Earlier this week, Tilray Inc. (TLRY) announced that it was laying off 10% of its workforce as part of a global restructuring – marking one more in a series of downsizings that have plagued the cannabis industry recently.
A spokesperson says the company has 1,443 employees globally, with the majority in Canada and Portugal. The company is letting go of roughly 140 people. “The tough decision to eliminate roles has not been taken lightly. We’re extremely grateful to our past and current employees for their contributions,” said Tilray CEO Brendan Kennedy.
Many investors are interpreting this as a preemptive strike to get out in front of yet another lackluster earnings report – a report that’s due next week.
Tilray ended September 2019 with $122 million in cash and securities on its balance sheet, after losing a jaw-dropping $103 million within the first three quarters of 2019.
The company, based in Nanaimo, B.C., has been struggling to make a dent in Canada’s recreational market and posted a larger-than-expected loss of US$35.7 million in its most recent earnings.
Approximately 30 percent of Tilray’s product is sold to other licensed producers, which some analysts believe could become problematic as cannabis inventory continues to pile up throughout the industry.
If the monetary bleeding continued throughout the end of 2019, the company’s recent cost-cutting measures could soften the blow of yet another disappointing earnings report. However, Tilray is still a $1.8 billion company.
“By reducing headcount and cost, Tilray will be better positioned to achieve profitability and be one of the clear winners in the cannabis industry, which will drive value for our investor and employee shareholders,” said Kennedy.
The CEO remains optimistic about the cannabis industry over the long term, in spite of the recent losses that have occurred in the short term. “When I look at the industry, I think that markets tend to massively overestimate short-term opportunities and massively underestimate the long term opportunities,” he said.
Tilray’s global vision
Considering that adult-use recreational cannabis is only legalized in two countries – Uruguay and Canada – that equates to about 1% of the world’s countries. Kennedy anticipates that at least three or four countries will follow suit in the next 12-to-18 months.
“While expectations were lofty a year ago. I think that expectations today have settled down and I think valuations today are much more realistic compared to where they were a year ago,” Kennedy said.
The CEO added that Tilray aims to focus on the international medical cannabis business, science and research, as well as the domestic recreational market and Manitoba Harvest hemp foods – a company that it acquired last year for $420 million.
Tilray is taking a multi-pronged approach to the cannabis market, with its hands in adult-use cannabis, food products and medical treatments.
Earlier this year, the company announced a joint venture with Anheuser-Busch InBev NV (BUD) called Fluent Beverage Company, with plans to offer non-alcoholic, CBD-infused beverages in Canada.
Tilray Inc. Cl 2 (TLRY) was trading at $16.06 per share on Monday afternoon, down $0.85 (-5.03%). Year-to-date, TLRY has declined N/A%, versus a 25.31% rise in the benchmark S&P 500 index during the same period.
About the Author: Eric Bowler
Eric Bowler is an accomplished journalist providing in-depth insights for more than two decades. Over the past several years his focus has been on the marijuana industry, with a special interest in cannabis growth stocks. His daily coverage of the industry keeps him on top of the key trends with the goal of helping investors make well-informed decisions.