Trulieve Cannabis CEO Looking To Expand Company “In The Very Near Term”

Benjamin A. Smith
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Trulieve Cannabis Corp (CNSX:TRUL) received a material status boost today, as CEO Kim Rivers appeared on a segment of CNBC’s Mad Money. The Florida-based vertically integrated cannabis operator received almost five minutes of airtime, despite only recently arriving on the public scene. For potential investors needing assurance that Trulieve wasn’t going to be a one-state pony, that moment unquestionably arrived.

While the interview was mostly a softball-type introduction piece, Kim Rivers did provide some material soundbites toward the end.

When asked by host Jim Cramer whether the company was looking to expand, Rivers revealed that Trulieve is “looking to go elsewhere… so we would need to make acquisitions; which is one of the reasons, and one of the main drivers why we decided to go public.” Furthermore, Rivers stated that the company “is looking to do that in the very near term” when asked whether the parent company would be willing to “host other states.”

The real news isn’t that Trulieve is looking beyond being single state operations, which is expected. It’s that they are looking to do so right away. The company only listed on the Canadian Securities Exchange on September 25th, and has yet to issue its first press release as a public company. Such open and expedited expansion objectives rarely manifest themselves this early post-RTO/IPO christening . But with the industry moving so fast, obviously Trulieve intends to stay ahead of the geographical curve.

Fortunately for the company, the value of its shareholder capital is on the upswing. While the stock hit an iceberg recently, current price represents a ↑300.83% increase over the $6.00/subscription receipt price attained during its last financing round on August 29th. TRUL is also higher by ↑80.86% in eight trading sessions since its debut close of $9.98/share. By any measure, Trulieve’s introduction into the public sphere has been a smashing success, as evidenced by Kim Rivers early appearance on Mad Money. Jim Cramer doesn’t usually invite newcomers to his show unless there’s a sound (potential) investment thesis behind it.

In terms of the company’s financials, we don’t have the entire picture since its income statement hasn’t been filed. We do know Trulieve has been EBITDA positive since at least FY 2017; we also know TRUL raised aggregate gross proceeds of $65,565,500 during a brokered private placement in late August.

Results of Operations

(millions of U.S. dollars)

2017

2018 Q1

% change

2018 Q2

Total Revenue

19.8

15.2

53.3

23.3

Gross Margin2

8.7

10.7

61.7

17.3

Gross Margin %

43.9

69.3

6.9

74.1

Operating Expenses

8.3

4.6

30.4

6.0

Operating Expenses %

42.0

30.1

(14.3)

25.8

EBITDA1

10.1

11.2

27.7

14.3

Assuming the company doesn’t possess excessive debt servicing expenses (operations only confined to one state), it’s plausible the company can utilize a sizable portion of its sideline capital on private purchases—without necessarily diluting shareholders. It really depends on how aggressive they want to be. Will they elect to purchase modest-sized private operators with out-of-state licenses, or deploy shareholder capital with conviction and acquire another listed, multi-state operator? Time will tell.

There’s also the case of Trulieve v. DOH Case No. 2018-CA-000698. The company is currently fighting the constitutionality of that law in state court limiting the amount of retail outlets individual cannabis companies can operate. That number resides at 25, with further limited expansion possibilities based on medical enrollment counts. Should Trulieve lose its challenge against the state, one would presume the urgency to branch out would only heighten further. No timeline for a summary decision has been disclosed.

Final Thoughts

For Trulieve Cannabis Corp., today was an important day. Its appearance on Mad Money only helps to mainstream the company’s profile, while Kim Rivers assuaged investors of Trulieve’s forceful national aspirations. Both are winning narratives to run with, and conducive to heightened company visibility in the intermediate term. For a stock with less than 11 million shares outstanding, that alone qualifies as “material”.

Benjamin A. Smith

Benjamin A. Smith

Ben is a research analyst and capital markets professional with nearly 20 years of experience. His areas of expertise are broad-based, and include extensive knowledge of macro economics, stock/derivative trading, commodity complexes, cryptocurrencies and technical/quant analysis. He also maintains an particular affinity for U.S. politics and the macro-regulatory environment facing...
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