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Benzinga

Ascend Wellness Net Revenue Increased +28% YoY, Q1 2022 Financial Results And MedMen Settlement

Ascend Wellness Holdings, Inc. (CSE:AAWH) (OTCQX:AAWH), a vertically integrated multi-state cannabis operator, on Wednesday, reported its financial results for the three months ended March 31, 2022.

Q1 2022 Financial Highlights

  • Gross revenue of $101.2 million decreased 0.8% quarter-over-quarter and increased 33.4% year-over-year.
  • Net Revenue, which excludes the intercompany sales of wholesale products, decreased 3.8% quarter-over-quarter, but increased 28.7% year-over-year, to $85.1 million.
  • Net Loss of $27.8 million during the quarter, compared to $16.5 million in Q4 2021.
  • Adjusted EBITDA of $16.4 million, representing a 19.2% margin. This represents a 17.1% decrease quarter-over-quarter.
  • Adjusted EBITDA Margin of 19.2% represented a 309 basis point decrease compared to the prior quarter.
  • Balance Sheet: As of March 31, 2022, cash and cash equivalents were $143.8 million, and net debt was $89.9 million.

Business Highlights

  • During the first quarter of 2022, Ascend focused on bringing online new canopies in Barry, Illinois, and Athol, Massachusetts, and preparing for the imminent start of adult-use sales at the Rochelle Park dispensary in New Jersey. The company completed its first harvest at the Barry greenhouse on March 29th and began planting an additional 37,000 square feet in Athol subsequent to the end of the quarter.
  • Ascend launched its value segment brand, Simply Herb, which is now sold in all current markets in which the firm operates.
  • The company ended the quarter with 20 operating dispensaries and 213,000 square feet of canopy across five states and will use the remainder of the year to build a cultivation facility and six dispensaries, with plans to commence operations in Pennsylvania in 2023.

Agreement In Court

Subsequent to the quarter, AWH, MedMen NY, Inc., and MM Enterprises USA, LLC (CSE:MMEN) (OTCQX:MMNFF) signed a term sheet agreeing to settle their lawsuit in the Commercial Division of the Supreme Court of the State of New York in New York County.

To settle the dispute, AWH will increase the transaction consideration by $15 million, $4 million of which is contingent on the start of adult-use sales at a MedMen NY dispensary.

“The revised total consideration of $88 million remains significantly below recent precedent transactions. Upon closing, AWH will enter its seventh state,” stated the firm in a press release.

Management Commentary

"Q1 2022 was a transitionary quarter for Ascend as we made investments to launch the next phase of our growth story," said Abner Kurtin CEO and Co-Founder. "While preparing for adult-use sales in New Jersey, we significantly increased our total canopy capacity and recently entered into the Pennsylvania market. The early days of adult-use sales in New Jersey indicate that the state will be a key growth driver for the remainder of 2022."

Q1 2022 Financial Overview

  • Net revenue decreased 3.8% quarter-over-quarter, primarily driven by wholesale pricing pressure in Illinois and Massachusetts and lower average retail basket sizes in each of the states we operate in, except for Ohio.
  • Total retail revenue was $63.3 million for the first quarter of 2022, representing a 2.4% decline as compared to the prior quarter.
  • Gross wholesale revenue increased to $37.9 million, a 2.1% sequential increase, driven by growth in intercompany wholesale sales.
  • Net wholesale revenue decreased 7.8% sequentially to $21.8 million, primarily driven by pricing pressure in Illinois and Massachusetts. Q1 2022 gross profit was $23.4 million, or 27.6% of revenue, as compared to $30.8 million, or 34.8% of revenue, for the prior quarter. “The decline was primarily driven by start-up costs incurred before the commencement of certain significant operations, which are expected to commence later this year.”
  • Q1 2022 Adjusted Gross Profit was $36.5 million, or 42.9% of revenue, as compared to $37.5 million, or 42.4% of revenue, for the prior quarter. Adjusted Gross Profit dollars decreased 2.7% quarter-over-quarter due to lower realized pricing in Illinois and Massachusetts. Adjusted Gross Profit margin on a consolidated basis increased 50 basis points quarter-over-quarter to 42.9%. "This was primarily driven by higher intercompany sales as a percentage of wholesale sales in the quarter."
  • Retail Gross Profit and Wholesale Gross Profit both decreased sequentially, primarily driven by smaller basket sizes in the retail business and pressured wholesale pricing in Illinois and Massachusetts.
  • Total general and administrative expenses (excluding litigation settlement) for Q1 2022 were $33.2 million, or 39.0% of revenue, as compared to $31.6 million, or 35.7% of revenue, for the prior quarter. “Operating expenses as a percentage of revenue were elevated during the quarter, as the Company increased staff to support cultivation expansions ahead of realizing the related revenue contributions.”
  • Net loss attributable to AWH for the first quarter of 2022 was $27.8 million, or a loss of $0.16 per basic and diluted common share, primarily driven by operating costs and a one-time settlement charge related to the settlement of a stockholder dispute regarding one of the company's convertible note purchase agreements.
  • Photo Courtesy of Lelen Ruete.