Ever since adult-use marijuana was legalized in Canada, cannabis companies intensified their marketing campaigns to win investors. Nearly all players are boasting first-mover advantages that will ensure industry-leading positions.
However, only the top-tiered weed companies, Aurora Cannabis (TSX:ACB)(NYSE:ACB) and Canopy Growth (TSX:WEED)(NYSE:CGC), have real potential to claim market leadership. The rest of the cannabis companies know that the two giants are in a different league.
The marijuana industry is forecasted to bring in annual sales of between $100 and $200 billion worldwide. With that market size, the company with the largest market capitalization can dominate both the domestic and international markets. But Aurora Cannabis, not Canopy Growth could be the top cannabis company.
Here are the different scenarios where Aurora Cannabis could dethrone Canopy Growth.
Production capacity will win out
Aurora’s production capacity is currently the best in the industry. The company can produce more than 600,000 kilograms of cannabis annually. The cannabis producer with the largest production capacity would have a tremendous advantage in an industry that is a volume game.
Canopy is bent on gaining superiority in the recreational market, because the consumer base is larger compared to medical cannabis. But currently, the market Canopy is focused on is beset with supply constraints which could drag on until 2021.
Meanwhile, Aurora has the infrastructure in place to serve both the recreational and medical marijuana markets. Since the recreational market is supply constrained, Aurora can increase higher-value revenues through the medical market. Canopy might need to refocus; otherwise, sales will be limited.
International presence is the key
Canopy Growth has a strong presence in the overseas market. But Aurora Cannabis has a wider international coverage with 24 countries versus Canopy’s 16 countries. The opportunity in the medical market abroad can surpass the entire Canadian marijuana market.
While Canopy reported higher international sales in the recent quarter, Aurora can generate more sales over the long run because of the stronger and expansive international presence. This is a significant factor in the near future, as there could be an oversupply problem in the domestic market.
Canopy Growth defended the removal of Bruce Linton as CEO by saying the board of directors and major investor Constellation Brands had had enough of high spending and swelling losses. The ill-timed firing of Canopy’s founder could affect the future of the cannabis global powerhouse.
Constellation Brands is saving face and Canopy would be hard-pressed to find a suitable replacement for Linton. A person who will be tasked to curtail expenses and focus on profits will not cut it. The company needs a visionary who will inspire and set a direction.
Aurora Cannabis has assembled a team that is committed to long-term growth and profitability. Canopy is hampered by the loss of a capable leader and is focused on short-term goals. Aurora is dead set on capturing the bigger pie, which is the medical marijuana market.
Given the three scenarios, Aurora Cannabis could be the top cannabis company and deserving of a higher premium than Canopy Growth.
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Fool contributor Christopher Liew has no position in any of the stocks mentioned.