Aphria stock slides 9% to weigh on broader cannabis sector

Aphria Inc.’s U.S.-listed shares slid 9% Tuesday, after the Canadian cannabis company posted weaker-than-expected revenue for its second quarter and revised down its guidance to reflect issues including a slower rollout of retail locations in Ontario.

The companyAPHA, -4.40%APHA, -5.49%swung to a net loss of C$8.2 million ($6.3 million), or 3 cents a share, in the quarter to Nov. 30, from a profit of C$54.8 million, or 22 cents a share, in the same period a year ago. The FactSet consensus was for a per-share loss of 3 cents.

Net revenue rose more than fivefold to C$120.6 million ($92.2 million) from C$21.7 million, but was below the FactSet consensus of C$129.8 million.

Chief Financial Officer Carl Merton said the company was updating guidance “to primarily reflect certain market dynamics,” including the rollout issue in Ontario, where more than 40 store openings are still pending. Other factors include a temporary ban on vape products in Alberta while it studies their impact, the higher costs of third-party supply due to the timing of a license and a slowing of growth in Germany, he said. The company is now expecting full-year revenue of C$575 million to C$625 million.

Jefferies analyst Owen Bennett said overall the report supported his bullish thesis on the stock, highlighting execution and sales trends as positives.

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“On sales trends, recreational sales were up 46% QoQ with volumes up 68%, while they also saw a need to buy wholesale in the quarter due to demand outstripping supply,” the analyst wrote in a note. “This bodes well for further supply due to come online from the Diamond facility, and should give confidence that Aphria’s products will continue to take share.”

While bears can focus on the revised guidance as a negative, it’s likely more to do with Alberta’s vape ban as Aphria had focused on vapes, Bennett wrote. And the updated guidance remains above consensus, he wrote.

Jefferies rates Aphria a buy with a C$11 price target that is about double its current trading level.

Tilray sharesTLRY, +11.00%were down 0.9% after the company announced the appointment of two new executives from consumer companies. Tilray said it has named former MolsonTAP, +0.61%executive Michael Kruteck as its chief financial officer, replacing Mark Castaneda, who will take on the role of strategic business development. The company also hired former RevlonREV, +1.78%executive Jon Levin as chief operating officer.

Market leader Canopy Growth sharesCGC, +4.76%WEED, +2.92%fell 0.6%. The company is among eight to have offered proposals to exclusively operate recreational cannabis sales in the province of New Brunswick, pitting itself against Loblaw Cos.LBLCF, +0.49%L, -0.06% , one of Canada’s biggest supermarket chains, according to Marijuana Business Daily.

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Recreational cannabis sales in New Brunswick came to C$17 million in the second half of 2019, according to the website. The province is expecting to execute a deal by July 3.

In other news, Massachusetts-based CuraleafCURLF, +4.36%CURA, +4.20%said it has received a preliminary processing license in Utah. Shares rose 3.2% to buck the negative trend in the sector.

Aurora CannabisACB, +8.24%ACB, +6.08%was up 1.7%, Cronos Group Inc.CRON, +2.20%CRON, +0.00%dropped 2.7% and Organigram Holdings Inc.OGI, -1.35%OGI, -0.44%lost 5.7%.

More broadly, the exchange-traded fund ETFMG Alternative Harvest ETFMJ, +1.96%fell 1.7%, while the Horizons Marjiuana Life Sciences Index ETFHMLSF, +0.36%dropped 2.3%.

The S&P 500SPX, +0.09%was down 0.1% and the Dow Jones Industrial AverageDJIA, +0.44%was up 0.1%.

Cannabis Watch: Read all of MarketWatch’s recent coverage of the cannabis business

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