Aphria (NYSE: APHA) stock was a star in late trading on Thursday, following the release of its fiscal Q4 2019 results after market close.
The company well exceeded the market's expectations for the period. Its net revenue increased more than tenfold on a year-over-year basis, rising to nearly CA$129 million (note: all figures in this story are in Canadian dollars). On average, analysts were expecting slightly under CA$98 million.
Much of that revenue increase came from distributors like CC Pharma, a German medical marijuana distributor that Aphria acquired in January. CC Pharma and its peers booked over CA$99 million in distribution sales during the quarter, Aphria said.
In terms of organic growth, recreational cannabis sales jumped by 158% on a quarter-by-quarter basis to nearly CA$19 million. No annual comparison is available, as recreational use was illegal in the same quarter last year.
On the bottom line, the company flipped to a net profit of almost CA$16 million (CA$0.05 per share), from the year-ago loss of CA$5 million (CA$0.43).
For the entirety of fiscal 2019, Aphria's revenue was CA$237 million, compared to the 2018 figure of just under CA$37 million. Net loss was CA$16 million, against the previous year's profit of CA$29 million.
As far as operational metrics were concerned, Aphria sold 5,574 kilos and kilogram equivalents in product during Q4. This was more than four times the fiscal Q4 2018 tally of nearly 1,313.
The CC Pharma acquisition aside, Aphria attributed its recent growth to having "identified immediate priorities to help generate substantial progress near-term and long-term. We built upon existing business fundamentals and capabilities, streamlined processes, strengthened governance, and focused on building brand awareness."
Now that its fiscal 2019 is in the books, Aphria proffered guidance for 2020. It anticipates it will post net revenue of around CA$650 million to CA$700 million, with EBITDA coming in at roughly CA$88 million to CA$95 million. It did not provide estimates for net profit.
As the marijuana industry is still in its very early stages, it is rare and unusual for a company involved in it to turn a profit. This is undoubtedly a key factor bringing investors back to the formerly slumping Aphria stock -- at the time of this writing, it was up by a rich 26% in after-hours trading.
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