Analyst Downgrades Scotts, Cuts Targets on Hydrofarm, GrowGen


When Scotts Miracle-Gro (NYSE: SMG) first started telling shareholders that its hydroponic subsidiary Hawthorne was slowing in gross sales, it appeared like a brief state of affairs. Which may not be the case. A brand new in-depth report by Wells Fargo analyst Chris Carey based mostly on survey knowledge collected by Cannabiz Media is miserable, to say the least. Actuality bites.

Carey’s response to the research has promoted him to downgrade shares of Scotts to Equal Weight and roping his value goal to $85 (from $115). The inventory was these days promoting at $75. He additionally reduce his value targets on Hydrofarm (NASDAQ: HYFM) to $4 from $7 and GrowGeneration (NASDAQ: GRWG) to $3.50 from $4.00.

The report reached out to hundreds of growers to in the end develop a listing of ~500 licensed hashish cultivators responding throughout 6 states, by way of on-line surveys and hours of cellphone conversations. The research discovered that “Total, 62% of cultivators really feel “dangerous” or “horrible” about their present markets vs solely 8% that really feel “good” or “nice”. When requested “what goes properly for your corporation at the moment?” ~20% responded with the equal of “nothing.” California was by far the state with the bottom sentiment with 70% of cultivators feeling “horrible” in regards to the market, 16% feeling “dangerous” and solely 5% ‘good’ or ‘nice’.” The important level right here is that California has the worst outlook and it accounts for nearly a 3rd of the general hashish market. 

Whereas different hydroponic corporations have acknowledged in earnings releases that they believed the panorama would enhance by the tip of the 12 months, this report suggests in any other case. “Most growers we surveyed aren’t anticipating issues to enhance within the close to time period, with solely 14% anticipating enchancment in 6 months or much less. Curiously, 46% of respondents don’t know when issues would possibly enhance underscoring the shortage of visibility that has plagued the business. Whereas some capability exiting is without doubt one of the few shiny spots for the business, we’d doubtless must see a better stage of exits or discount in manufacturing to turn out to be extra constructive.” When virtually half of the growers say they don’t know when their market will enhance, it’s not solely a nasty signal for farmers however your entire business.

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Stress Factors

The survey uncovered the problems inflicting the stress at the start of the hashish meals chain. Declining wholesale costs led the best way, adopted by burdensome compliance necessities, taxes, illicit market competitors and lack of distribution. Small growers can’t compete with the fee efficiencies of company hashish and because the costs fall for his or her merchandise, they’re dropping cash. One grower instructed the group that they thought they’d promote hashish wherever between $1800 and $2200 a pound, however as a substitute it’s going for $400 a pound. A California cultivator stated he was promoting hashish at $200 a pound and paying $150 a pound in taxes. 

The survey on costs discovered that 60% stated they have been promoting hashish for beneath $750 a pound. 14% have been promoting between $751 and $1250, 18% have been promoting a pound between $1251 and $1500, and the remainder (9%) have been above $1500. They are saying they aren’t hitting the price of manufacturing and plenty of are contemplating promoting their licenses or simply giving up. 

The respondents appeared combined on the results of the illicit market. Some cited it as a serious drawback with these gamers flooding the market, whereas others didn’t assume it was as large a problem because the regulatory necessities. Compliance necessities have been a serious stumbling block with one rising mentioning METRC as a problem to take care of.

Plowing Forward

The actually unhappy a part of the report was all of the feedback of cultivators wanting out. With little constructive outlook and no thought when issues will get higher, many expressed the need to only quit.  37% stated that they’ve considered leaving the business however haven’t taken any steps to exit but. Some are persevering with to maintain plowing forward. The report stated, “Cultivators indicated intentions to buy soil (61%) and vitamins (73%) subsequent 6 months, however simply 32% have plans to purchase lighting.” Solely 18% of respondents described plans to lower cultivation within the subsequent 12 months in comparison with 35% planning to extend. 

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Nonetheless, in a typical investor philosophy, a correction can in the end be factor. If numerous cultivators go away the business, that may ultimately result in much less provide and better costs. But, a correction like this could take a very long time to trickle down, and within the meantime, there may be little constructive to level to.

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