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Aphria CEO Talks Earnings, Plans To Eliminate $5B Illicit Cannabis Market

Jayson Derrick

The illicit or "black" cannabis market in Canada is valued at around $5 billion, and Aphria Inc (NYSE: APHA) wants to replace it with its legal brands, interim CEO Irwin Simon told CNBC's Jim Cramer Monday.

Aphria is a consumer packaged goods company at its core and is backed by strong brands that include Solei and Riff, Simon said during Cramer's daily "Mad Money" show.

This helped the company report a sales beat in its recent fiscal fourth-quarter report along with positive earnings before EBITDA, he said.

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$5B Illicit Market

Aphria has no exposure to the U.S. market, but the company is focused on the $5-billion illegal cannabis market, the CEO said. Focusing on converting consumers from the illegal market to the legal market is a priority to build the company's brands and gain consumer confidence, he said. 

'Right Press Release' Not Enough

Aphria also guided 2020 sales to come in between $650 million and $700 million, higher than estimates of $639 million. This is what helps the company stand out in the cannabis field, where companies have succeeded based "who can get the right press release out," he said.

The true winners are companies like Aphria that are able to show "organic growth and making money and rewarding your shareholders," Simon said. 

Whole Foods Exec Joins Board

Aphria named former co-CEO of Whole Foods Market Walter Robb to its board of directors in April in conjunction with its fiscal third-quarter report.

Simon told Cramer there are many similarities between the natural and organic industry and cannabis industry in terms of potential health benefits, edibles, supplements and more. 

Aphria shares were down 0.36% at $7.01 at the time of publication Tuesday. 

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