Wednesday, 4 April 2018

Closed Off WEED Short; Buying More Of A Cannabis Related Play Close To Turning A Profit

Last week in our article "Sell WEED, for The Tax Man Cometh", we laid out our reason for going short on Canopy Growth Corporation (TWMJF) (WEED.TO) around $33 in Canada after having a very successful run going long on it in February (see our article "Buy WEED When There Is Blood On The Streets") along with other weed stocks over the last several months. We are up to 543 followers despite not giving out a lot of alerts, a fact that we think is indicative of a diligent and prudent stock picking history. If you like our picks you can follow our blog by clicking the follow button on the top of the left hand panel.

This WEED short got to our target faster than expected and we have closed this trade in the mid-$20's. Having made money both on the long and short side on Canopy, we are looking for another long opportunity again. We think that Canopy and weed stocks in general will not do too well for the rest of April, so we are looking for a long position in two to four weeks or if Canopy hits $22 in Canada, whichever happens first. We think that there will still be selling pressure until the end of April when tax season ends. Anyone who sold weed stocks profitably in 2017 in non-registered accounts will have a large tax bill that needs to be paid over the next couple of weeks and those people may be forced to sell stocks to fund that tax bill if they don't readily have the cash available.

We are also looking closely at reloading on Isodiol International (ISOLF) (ISOL.CN) which we picked last July in our articles Isodiol: 10x Undervalued Cannabis Stock Inks Deals With Canopy and Isodiol: A Profitable Cannabis Company and Newstrike Resources Ltd. Warrants (HIP.WT.CN) which we first picked in our article "Cannabis is on the Rise Again" a couple of weeks ago. We recommend that anyone looking for weed stocks to have a look at those two positions as well as Canopy, but be patient. Put in low-ball bids but there is no sense in chasing them right now.

While weed stocks might be dead money for the next couple of weeks, there is one weed-related stock that has been undergoing significant improvements to its business but has gotten lost in the shuffle as the weed industry and the markets at large have been very shaky. That is Snipp Interactive Inc. (SNIPF) (SPN.CN). We first talked about the stock in our article "Snipp: The Next Weed-Related Stock To Skyrocket" with four reasons why we were so bullish on it:
  • A brilliant business plan to market cannabis that we believe has been overlooked by the investment community and the advertising industry. Snipp has the expertise in related regulated industries and has already attracted several companies after just releasing its platform. 
  • A strategic investment made by WeedMD, which has already signed up as a paying client.
  • Vastly improved financial performance of its existing operations. 
  • A very reasonable valuation and market cap of around $30 million. 
  • We will add a fifth reason onto this list. In a conference call yesterday, Snipp's CEO Atul Sabharwal disclosed that the company is in talks with another LP for a revenue-generating contract. Depending on what company that is, a news release disclosing an official deal should drive a significant increase in the stock price, regardless of how hot or cold the weed industry is at that time. 
We believe that all of these factors will be conducive to a huge run once the market becomes familiar with the story. Snipp has been up upon announcing the Launch of the Cannabis Marketing Resource Center with the likes of Aphria and WeedMD already having become members:

 "TORONTO, March 20, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Snipp Interactive Inc. ("Snipp" or the “Company”) (OTCQB:SNIPF) (TSX-V:SPN), a global provider of digital marketing promotions, rebates and loyalty solutions, today announced that it has received broad interest from a variety of Cannabis companies from across the spectrum of the industry including industry leaders like Aphria Inc., WeedMD Inc. and others. Over ten companies have signed up for the center since the launch just last week.  

The Company recently launched the Cannabis Resource Marketing Centre (“CMRC”), which brings together all of the accumulated knowledge that Snipp has acquired in designing and launching marketing programs in regulated industries, namely:

Alcohol – Beer, Wine, Spirits
Pharmaceuticals – Over the Counter (OTC) and Prescription Drugs
Tobacco – Cigars, Cigarettes, Tobacco
Arms & Ammunition – Small Arms, Guns, Bullets
3-Tier Tax Systems – Manufacturer to Distributor to Retailer
The goal of the CMRC is to help Cannabis marketers hit the ground running and take advantage of the deep expertise and flexible technology platforms engineered by Snipp for these regulated industries, thereby enabling cannabis-related companies to easily launch sophisticated solutions that are legally-compliant.  To sign up and qualify, the company has made available a simple application process that can be accessed at

“We are extremely excited to see so many quality companies like Aphria Inc. sign up to our CMRC and learn from the tactics that their counterparts in the Alcohol, Tobacco and Pharma companies have used for decades to drive awareness, trial, market share and retention. To succeed in what is going to be a highly competitive future, it is vital for companies in the Cannabis space to adopt and build on these best practices and not re-invent the wheel”, said Atul Sabharwal, CEO of Snipp. “Given our rich history in and knowledge acquired supporting multiple leading companies in historically regulated industries like Alcohol and Pharma, I am sure companies signing up for the CMRC will see immediate value in their membership and begin exploring deeper relationships with Snipp to enable their marketing objectives. Today we service multiple leaders including many Fortune 500 brands in Alcohol, Tobacco and Pharma because of our secure, flexible and scalable technology platform that enables a multitude of program types, to solve a diverse set of problems for these clients. We welcome qualified companies to join and explore our resource center and engage with us in a deeper conversation to help drive their business objectives.”

We think that this is a brilliant business plan set up by Snipp and that it has the expertise needed in regulated industries like alcohol and tobacco as well as pharmaceuticals to help set up marketing programs for the growers and distributors of medical or recreational cannabis. Whatever Snipp is offering, it is enticing enough to have had over ten companies sign up in a week. We expect that to grow and for Snipp to take every opportunity to announce a big company signing up for the program like it already has with Aphria. If you are a bull in the cannabis industry, there is no question that you should take a look into Snipp as well. There are many LPs out there, but only a handful of agencies that can set up appropriate marketing campaigns for them. The industry will need both. We expect this process to be relatively turnkey as well. A template that will work for one grower or distributor will work quite well for all of them.

WeedMD announced a strategic investment in Snipp in late March:

"TORONTO, March 21, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- WeedMD Inc. (TSX-V:WMD) (OTC:WDDMF) (FSE:4WE) (“WeedMD” or the “Company”), a federally-licensed producer and distributor of medical cannabis, is pleased to announce that it has made a strategic investment in Snipp Interactive Inc. (TSX-V:SPN) (“Snipp”), a global loyalty and promotions company focused on disruptive engagement platforms for consumers. The companies have also entered into an agreement whereby WeedMD will appoint Snipp as its technology vendor of record to design and deploy custom marketing solutions for direct sales, retail sales, referral/sourcing programs, distributor programs and other programs.

“As we move into new markets, it’s important to provide informed and engaging online experiences to consumers. By utilizing Snipp’s proprietary solutions to develop and implement new marketing and sales programs, we plan to deepen our relationship with current and future customers,” said Bruce Dawson-Scully, CEO of WeedMD. “We are excited to roll out these campaigns to expand market awareness, enhance communication touch points, and further engage our consumers.”

WeedMD is also proud to announce its participation in Snipp’s recently launched Cannabis Resource Marketing Centre (“CMRC”), which brings together all of the accumulated knowledge Snipp has acquired in designing and launching marketing programs in regulated industries, including alcohol, pharmaceuticals and tobacco. The goal of the CMRC is to help cannabis marketers hit the ground running and take advantage of the deep expertise and flexible technology platforms engineered by Snipp for regulated industries. See for more detail.

“We are looking forward to working with the team at WeedMD as we provide strategic support and launch our industry-leading, technology-based solutions to advance and accelerate their marketing and sales programs,” said Atul Sabharwal, CEO of Snipp. “Snipp is committed to positioning WeedMD as not only a market leader, but as a pioneer in leveraging emerging technologies as they build their business to drive engagement and loyalty. Our focus will initially be to help raise market awareness along with acquisition and retention of medical patients, and eventually for retailers as the adult use market emerges.”

Under the terms of the strategic partnership, WeedMD will invest $250,000 into Snipp on the same terms and condition as their recently announced financing at $0.10 per share. As part of the agreement, WeedMD, will have the right to nominate one member to the Snipp advisory board."

The first thing that we would like to point out is that WeedMD, a $135 million market cap LP, thought that this deal was important enough to announce it on its own news feed. Usually it's the smaller company that likes to announce a deal with a larger name to get some exposure, but both companies released a statement on this agreement.

Second, we would like to point out this wording in the news release: "The companies have also entered into an agreement whereby WeedMD will appoint Snipp as its technology vendor of record to design and deploy custom marketing solutions for direct sales, retail sales, referral/sourcing programs, distributor programs and other programs." Signing up for CMRC is free - any eligible applicant can do that. But what this shows is that WeedMD has already become a paying customer, referring to Snipp as its technology vendor. CMRC has already started generating revenue for Snipp.

This revenue will be on top of Snipp's vastly improved financials. Take a look at the Q4 2017 financials released yesterday:

  • Revenue for Q4 2017 increased by 29% compared to Q4 2016. Revenue for Q4 2017 was $3.84MM compared to revenue for Q4 2016 of $2.99MM.
  • Revenue for Fiscal 2017 increased by 15% compared to Fiscal 2016. Revenue for Fiscal 2017 was $12.88MM compared to revenue for Fiscal 2016 of $11.22MM.
  • EBITDA in Q4 2017 improved by 83% compared to Q4 2016, an EBITDA improvement of $1,080,597. Q4 2017 EBITDA loss was $0.22M vs Q4 2016 EBITDA loss of $1.30MM.
  • EBITDA in Fiscal 2017 improved by 70% compared to Fiscal 2016, an EBITDA improvement of $4,551,329. Fiscal 2017 EBITDA loss was $1.92M vs Fiscal 2016 EBITDA loss of $6.47MM.
  • Bookings for Q4 2017 improved by 45% compared to Q4 2016, an improvement of $1,266,293. Q4 2017 Bookings were $4.07MM vs Q4 2016 Bookings of $2.80MM
  • Bookings Backlog (programs that have been sold, but whose revenues have not yet been recognized) stood at $5.7MM at December 31, 2017, an increase of 35% compared to Bookings Backlog at December 31, 2016 of $4.2MM.
  • Gross margins improved in Q4 2017 by 5% from 61% in Q4 2016 to 66% in Q4 2017.
  • Gross margins improved in Fiscal 2017 by 4% from 66% in Fiscal 2016 to 70% in Fiscal 2017.

Revenue increased, EBITDA vastly improved to the point where consistent profitability is in sight (Q3 was EBITDA positive) and backlog has grown, indicative of more revenue growth to come. At the start of 2018, the company announced that "Snipp Crosses US$4MM of Bookings in Q4 2017, Largest Quarter of Sales in 2017 With 150+% Growth Compared to Q4 2016". In addition to disclosing the meeting with a well known cannabis company, the CEO's tone on the call was focused on getting to profitability with a reasonable path to get there. We think that it can happen this year.

With a market cap of around $30 million Canadian and a revenue run-rate that is close $4 million U.S. per quarter and growing, the revenue multiple on Snipp is only around 2. Compared to cannabis companies this is extremely cheap. Snipp provides a unique way for investors to have exposure to the weed industry without having to pay for the high multiples. We have gotten in early before the hype really makes this stock take off and suggest that readers take a look into Snipp while it's cheap. We can't tell you when to sell, but we believe that early buyers will have plenty of opportunities to sell at big profits in the near future.

Disclosure: We are long Snipp.

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