Aurora Cannabis Inc (TSX:ACB) (OTCQB:ACBFF) (FRA:21P) 2018 asset acquisition spree is starting to pay dividends. The company announced very material news after the bell on Wednesday; news that is significant both for its contents, and raison d’être behind the most aggressive acquisition splurge in the cannabis sector—by far.
After the bell, Aurora Cannabis announced it has received Health Canada authorization to produce cannabis softgel capsules at its Aurora Vie facility in Pointe-Claire, Québec. Softgel production will commence immediately, in partnership with Capcium Inc., in which it holds a 19.99% ownership stake and exclusive cannabis softgel manufacturer rights in North America.
Investors may recall that Aurora Cannabis purchased Capcium Inc.—the Montreal based high-volume softgel encapsulation maker—in early June, while it was embarking on an acquisition spree unparalleled in the sector. While some investors grumbled about Aurora’s constant use of shareholder capital to purchase ancillary assets, we are now seeing the tremendous ROI potential of some of these modest purchases. As we stated at the time:
“When looking at the entire picture, we can grasp how the company is filling-in different pieces of its product portfolio to satisfy its medical delivery apparatus… they shouldn’t underestimate how those smaller deals are likely to generate outsized and long term shareholder value.”
Today announcement is certainly clear evidence of this fact. By investing in an encapsulation maker in June, Aurora can now leverage some of its higher margin refined goods production and brands on the open market. And they achieved this without having large CAPEX/OPEX outlays or the distraction of operating beyond its core competencies.
While COO Cam Battley is on record stating that not all acquisition assets sitting on Aurora’s balance sheet will remain there forever, Capcium is one that’s poised to pay off in a substantial way. The plan in a nutshell: amalgamate and monetize the assets which fit the jigsaw puzzle; sell the assets that don’t—ideally, at a profit.
Aurora also made a significant investment in CTT Pharmaceutical Holdings Inc., an oral strip developer and patent holder, in May. The under-the-tongue deliver method may end up ultimately being more efficacious that softgels, once the requisite permitting and licensing is procured. But for now, the company’s Capcium asset is first out of the gate.
Concurrently, Aurora Cannabis announced the launch—through its wholly-owned subsidiary CanniMed—a line of hardshell, vegan, precision-dose, medical cannabis capsules. Each will contain equal concentrations of THC and CBD (3:3 mg), and produce lasting effects free of any residual taste. This product offering aims to serve the medical community looking for a non-smoke/vape way to obtain precision dosages with consistent and predictable efficacy.
While CanniMed had a developed product line of its own well before Aurora entered the picture, this is the first product—to our knowledge—which has been developed under the fully-consolidated Aurora Cannabis banner. No doubt, it certainly won’t be the last.
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