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Agriculture

Aurora Cannabis revenues more than triples to $19.1 million in fourth quarter

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EDMONTON — Aurora Cannabis Inc. capped a busy year by seeing its revenues more than triple to $19.1 million in the fourth quarter.

The Edmonton company says revenues for the three months ended June 30 were up from $5.9 million a year earlier.

The company said the gross margin on medical cannabis was 74 per cent, up from 58 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2017. The increase was mainly due to higher average selling price per gram of dried cannabis and a higher proportion of cannabis oil sales.

The cash cost for dried cannabis sold was $1.87 per gram, down from $2.09 a year earlier. The cash cost to produce dried cannabis also decreased 11 per cent, to $1.70 per gram, from $1.91. The decrease was primarily due to efficiencies from automation and yield expertise.

The company sold 1,617 kilograms of dried cannabis and cannabis oils in the quarter, up from 755 kilograms a year earlier.

The number of active registered patients increased to 43,308, up from 16,400.

Net income attributable to shareholders was nearly $80 million, up from a $4.82 million loss a year ago.

The increase was primarily attributable to the unrealized non-cash gain on derivatives and marketable securities, which was partially offset by increased finance costs, share-based payments, acquisition and project evaluation costs.

For the full year, revenues increased to $55.2 million from $18.1 million in 2017.

Net income attributable to shareholders was $71.9 million, up from a $13-million loss a year ago.

Aurora Cannabis has completed 11 strategic acquisitions in the past year, while another is in progress.

The number of employees increased to 1,400 from 300 at the end of the last fiscal year.

The company says it intends to list its shares on a senior U.S. stock exchange.

“Listing our shares on a senior U.S. exchange reflects the level of corporate and business maturity and our high-paced execution,” stated CEO Terry Booth. “This listing provides access to a broader investor audience who gain the opportunity to participate in our continued success.”

Analyzing the performance of marijuana companies is tough because of accounting rules used in the agriculture industry that require companies to put a value on their pot plants before they are harvested, and approaches differ between producers on how to apply these guidelines.

 

(Companies in this story: TSX:ACB)

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Agriculture

USAID head urges crisis-hit Sri Lanka to tackle corruption

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By Krishan Francis in Colombo

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — A visiting U.S. diplomat on Sunday urged Sri Lankan authorities to tackle corruption and introduce governance reforms alongside efforts to uplift the country’s economy as a way out of its worst crisis in recent memory.

USAID Administrator Samantha Power told reporters that such moves will increase international and local trust in the government’s intentions.

“Assistance alone would not put an end to this country’s woes,” Power said. “I stressed to the Sri Lankan president in my meeting earlier today that political reforms and political accountability must go hand in hand with economic reforms and economic accountability.”

She said that international investor confidence will increase as the government tackles corruption and proceeds with long sought governance reforms. “As citizens see the government visibly following through on the commitment to bring about meaningful change, that in turn increases societal support for the tough economic reforms ahead,” she said.

During her two-day visit, Power announced a total of $60 million in aid to Sri Lanka. After meetings with farmers’ representatives at a rice field in Ja-Ela, outside of the capital Colombo on Saturday, she announced $40 million to buy agrochemicals in time for the next cultivation season.

Agricultural yields dropped by more than half for the past two cultivation seasons because authorities had banned the imports of chemical fertilizers ostensibly to promote organic farming. She said that according to the World Food Program, more than 6 million people — nearly 30% of Sri Lanka’s population — are currently facing food insecurity and require humanitarian assistance.

On Sunday, she said an additional $20 million will be given to provide emergency humanitarian assistance to vulnerable families.

Sri Lanka has faced its worst crisis after it defaulted on foreign loans, causing shortages of essentials like fuel, medicines and some food items.

It has reached a preliminary agreement with the International Monetary Fund for a $2.9 billion package to be disbursed over four years. However, the program hinges on Sri Lanka’s international creditors giving assurances on loan restructuring. Sri Lanka’s total foreign debt is more than $51 billion of which $28 billion must be repaid by 2027.

Power said that the U.S. stands ready to assist with debt restructuring and reiterated that it is imperative that China, one of the island nation’s bigger creditors, cooperate in this endeavor.

Infrastructure like a seaport, airport and a network of highways built with Chinese funding did not earn revenue and are partly blamed for the country’s woes.

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Agriculture

Saskatchewan warns that federal employees testing farmers’ dugouts for nitrogen levels could be arrested for trespassing

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An escalating battle between Western Premiers and the federal government over restricting the use of nitrogen fertilizer has reached a new level of tension.
Premier Scott Moe is demanding to know why federal employees of Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault are “trespassing” on private land in Saskatchewan.  Moe signed a strongly worded letter (below) from Jeremy Cockrill, the Minister in charge of Saskatchewan’s Water Security Agency.
The letter dated Sunday, August 21st states farmers from at least 3 different communities in southern Saskatchewan have reported Government of Canada employees in marked vehicles have been trespassing on their private land.  When confronted, the agents have admitted to testing dugouts for nitrogen levels.
On his official Facebook page Moe says “We are demanding an explanation from federal Minister Guilbeault on why his department is trespassing on private land without the owners’ permission to take water samples from dugouts.”
We are demanding an explanation from federal Minister Steven Guilbeault on why his department is trespassing on private land without the owners’ permission to take water samples from dugouts. We have received reports of this occurring in several places throughout our province.
We have advised the federal government that this should cease immediately and if it does not, it will be considered a violation of the province’s Trespass Act.
Violating this Act is serious, including a maximum penalty of $25,000 for repeat offenders, up to six months imprisonment following a conviction for a first or subsequent trespass offence, and a $200,000 maximum penalty for any corporation that counsels and/or aids in the commission of that offence.
Anyone wishing to report an incident of trespassing on private land can call 1-855-559-5502
Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe has already flatly said no thanks to a federal initiative to restrict the use of fertilizer by up to 30%.
Premier Moe is not alone in this battle with Ottawa.  Alberta’s Premier Jason Kenney has already weighed in on the nitrogen restrictions in this strongly worded video shared two weeks ago.

The letter from Saskatchewan comes on the heals of another strongly worded letter from Manitoba’s Agriculture Minister Heather Stefanson. In Stephanson’s letter to Prime Minister Trudeau, she says this is no time to cut food supply and raise the price of groceries.
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