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Is Aurora Cannabis a Good Investment for 2022?

Marijuana stocks have been an underwhelming addition to Wall Street since they hit the scene years ago, but could Aurora Cannabis make good?

In the last three years, Canadian cannabis companies such as Aurora Cannabis (NYSE: ACB) have burnt massive wealth for investors. In fact, ACB stock has declined by approximately 100% since December 2018.

Let’s see if Aurora Cannabis can stage a comeback in the next year, making it the ultimate contrarian bet, or if it will continue to derive underwhelming returns in the future.

The bull case for Aurora Cannabis

Aurora Cannabis is one of the largest marijuana producers in Canada, a country that legalized cannabis use at the federal level in October 2018. According to a report from Statista, Canada’s legal recreational cannabis market rose from CA$1.19 billion in 2019 to CA$2.6 billion in 2020. Comparatively, cannabis sales in Canada might touch CA$8.62 billion in 2026, indicating annual growth rates of 22% in the forecast period.

While a rapidly expanding addressable market will allow Aurora Cannabis to grow sales in the upcoming decade, it will benefit massively if the Joe Biden government legalizes marijuana for recreational use in the U.S., unlocking a much larger market in the process.

Last year, Aurora Cannabis disclosed a business transformation plan to limit losses and reduce costs. It has already realized cost savings of CA$33 million in the previous 12-months. The company believes it is well poised to deliver between CA$60 million and CA$80 million in cost savings once the transformation plan is completed.

The bear case for Aurora Cannabis

Aurora Cannabis has increased sales from CA$55.19 million in fiscal 2018 to CA$245 million in fiscal 2021. But its operating losses have also widened from CA$80 million to CA$246.6 million in this period.

Aurora Cannabis has diluted shareholder wealth by raising equity capital multiple times in the past. This trend is likely to continue given its high cash burn rates in recent quarters.

The stakeholders part of the cannabis market were extremely bullish on the long-term prospects of marijuana companies. This euphoria was evident in a string of overvalued acquisitions undertaken by Aurora Cannabis and peers over the years, resulting in billion-dollar write-offs. The amount of goodwill on Aurora Cannabis’ balance sheet has fallen from CA$3.86 billion in fiscal 2019 to CA$1.25 billion in fiscal 2021.

Finally, Aurora Cannabis is expected to increase sales by just 1.2% year over year to CA$195 million in fiscal 2022 and by 17.3% to CA$228.66 million in fiscal 2023, which suggests it is growing slower compared to the overall market and will lose market share.

So, should I buy Aurora Cannabis stock?

Aurora Cannabis is a loss-making company struggling with tepid revenue growth and shareholder dilution. It’s a high-risk bet even after losing 90% in market value in the last three years. There are far better growth stocks that you can buy right now.

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