To be blunt, Aurora Cannabis (NYSE:ACB) was a stinker of a stock in 2020. In fact, it was one of the worst-performing marijuana companies on the market during the year, which is saying something given how awful they were as a group. As of the market close Dec. 17, Aurora had shed 63% of its value since the beginning of 2020.
Over the course of the year, Aurora had to contend with a number of headaches. Some of these were outside of its control, and some painfully self-induced.
Of the former, relatively weak selling prices — resulting from supply issues and the continued strength of the black market — continue to plague the industry, particularly affecting top grower Aurora.
As to the latter, continued bottom-line losses and negative cash flow have led the company to make ever more secondary stock issues. These don’t solve its overall problems and they dilute existing shareholders, making the stock progressively less attractive.
Meanwhile, two major pillars of Aurora’s business strategy, namely to be a dominant grower and to be a leading player in international markets, aren’t kicking in. For the aforementioned reasons, being a major producer/cultivator isn’t ideal just now. At the same time, the molasses-slow progress of marijuana legalization overseas won’t make those international ambitions viable for quite some time, perhaps even years.
Aurora does deserve credit for trimming its considerable costs through sensible moves, such as shuttering some of its smaller facilities. There was also a glimmer or two of hope in its Q1 of fiscal 2021 results, published last month, but at the end of 2020, Aurora was still very far from being out of the woods. We can probably expect the same for the opening months of 2021, at least.