Willard put it best in the company’s Q1 2019 press release

“After taking steps to position Altria for long-term success at the end of 2018, we entered 2019 with an evolved business platform that includes our strong core tobacco businesses and new strategic investments with tremendous potential for growth,” Willard stated.

With 2019 adjusted earnings expected to grow by 4%-7%, there’s an excellent possibility that free cash flow could surprise in 2019.

Cronos Stake Worth Less

Since Altria closed its deal in early March, Cronos Group stock has fallen in value by 23%. That’s prompted InvestorPlace contributor Luce Emerson to suggest Altria overpaid.

“With CGC and TLRY already off the market, Altria jumped for CRON,” Emerson wrote April 11. “There are certainly synergies across Altria’s core business with cannabis than with beer. Still, it is hard to justify paying a price to sales multiple of 267x (compare that to CGC’s 86x).

She goes on to suggest that if you compare Canopy Growth’s (NYSE:CGC) market cap to kilograms sold with Cronos Group’s, you’ll see that Altria paid approximately $1.8 million per kilogram of cannabis sold or three times as much as investors pay for Canopy Growth.

COMPARE BROKERS

I’m as big a fan of unconventional metrics as anyone. However, in this case, I don’t think we’re talking about an apples-to-apples comparison.

The fact is, we’re not talking about mature companies here, such as Altria or Philip Morris International (NYSE:PM), where the price-to-sales comparison is a perfectly logical metric. Comparing P/S ratios at this point in the game when it comes to cannabis makes less sense than it did during the dot.com boom.

Emerson is right about one thing.

Altria knew it had to act sooner rather than later because it needed to have a place in line once the U.S. government legalized cannabis federally.

Why?

To show that the company and its partners are experienced in the production of cannabis and worthy of licenses in all 50 states.

As I stated in December, compared to the price Altria paid for its 35% stake in Juul, its C$2.4 billion investment in Cronos Group was a steal given the long-term prognosis for cannabis in its various forms including edibles and infused drinks.

Sometimes you have to pay a little more to gain entry to an exclusive club. Altria’s now a member in full standing.

For safety reasons, I’d buy Altria over Cronos Group stock.

At the time of this writing Will Ashworth did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.


William SumnerWilliam SumnerMay 9, 2019
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6min2450

It’s time for your Daily Hit of cannabis financial news for May 9, 2019.

On the Site

Cronos Group

Cronos Group Inc. (NASDAQ: CRON) (TSX: CRON) reported financial results in Canadian dollars for the first quarter ending March 31, 2019, with net revenue rising 129% to $6.5 million from $2.9 million for the same time period in 2018. The rise in revenue was due to the addition of adult use sales in Canada. Net revenue increased 15% sequentially from $5.6 million in the fourth quarter of 2018.

3 Ways to Buy Into Marijuana Stocks Without the Risk

Sure, these stocks won’t rise as much as some of the pure marijuana stocks. But, you know what? They won’t fall as much either and they’ll still be able to reap potential billions in revenues derived from cannabis. With that, here are the 3 top partners of the marijuana stocks and why you should focus on them.

Arcadia Biosciences

Just two months after announcing the launch of Arcadia Specialty Genomics™, a new cannabis-dedicated division of agricultural crop improvement, the company has released images of its first crop of sun-grown, Hawaiian hemp. Arcadia’s new cannabis unit, cultivates six Hawaiian hemp strains on its 10-acre Hawaiian facility.

In Other News

Charlotte’s Web Holdings

Charlotte’s Web Holdings, Inc. (CSE: CWEB) (OTCQX: CWBHF) announced the pricing of its previously announced underwritten public offering 7 million common shares at C$20 per share. The offering should raise approximately C$140 million. As the shares are being sold by current shareholders, the company will not receive the proceeds from the offering. The selling shareholders have additionally granted underwriters a 30-day option to purchase another 15% of the common shares offered in the proposed public offering. Canaccord Genuity Corp. will act as the sole bookrunner for the offering.

Alternate Health

Alternate Health Corp., (CSE: AHG) (OTCQB: AHGIF) is looking to expand into Latin America. Today the company announced that it has entered into a joint venture agreement with Oltecate Enterprises, a COFEPRIS-licensed Mexican CBD distributor. Under the agreement the parties will establish a Mexican corporation with the name of Alternate Health Latin America S. de. R. L. de. C.V. (“AHLA”). Alternate Health will own 55% of the company and Oltecate will own 45%. Upon closing, Federico Cabo, owner of Oltecate Enterprises, will receive 1,500,000 common shares of Alternate Health.

Terra Tech

Terra Tech Corp. (OTCQX: TRTC) announced its financial results for the third quarter ending on March 31, 2019. Year-over-year, revenue for the quarter declined from $8.6 million in 2018 to $7.4 million. Management credited the decline in revenue to higher tax levels in the state of California, which depressed sales figures. Nevertheless, the company’s net loss for the quarter also declined, falling from $12.2 million in the first quarter of 2018 to $5.1 million. Likewise, the gross margin grew from 36.2% to 54.4%.

Neptune Wellness Solutions

Neptune Wellness Solutions Inc. (NASDAQ: NEPT) (TSX: NEPT) has signed a definitive agreement to acquire all of the assets of SugarLeaf Labs, LLC and Forest Remedies LLC, a registered North Carolina-based commercial hemp company providing extraction services and formulated products, for $150 million. Included in the acquisition is a 24,000 square foot hemp production facility capable of producing 1.5 million kilograms of hemp annually. Under the agreement, Neptune will pay $12 million in cash and $6 million in common shares upon closing. Depending on the fulfillment of certain milestones, Neptune will pay an additional $132 million over the next three years in a combination of cash and common shares. The transaction is expected to close on or around July 31, 2019.


Debra BorchardtDebra BorchardtMay 9, 2019
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3min2260

Cronos Group Inc. (NASDAQ: CRON) (TSX: CRON) reported financial results in Canadian dollars for the first quarter ending March 31, 2019, with net revenue rising 129% to $6.5 million from $2.9 million for the same time period in 2018. The rise in revenue was due to the addition of adult use sales in Canada. Net revenue increased 15% sequentially from $5.6 million in the fourth quarter of 2018.

The company reported net revenue of $6.4 million. The net income was $427,693 on operating expenses of $13.8 million. The earnings per share on a diluted basis were 48 cents.

“In the first quarter of 2019, the business performed in line with our expectations. We continue to stay laser-focused on our strategy of building our supply chain, distribution, intellectual property and brand portfolios,” said Mike Gorenstein, CEO of Cronos Group. “We’re delighted to have officially closed our transaction with Altria and to kick off a relationship we expect to lead to significant growth and value creation. Altria’s investment and the services that Altria will provide to Cronos Group will enhance our financial resources and allow us to expand our product development and commercialization capabilities.”

CBD Oil Sales

Cronos Group said that benefited from increased sales in CBD oil, which carried no excise tax reduction and increased sales of dry flower.  The company reported that 1,111 kilograms were sold in first quarter 2019, representing a 122% increase from 501 kilograms sold in first quarter 2018, primarily driven by increased cannabis production and the launch of the adult-use market in Canada. Kilograms sold increased 7% quarter-over-quarter from 1,040 kilograms sold in fourth quarter 2018, primarily driven by increased cannabis production.

Cronos said that the cost of sales before fair value adjustments per gram sold was $2.69 in first quarter 2019, representing a 14% decrease from $3.13 in first quarter 2018, and an 11% decrease from $3.02 in fourth quarter 2018. The decrease in year-over-year and quarter-over-quarter was driven by increased productivity in its cultivation operations.
Gorenstein added, “Additionally, the launch of Cronos Device Labs announced earlier this week is an exciting next step on our journey to become a leader in cannabinoid innovation. Vaporizers have become one of the most popular forms of cannabis consumption, and we see a clear opportunity for Cronos Group to bring the next-generation of vaporizer products designed specifically for cannabinoids.”

Altria Update

In March 2019, Altria Group completed its investment of $2.4 billion in Cronos Group. The Altria Investment represents a 45% economic and voting interest in Cronos Group and a warrant, which is exercisable over the next four years, to acquire an additional 10% equity stake if exercised in full

 


William SumnerWilliam SumnerMay 8, 2019
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7min1600

It’s time for your Daily Hit of cannabis financial news for May 7, 2019.

On the Site

Investors Are Bullish On Cannabis, According to KCSA Survey

Investors are feeling bullish about the cannabis industry, according to a new survey released by KCSA Strategic Communications. Titled the Cannabis Investor Survey, KCSA polled over 250 retail cannabis investors about their investments and outlook on the legal cannabis industry in the United States.

Illinois Releases Plan For Full Legalization

This past Saturday, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker released the plan for full cannabis legalization which is set to begin on January 1, 2020. Companies that currently had medical cannabis licenses would get a jump on other companies with regards to applying for licenses. According to the plan, new licenses for dispensaries would begin on May 1 and processors, craft growers and transporters would begin licensing on July 1. It wouldn’t be until late 2021, that the next round of businesses would receive licenses.

Long-awaited German Tenders Handed to Specialist Trio

White smoke emanating from Germany’s medical agency signals the wait is over to find out which firms have been awarded medicinal cannabis tenders for Europe’s top market. Two Canadian firms, Aphria, and Aurora Cannabis and Germany’s Demecan have won out, it has emerged. The three companies will split a four-year tender to grow 10,400kg between them. Aphria won five of the 13 lots, with Aurora Cannabis and Demecan handed five and three lots respectively.

In Other News

MJardin

MJardin Group, Inc. (CSE: MJAR) (OTCQX: MJARF) today released their fourth quarter and full year financial results for 2018. Revenue for the year was $27.5 million. Adjusted net loss from operations was $27.4 million and adjusted EBITDA was $12.2 million. “2018 was a year of significant change in the company as we expanded in to another US state, entered the Canadian market via acquisition, and became a publicly traded company on both the CSE and OTC,” remarked Adrian Montgomery, MJardin Chairman of the Board and Interim CEO. “In addition, we have restructured our corporate size and organization to better integrate and align with our core business goals in both countries.”

Heritage Cannabis

Heritage Cannabis Holdings Corp. (CSE: CANN) announced that it has closed a $17.3 million bought deal offering, selling approximately 32.6 million units of the company at a price of $0.53 per unit. Each unit consisted of one common share and one-half of one common shar purchase warrant. Proceeds from the offering will be used to increase extraction capacity and follow-on investments in existing portfolio companies, new domestic and international opportunities, working capital and general corporate purposes.

TerrAscend

TerrAscend Corp. (CSE: TER) announced that it has completed the book-build for its previously announced upsized private placement. The gross proceeds from the offering totaled $52 million. The company is issuing common shares in the private placement at the previously announced price of C$7.64, which is a 5% discount from Monday’s closing price.

Cronos Group

Cronos Group Inc. (NASDAQ: CRON) (TSX: CRON) announced that is has opened a cannabinoid device R&D facility in Israel. Dubbed Cronos Device Labs, the facility will feature a 23-member team and is comprised of product designers, mechanical, electrical and software engineers, and analytical and formulation scientists. “The launch of Cronos Device Labs is an exciting next step on our journey to become a leader in cannabinoid innovation,” said Cronos Group Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Mike Gorenstein. “Vapor is already one of the most popular forms of cannabis consumption, and we see a clear opportunity for Cronos Group to introduce the next-generation of vaporizer products designed specifically for cannabinoid formulations.”

Canopy Growth

Canopy Growth Corporation (TSX: WEED) (NYSE: CGC) announced the launch of Spectrum Therapeutics, a new global brand that will encompass all of the company’s ongoing commercial medical and clinical research operations including Spectrum Cannabis, Canopy Health Innovations , and Bionorica SE-founded C3 Cannabinoid Compound Company. Spectrum will be involved with the production and distribution of full-spectrum and single cannabinoid medical cannabis products; education, resources and support for patients and healthcare practitioners; as well as pre-clinical and clinical research and the development of cannabinoid-based medicines.


Debra BorchardtDebra BorchardtMarch 26, 2019
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5min2970

Cronos Group Inc. (CRON.TO) (CRON.TO) stock rose over 6% on Monday ahead of the company’s earnings but was falling in pre-market trading once the numbers were released.

The Canadian-based cannabis company reported net revenues of $5.6 million in the fourth quarter of 2018 versus $1.6 million for the fourth quarter of 2017, representing an increase of $4.0 million, or 248%. The increase in revenue was driven by shipments to the Canadian adult-use market and growth in cannabis oil revenue. The company did not report its net profit or loss for the quarter.

Cronos only reported the gross profit for the quarter, but the expenses grew over 300 percent, so since it didn’t make this figure available the only assumption is that the quarter delivered a net loss.

Cronos Group said that its total operating expenses were $12.4 million in the fourth quarter versus $2.9 million for the same time period in 2017, representing an increase of $9.5 million, or 328%. The company attributed the increase in operating expenses to an increase in research and development expenses, talent acquisition and an increase in professional and consulting fees associated with the Altria Investment.

The gross profits were $2.5 million in the fourth quarter versus $0.4 million for the same quarter last year, representing an increase of $2.0 million, or 449%. The increase in gross profit was attributed to an increase in kilograms sold over the comparable prior year period. Gross margin before fair value adjustments was 44% in the fourth quarter of 2018.

“We are proud of all we have accomplished in 2018 and in the fourth quarter. Over the past year, Cronos Group has diligently focused on our strategic objectives, which culminated in our transformative partnership with Altria Group, Inc.,” said Mike Gorenstein, CEO of Cronos Group. “We’ve expanded our production footprint domestically and internationally, developed our distribution with global partnerships, launched iconic brands for the Canadian adult-use market and grown our IP portfolio with landmark research and development initiatives.”

Full Year 2018 Results

For the full year 2018, Cronos delivered net revenue of $15.7 million versus $4.1 million for 2017, an increase of $11.6 million, or 285%. The increase in revenues was driven by increased production capacity, commencement of shipment into the Canadian adult-use market, the growth of Cronos’ medical client base and growth in cannabis oil revenues.

The company reported a net loss of $19.2 million for 2018. For 2018, Cronos had operating expenses of $29.4 million as compared to $9.3 million for 2017, representing an increase of $20.0 million, or 215%.

Financial Moves

In March 2019, Cronos closed on the $2.4 billion equity investment in the company that had been announced with great fanfare in December 2018.  Altria holds an approximately 45% ownership interest in the company.

In 2018, the company raised $100.0 million and $46.0 million through two separate bought deal offerings of common shares in April 2018 and January 2018. In January, the company borrowed money through a credit facility, which was used to pay off $40.0 million senior secured construction loan with Romspen Investment Corporation. It then paid off the credit facility once the Altria Investment closed.

Harvest Time

Peace Naturals Project Inc. yielded its first harvest this past December in the newly completed Building 4, which is the company’s 286,000 sq. ft. indoor production facility, which was built to Good Manufacturing Practice standards. In addition to Peace Naturals, Cronos launched its two adult-use brands COVE and Spinach. Currently, these brands are distributed to the following provinces: Ontario, British Columbia, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Saskatchewan.

In March 2018, Cronos Group announced a joint venture with MedMen Enterprises USA, LLC., At this time,  the venture is only in the process of reviewing and analyzing the evolving regulatory retail landscape in provinces where private retail is permitted under applicable law.

 


StaffStaffMarch 25, 2019
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9min2540

Strong sales help the case for CRON stock, but industry concerns may impose a technical risk

By JOSH ENOMOTO, InvestorPlace Contributor

I can’t think of a more exciting sector than legal marijuana. But like every industry, a fresh response is necessary following the honeymoon phase. For Cronos Group (NASDAQ: CRON), the company faces a critical earnings report for its fourth quarter. Although CRON stock has gained 70% this year, shares have traded flat since late January.

Not only that, the company has incurred heavy volatility heading into fourth-quarter earnings. Further, significant movement in the options market suggests that traders anticipate a big move. Considering that technical momentum has dried up for nearly two months and that analysts are skeptical of the sector’s production capabilities, it’s critical that CRON delivers the goods.

On paper, the bar is set low. For earnings per share, covering analysts expect CRON stock to “break even” at 0 cents. Estimates range between a loss of a penny to a high of 1 cent. In Q4 2017, Cronos delivered EPS of a penny.

But the revenue picture is likely what most investors will focus on. Sales estimates range from $6.5 million to $6.6 million, with consensus averaging $6.5 million. If management hits this target, it would represent over a 300% lift year-over-year. That’s an ambitious goal, but reaching it could do a lot of good for Cronos Group stock.

Of course, with such a dynamic industry, investors should be prepared for anything. Here are three key considerations for CRON stock ahead of its anticipated Q4 earnings release:

Revenue Growth Remains a Strong Point for CRON Stock

Although aiming for a record-breaking $6.5 million sales haul in the upcoming quarter appears aggressive, it’s actually quite reasonable. Going back to almost two years ago, Cronos has forwarded bonkers numbers. That’s one of the reasons why CRON stock historically is such an outperformer.


Since Q3 2017, Cronos revenue growth on a YOY basis average 434%. Taking away this quarter’s ridiculous 963% growth, we still have an average of just under 333%. Therefore, a 303% growth target for Q4 2018 is well within established trends.

That said, legal marijuana understandably has viability and practicality concerns. If CRON fails to hit its revenue forecast, that could send a ripple effect into Cronos Group stock. Wall Street may perceive such a miss as an underlying sector problem that could also affect rivals like Tilray(NASDAQ: TLRY) and Canopy Growth (NYSE: CGC).

Thus, Q4’s revenue target presents a tricky situation. Yes, Cronos should reasonably attain this goal based on historical performance. But if it doesn’t, the penalty will likely be severe.

Inventory Concerns casts Cloud on CRON stock

Among the litany of criticisms against the cannabis industry, a common criticism is capacity. Several players have invested considerable funds acquiring marijuana production facilities. But analysts have voiced concerns that some of these buyouts don’t make economic sense. For example, consider the hoopla surrounding Aurora Cannabis’ (NYSE: ACB) acquisition of Whistler Medical Marijuana.

This goes to show that capacity will always remain a highly-scrutinized metric. After all, a marijuana producer’s viability is directly correlated to how much agricultural goods it can produce. However, another important and related figure to watch is inventory.

When people talk capacity, they’re talking about processed and packaged goods. It doesn’t do Cronos Group stock any good if the underlying firm sits on an un-shippable supply glut. Looking at days inventory, though, management must reign this number in.

It’s not just the fact that the company reported over 748 days inventory in Q3 2018; this metric has risen uncomfortably high in recent quarters.

Again, management must trim this trend. If not, I’m not sure if a good narrative can save CRON stock in the nearer-term.

What’s CRON Doing with their Money?

Last year, tobacco giant Altria Group (NYSE: MO) made headlines when it announced a $1.8 billion equity investment in CRON. Naturally, Cronos Group stock launched into orbit after the disclosure.

But it wasn’t just about the money. Instead, Altria gave Cronos and the entire marijuana industry a credibility boost. If a big company like Altria was willing to stick its neck out, it must recognize the sector’s true potential.

Specifically for CRON stock, Altria represented money growing on trees. With its massive partner’s support, Cronos can embark on its expansionary ambitions.

That’s the good part. However, stakeholders don’t want to listen to bedtime stories indefinitely. At some point, they want results. Inevitably, we have the obvious question: what’s Cronos doing with the money?

Boosting sales is one thing. However, shareholders also want efficient production, and eventually, a feasible roadmap to consistent profitability.

Unfortunately, I’m not entirely convinced that CRON will give analysts what they’re seeking in the nearer-term. Therefore, I’d take a cautious approach to Cronos Group stock heading into Q4.

As of this writing, Josh Enomoto did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.


StaffStaffJanuary 23, 2019
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1min3650

Cronos Group Inc. (NASDAQ: CRON) (TSX: CRON) entered into a credit agreement with Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce and the Bank of Montreal for a $65 million secured non-revolving term loan credit facility. The Canadian-based cannabis company said it plans to use the funds to repay the Company’s existing loan facility with Romspen Investment Corporation and for general corporate purposes pending the closing of the previously announced equity investment by Altria Group, Inc.

Cronos said in the statement that the credit facility will mature on July 23, 2019, unless extended to September 7, 2019, with the consent of the Lenders. The credit facility may be increased by up to an additional maximum aggregate principal amount of $15 million.

The Investment remains on track to close in the first half of 2019 and is subject to certain customary closing conditions, including the receipt of regulatory approval under the Investment Canada Act and approval by at least a majority of the votes cast by holders of common shares of the company at the special meeting of shareholders scheduled for February 21, 2019.


William SumnerWilliam SumnerDecember 7, 2018
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3min3730

Today, Cronos Group Inc. (NASDAQ: CRON) announced that it had received a CAD $2.4 billion investment from Altria Group Inc. (NYSE: MO), the owner of Marlboro cigarette marker Phillip Morris USA.

The investment comes a little more than a year after Corona beer distributor Constellation Brands announced that it would invest billions of dollars in Canopy Growth Corporation (NYSE: CGC). For some, the investments from both Constellation and Altria represent the maturation of the cannabis industry and a sign that cannabis has truly gone mainstream.

For others, however, the investments mark the beginning of the end for the independent cannabis industry as Big Tobacco and Alcohol, which have fought against cannabis legalization for decades, start to take over the market.

The private placement investment will give Altria a 45% stake in Cronos Group. Altria will receive 146.2 million Shares of Cronos at closing at a price of CAD $16.25 per Share, representing a 41.5% premium to the 10-day VWAP of the Shares on the TSX on November 30, 2018. In addition, Altria will receive purchase share warrants, valued at CAD $1.4 billion, which if exercised would give the company an additional 10% in Cronos.

“Investing in Cronos Group as our exclusive partner in the emerging global cannabis category represents an exciting new growth opportunity for Altria,” said Howard Willard, Chairman and CEO of Altria. “We believe that Cronos Group’s excellent management team has built capabilities necessary to compete globally, and we look forward to helping Cronos Group realize its significant growth potential.”

Under the agreement, Altria will have the right to name four directors to Cronos Group’s board of directors, which includes one independent director, and the board will be expanded from five directors to seven. Altria will make Cronos its exclusive partner for all world-wide cannabis-related investments, with some limited exceptions.

News of the deal has caused to Cronos’ stock price to jump by nearly 25% in pre-market trading. Altria’s stock price rose by nearly 2% in pre-market trading. As of publication, Cronos is trading at or around USD $13.00 per share, and Altria is trading at or around USD $55.43.

Pending regulatory approval, the deal is expected to close within the first half of 2019. Earlier this morning, Cronos held a conference call discussing today’s announcement, and a recording of the call has been made available at https://thecronosgroup.com/investor-relations.


Debra BorchardtDebra BorchardtDecember 4, 2018
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4min5210

Cronos Group Inc. (CRON) (TSX: CRON) confirmed on Tuesday that it was having discussions concerning a potential investment by tobacco company Altria Group Inc. (MO) in Cronos Group. The company statement said that “No agreement has been reached with respect to any such transaction and there can be no assurance such discussions will lead to an investment or other transaction involving the companies.”

The stock closed 11% higher on Monday after rumors of such talk sparked a run on the shares. The confirmation of the talks sent the stock another 15% higher and was lately trading at $11.23, below its 52-week high of $15.30. Yesterday Cronos sent an email to MarketWatch saying, “We do not comment on market rumors.” Last week, it was reported by The Wall Street Journal that Altria was considering taking a significant minority stake in e-cigarette company Juul Labs Inc.

In October, Altria, the maker of Marlboro cigarettes, was making headlines when it was rumored that it was in talks with another cannabis company Aphria. The Globe and Mail reported that Altria was considering an equity stake in Aphria (APHQF). However, the story source cautioned that a deal could take time to reach and that it could possibly end up not occurring. The Globe’s source said that the leadership teams from Altria and Aphria have met on several occasions. It was rumored that Altria would start with a minority stake and then ultimately push it to a majority stake.

Aphria issued a statement saying, “That there is no agreement, understanding or arrangement in place with a potential investor at this time” and then added, “Aphria will advise the investment community of any material changes, if and when they occur, in accordance with applicable disclosure requirements.”

Declining Sales

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that during 2017, about 249 billion cigarettes were sold in the United States—a 3.5% decrease from the 258 billion sold in 2016. Four companies—Philip Morris USA, Reynolds American Inc., ITG Brands, and Liggett—accounted for about 92% of U.S. cigarette sales.

By state, the average retail price of a pack of 20 cigarettes (full-priced brands), including federal and state excise taxes, ranged from $5.12 in Missouri to a high of $10.66 in New York, as of November 2016. On average, federal and state excise taxes account for 44.3% of the retail price of cigarettes.

Altria History

Altria was once known as called Philip Morris. It is based in Richmond, VA and its roots as a tobacco company date back to 1847 when it was founded in London. It was split off from Philip Morris in 2002. Its subsidiary NuMark is focused on developing and marketing e-vapor products for adult smokers and vapers. It also has a 10 percent equity investment in Anheuser-Busch InBev NV, the maker of Budweiser beer.

Altria generated more than $25.5 billion dollars in sales in 2017.


William SumnerWilliam SumnerDecember 3, 2018
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6min5770

It’s time for your Daily Hit of cannabis financial news for December 3, 2018

On the Site

Cresco Labs

Chicago-based Cresco Labs is set to begin trading on the Canadian Securities Exchange on Monday using the symbol CL. Cresco is headed by Chief Executive Officer Charles Bachtell who was also a founding member of the Illinois Cannabis Bar Association and the Medical Cannabis Alliance of Illinois. Cresco hits the market with operations in six states (Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Nevada, California, and Arizona). The company focuses on entering markets with outsized demand potential, significant supply constraints and high barriers to entry.

Harvest Health & Recreation

Harvest Health & Recreation, Inc. (OTCMKTS: HTHHF) today announced its financial results for the third quarter ending on September 30, 2018. The financial results pertain the operations of the Harvest Enterprises Group of Companies, which acquired Harvest Health & Recreation (then known as RockBridge Resources Inc.) in a reverse takeover last month.

Meet The Owner Of A Humboldt County Organic Farm

Green Market Report recently visited Humboldt County and during our time out there, we met Dave Sandomeno. He’s the owner/farmer of Sunrise Mountain Farm. Along with his wife Lorelle, they run an organic cannabis farm that supplies product to leading companies like Papa & Barkley. Check out the 8-foot tall cannabis plants!

In Other News

Cronos Group

The cannabis industry was abuzz with news this morning as news broke that the maker of Marlboro Cigarettes, Altria Group, (NYSE: MO) was in talks to acquire the Canadian Licensed Producer Cronos Group (NASDAQ: CRON). News of the talks caused Cronos’ stock price to jump roughly 10% from $9.25 at the start of trading to $10.17 at the close of the market. At present, details of the deal at not forthcoming and there is no certainty that Cronos will even agree to a deal. The talks are expected to last for several weeks.

Aphria

Aphria Inc. (NYSE: APHA) took a major hit today as stock prices for the company plummeted in the wake of a report where shorth seller Gabriel Grego called the company worthless. Grego, who is the founder of Quintessential Capital Management, worked with Hindenburg Research, a forensic analysis firm. In the report, Grego wrote that the company had redirect company funds towards investments held by company insiders. Both Grego and Hindenburg Research are shorting Aphria. In response, Aphria issued a statement calling the report “malicious and self-serving,” and told investors to “exercise caution in relying on the misrepresentations and distortions contained in the report and recognize that, by their own admission, Hindenburg Research “…stands to realize significant gains in the event that the price of any stock covered herein declines.””

OG DNA Genetics

The cannabis brand OG DNA Genetics announced today that it has successfully closed its first two equity financings, raising $35 million from a group of institutional and strategic investors. Serving as the placement agent for the financings was KES 7 Capital Inc. The company intends to use the proceeds to manufacture, distribute, and sell a variety of cannabis products under the DNA brand label. “I’m excited with our ability to now bridge the gap between real financial markets and real cannabis companies,” said Don Morris, co-founder of DNA. “We have a strong network of great operators and brands across many verticals and applications in the cannabis space, which combined with this capital raise enables us to further develop and refine them, while always staying true to our core strengths, which have positioned us extremely well for our next phase of growth.”



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