Canadian marijuana producer Aurora Cannabis saw a big drop this week, sliding down 8% on Monday after Wall Street learned the company was losing a key executive and that insiders were selling stakes.
Aurora Cannabis announced that Cam Battley, its chief commercial officer and the man widely viewed as the face of the company, was leaving.
Battley, who has been with the company since 2016, will remain on the board of MedReleaf Australia, a private cannabis company in which Aurora owns a stake.
On the news, Jefferies downgraded the stock from “buy” to “hold.” Analyst Owen Bennett wrote, “It is clear to us that the market is lacking conviction in Aurora, and this update will do little to help that.”
“Key examples are missing revenue guidance despite issuing it after quarter-end at Q4, still little visibility on near-term profitability despite promises since January and throughout 2019 this would happen by Q4, continued dilution (debenture conversion, ATM used) despite reassurances this would not be the case, announcement of ceasing facility constructions just weeks after a press release praising their progression, and most recently the embarrassment of having to freeze sales in Germany over an investigation into the company’s processing methods,” the analyst wrote.
“Against this backdrop, we believe it is easy to make the case that Battley is ‘jumping ship’ with potential further bad news on the way and it is also now one thing too many for our previous conviction.”
He also lowered his stock price target to C$3.00 ($2.28) from C$7.00.
Disclaimer: We have no position in Aurora Cannabis Inc. (NYSE: ACB) and have not been compensated for this article.