Aurora stock is bouncing back today after slumping in the aftermath of the departure of Aurora Cannabis Inc’s (TSX:ACB) (NYSE:ACB) Chief Corporate Officer Cam Battley on December 21.
Aurora CCO Departs
Mr. Battley stepped down earlier this month to take up a position at Brisbane-based medicinal cannabis firm MedReleaf Australia, where the medicinal cannabis space has been growing at an astronomical rate over the last 18 months from 500 patients to 24,000. MedReleaf is a privately held firm of which Aurora holds a 10% stake and 50% voting rights. Mr. Battley joined Aurora in 2016 and held several key positions before being named Chief Corporate Officer in 2018. Aurora stock has dropped over 33% since his departure was announced.
Short Sellers Seize Opportunity
“Our roots run deep, and Cam has been an integral part of the development, growth and expansion of Aurora,” said Terry Booth, CEO of Aurora Cannabis. “We are grateful for Cam’s leadership and passion over his many years with Aurora. I am sure Cam will be successful as he moves on to tackle Australia.” Mr. Battley’s departure saw a spike in short selling activity, which further deepened the losses for Aurora stock, with the company yet to name a successor as CCO.
Tough Year for Aurora Stock
Aurora has endured a torrid spell throughout most of 2019 despite making some strong gains in the first quarter of the year. Since reaching a peak value of $13.26 on March 18, Aurora stock has lost as much as 80% of its value in the proceeding months, reflecting both its own struggles and broader difficulties in the cannabis space. The company reported its fiscal Q1 results in November, which saw a disappointing revenue return of $75.3 million CAD, 24% off the previous quarter.
As a result of those disappointing figures, Aurora Cannabis was forced to halt construction on two of its facilities in order to save over $190 million CAD in cash as part of a capital restructuring program. It remains unclear when exactly construction will resume at the facilities, located in Alberta and Denmark, but the company did say, “as global demand develops, or as Aurora’s market share in the global cannabis market increases, we will reactivate these projects.” Despite the difficulties in 2019, Aurora shares are up 11% today to see out the year.
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