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Canadian marijuana harvester and producer CannTrust Holdings (CTST) on Tuesday reported first-quarter earnings that beat analysts' forecasts amid higher production and distribution of its medical and recreational cannabis products.

The Toronto-area company said it earned C$12.8 million ($9.5 million), or 12 cents a share, in the first quarter, vs. C$11.4 million, or 12 cents a share, in the comparable year-earlier quarter. Analysts polled by FactSet had been expecting a loss of 4 cents a share. Revenue more than doubled to a record C$16.9 million from C$7.8 million. 

More than two-thirds of the company's quarterly revenue was through its medical channel, with the remaining third via its recreational channel. Total active patient count reached 68,000 at the end of March, a 70% increase from the first quarter of 2018, the company said.

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"With the successful closing of our equity offering, we are well positioned to execute on our growth plans," CEO Peter Aceto said in a statement. "All told, we continue to expect to exit 2020 at a production rate of between 200,000kg to 300,000kg per year."

Harvested production increased by more than 400% to more than 9,400kg from the first quarter of 2018, and 96% from the fourth quarter of 2018, with the company selling more than 3,000kg of dried cannabis equivalent at an average net price of $5.47 per gram.

Cost of sales per gram sold and cash cost per gram sold were $3.03 and $2.77, respectively, compared to $3.08 and $2.94, respectively, in the fourth quarter of 2018.

Separately, CannTrust said on Monday that it has finalized a letter of intent with Société québécoise du cannabis, a government-run agency that oversees legal sales of cannabis products, to provide residents of the province of Quebec with recreational cannabis.

Shares of CannTrust gained more than 3% in early trading on Tuesday, rising to $5.93 on the New York Stock Exchange.