Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

Toronto  — Aurora Cannabis, the first pot producer to report earnings since Canada legalised marijuana last month, gained as much as 5% in pre-market trading after profit and sales surged.

Aurora posted C$29.7m ($22m) in revenue for the fiscal first quarter ended September 30, up from C$8.2m  a year earlier. Although the quarter ended before Canada legalised recreational marijuana on October 17, the revenue figure included C$600,000 in sales to the provinces. The remainder was from medical sales.

Aurora’s products and brands ranked among the top sellers in many of the provinces it supplied in the first two weeks of legalisation, the company said in a statement on Monday.

In Ontario, Canada’s most populous province, Aurora brands accounted for approximately 30% of the total market supplied through the government-run Ontario Cannabis Store, while in British Columbia, Aurora had the top four best-selling dried flower products. Shortages have persisted across the country since the early days of legalisation.

“The commencement of adult consumer use sales in Canada has been very successful for Aurora, with strong performance across all product categories and brands,” CEO Terry Booth said in the statement.

“Given the strong unmet consumer demand evident across Canada, we are confident that our rapidly increasing production capacity will result in continued acceleration of revenue growth.”

Aurora is  producing 70,000kg/yr  and expects that to ramp up to 150,000kg/yr by early 2019.

Net income was C$104.2m, up from C$3.6m in the same quarter last year. The gain was primarily attributable to an unrealised noncash gain on securities.

Aurora reported a gross margin on cannabis sales of 70%, up from 58% a year earlier but down slightly from 74% in the previous quarter. The cash cost to produce a gramme of dried cannabis fell to C$1.45 from C$1.87 a year earlier. The average sale price was C$8.39 a gramme, up from C$8.02 the previous quarter.

Aurora, based in Edmonton, Alberta, rose to $7.48  in New York.