Q4 2021 Net Revenue Increased 63.0% Quarter-over-Quarter to $88.5 Million
Full Year 2021 Net Revenue Increased 131.3% Year-over-Year to $332.4 Million
Company Ended Q4 2021 with $155.5 Million of Cash and Cash Equivalents
Ascend Wellness Holdings, Inc. (“AWH” or the “Company”) (CSE: AAWH.U) (OTCQX: AAWH), a vertically integrated multi-state cannabis operator focused on bettering lives through cannabis, today reported its financial results for the fourth quarter and full year ended December 31, 2021. Financial results are reported in accordance with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles (“GAAP”) and all currency is in U.S. dollars.
- Gross Revenue:
- Q4 2021: Total revenue of $102.0 million decreased 2.9% quarter-over-quarter and increased 71.0% year-over-year.
- FY 2021: Total revenue of $380.4 million increased 135.8% year-over-year.
- Net Revenue:
- Q4 2021: Net revenue, which excludes intercompany sale of wholesale products, decreased 6.2% quarter-over-quarter to $88.5 million, but increased 63.0% year-over year.
- FY 2021: Net revenue increased 131.3% year-over year to $332.4 million.
- Net Loss:
- Q4 2021: Net loss of $16.5 million compared to net loss of $13.0 million in Q3 2021.
- FY 2021: Net loss of $122.7 million during the year was driven down by a $32.0 million non-cash interest expense related to the Company’s initial public offering (“IPO”) completed in May 2021. The increase in net loss was further elevated due to interest expense related to one-time prepayments of legacy loans, write-offs of unamortized deferred financing costs, and $41.7 million of tax expense, compared to a tax expense of $18.7 million in the prior year.
- Adjusted EBITDA1:
- Q4 2021: Adjusted EBITDA was $19.8 million, a 16.0% decrease quarter-over-quarter and an 82.8% increase year-over-year. Adjusted EBITDA Margin was 22.3%, a 261 basis point decrease compared to the prior quarter, but a 242 basis point increase compared to prior year.
- FY 2021: Adjusted EBITDA was $79.4 million, a 157.6% increase year-over-year. Adjusted EBITDA Margin was 23.9%, a 245 basis point increase compared to the prior year.
- Balance Sheet: As of December 31, 2021, cash and cash equivalents were $155.5 million, and net debt2, which equals total debt less unamortized deferred financing costs less cash and cash equivalents, was $103.3 million.
Full Year 2021 Business Highlights
- Completed an IPO, making AWH the first U.S. multi-state operator to go public via an S-1 with the SEC, rather than through a special purpose acquisition company or reverse takeover;
- Commenced trading on the Canadian Securities Exchange on May 4, 2021, followed by the OTCQX on July 14, 2021;
- Added 100,000 square feet of canopy, more than doubling cultivation capacity;
- Entered the Ohio market and completed three Ohio acquisitions;
- Opened six new dispensaries and acquired two additional dispensaries, bringing total store count to 20;
- Launched a delivery program in Massachusetts and Michigan;
- Strengthened balance sheet with $210 million of senior debt financing; and
- Launched exclusive partnerships with both Lowell Smokes and Edie Parker.
Abner Kurtin, CEO and Founder of AWH said, “2021 was a year marked by record sales and the achievement of many significant milestones. I am proud of the team for everything we have accomplished throughout the year. We pursued an aggressive expansion plan, opening six stores, acquiring two stores, and adding 100,000 square feet of canopy, which enabled us to achieve annual revenue growth of more than 130%. Although competitive conditions arose in the fourth quarter, I remain confident in the longer term potential of the industry. Q4 2021 through the first half of 2022 represent a bit of a pause for Ascend as we bring new assets online. As we enter 2022, we are working to optimize our asset base, improve our market positioning, and prepare for the highly-anticipated New Jersey adult-use market.”
|1||Adjusted Gross Profit, Adjusted Gross Margin, Adjusted EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA Margin are a non-GAAP financial measures. Please see the “Supplemental Information (Unaudited) Regarding Non-GAAP Financial Measures” at the end of this press release for a reconciliation of non-GAAP to GAAP measures.|
|2||Total debt less cash and cash equivalents less unamortized deferred financing costs.|
Q4 2021 Financial Overview
Net revenue, which excludes intercompany sales of wholesale products, decreased 6.2% quarter-over-quarter to $88.5 million. The sequential revenue decline was driven by lower realized wholesale price per unit in Illinois and lower wholesale volumes sold in Illinois and Massachusetts, partially offset by higher wholesale volumes sold in Michigan and New Jersey and increased retail traffic. Despite the sequential decline, net revenue increased 63% year-over-year due to the addition of eight new dispensaries in the year, increased traffic at existing dispensaries, and an increased volume of products sold in the wholesale business, enabled by 100,000 square feet of canopy expansions throughout 2021.
Total retail revenue increased to $64.9 million for the fourth quarter of 2021, a 2.1% increase quarter-over-quarter. This was driven by increased traffic at existing stores and the impact of the Newton, Massachusetts and Carroll, Ohio stores, which were opened or acquired in the fourth quarter. Notably, retail revenue increased over 71% compared to Q4 2020.
Gross wholesale revenue decreased to $37.1 million, down 10.6% quarter-over-quarter. Net wholesale revenue, after intercompany sales, decreased to $23.6 million, down 23.4% quarter-over-quarter. The decline in net wholesale revenue was exacerbated as intercompany sales as a percent of revenue grew sequentially, as well as, reduced price per unit in Illinois and reduced volumes sold in Illinois and Massachusetts, partially offset by higher volume sold in Michigan and New Jersey. Despite sequential pressure, net wholesale revenue increased 45% year-over-year, driven by a significant increase in units sold, partially offset by lower average pricing.
Q4 2021 gross profit was $30.8 million, or 34.8% of revenue, as compared to $41.0 million, or 43.4% of revenue, in Q3 2021.
Q4 2021 Adjusted Gross Profit was $37.5 million, or 42.4% of revenue, as compared to $43.7 million, or 46.3% of revenue, for the prior quarter. Adjusted Gross Profit excludes depreciation and amortization included in cost of goods sold, equity-based compensation included in cost of goods sold, and non-cash inventory adjustments. Adjusted Gross Profit1dollars decreased 14.1% quarter-over-quarter, driven by lower margins at the Massachusetts and Illinois wholesale facilities as staffing increased ahead of canopy expansions, and lower realized wholesale pricing. These declines were partially offset by higher retail gross margins sequentially. Adjusted Gross Profit dollars increased 56.7% year-over-year, driven by increased utilization at the cultivation facilities.
While Retail Gross Profit margin increased sequentially, Wholesale Gross Profit margin decreased sequentially. Adjusted Gross Profit1 margin on a consolidated-basis decreased 389 basis points quarter-over-quarter to 42.4%. This was driven by the aforementioned challenges in the wholesale business.
Total general and administrative (“G&A”) expenses for Q4 2021 were $31.6 million, or 35.7% of revenue, compared to $29.3 million, or 31.1% of revenue, for the Q3 2021. G&A costs 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 Q4 2021 was $16.5 million during the quarter representing a sequential decline. This was primarily driven by a decline in gross profit sequentially and an increase in stock-based compensation to support hires required to help scale the business, partially offset by reduced tax and interest expense.
Adjusted EBITDA1, which adjusts for tax, interest, depreciation, amortization, equity-based compensation, and other items deemed one-time in nature, was $19.8 million in Q4 2021, a 16.0% decrease quarter-over-quarter. Adjusted EBITDA Margin1 was 22.3%, a 261 basis point decrease compared to Q3 2021. This decline was driven by ramp up of costs to support the incremental canopy and was further exacerbated by lower realized wholesale pricing.
Full Year 2021 Financial Overview
Net revenue, which excludes intercompany sale of wholesale products, increased 131.3% year-over-year to $332.4 million, driven by the addition of eight new dispensaries throughout the year, increased traffic at existing dispensaries, and an increased volume of products in the wholesale business.
Total retail revenue increased to $231.9 million for FY 2021, a 123.3% increase year-over-year. The growth was driven by increases in transactions at existing dispensaries, the opening of six new dispensaries throughout the year, and the acquisition of two dispensaries in the fourth quarter.
Gross wholesale revenue increased to $148.5 million, a 158.4% increase year-over-year. Net wholesale revenue, after intercompany sales, increased to $100.5 million, a 151.9% increase year-over-year, which was driven by an increased number of wholesale units sold as additional canopy was brought online in Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Michigan.
Full Year 2021 gross profit was $136.0 million, or 40.9% of revenue, compared to $60.9 million, or 42.4% of revenue, for the prior year.
Full Year 2021 Adjusted Gross Profit1 was $153.4 million, or 46.2% of revenue, compared to $64.8 million, or 45.1% of revenue, in 2020. Adjusted Gross Profit1 excludes depreciation and amortization included in cost of goods sold, equity-based compensation included in cost of goods sold, and non-cash inventory adjustments. Adjusted Gross Profit1 dollars increased 136.9% year-over-year as a result of increased canopy expansions. Adjusted Gross Profit1 margin increased 111 basis points year-over-year to 46.2%, driven by wholesale production and yield efficiencies.
Total G&A expenses for 2021 were $116.7 million, or 35.1% of revenue, compared to $53.1 million, or 36.9% of revenue, for 2020 as the Company leveraged overhead and shared resources.
Net loss attributable to AWH for 2021 was $122.7 million, primarily driven by a $32.0 million non-cash interest expense related to the Company’s IPO completed in May 2021. This non-cash interest expense largely consisted of a $27.4 millioncharge related to the beneficial conversion feature of the historical Real Estate Preferred Units that converted in the IPO. Additionally, the net loss was driven by elevated interest expense related to one-time prepayments of legacy loans, write-offs of unamortized deferred financing costs related to the debt refinancing, and $41.7 million of tax expense, compared to $18.7 million in 2020.
Adjusted EBITDA1, which adjusts for tax, interest, depreciation, amortization, equity-based compensation, and other items deemed one-time in nature, was $79.4 million in 2021. This represents a 157.6% increase year-over-year. Adjusted EBITDA Margin1 was 23.9%, a 245 basis point increase compared 2020, driven by increases in the number of transactions, production and yield efficiencies, and incremental leveraging of overhead and shared resources.
Non-GAAP Financial Information
This press release includes certain non-GAAP financial measures as defined by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”). Reconciliations of these non-GAAP financial measures to the most directly comparable financial measure calculated and presented in accordance with GAAP are included in the financial schedules attached to this press release. This information should be considered as supplemental in nature and not as a substitute for, or superior to, any measure of performance prepared in accordance with GAAP.
Conference Call and Webcast
AWH will host a conference call on March 8, 2022 at 5:00 p.m. ET to discuss its financial results for the quarter and full year ended December 31, 2021. The conference call may be accessed by dialing (888) 390-0605 with conference ID 89101163. A live audio webcast of the call will also be available on the Investor Relations section of AWH’s website at https://awholdings.com/investors/ and will be archived for replay until 12:00AM Eastern Time on Tuesday, March 15th, 2022.