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Hydroponic Hardware Key to Tapping Long-Term Profits of Burgeoning Cannabis Market

CannabisNewsWire Editorial Coverage: The North American cannabis market continues to accelerate as Canada rockets towards the October 17 deadline for the nationwide legalization of recreational marijuana.

  • Hydroponic market trying to keep up with booming cannabis market set to exceed $25 billion by 2021.
  • Continued expansion of cannabis cultivation and demand for controllable production parameters are a boon to hydroponics industry.
  • Healthcare sector increasing demand for CBD from sources such as industrial hemp.
  • Regulatory reform throughout North America and Europe driving change in overall space.

The milestone legislation appears set to open the door wider for companies pursuing a position in the promising sector, including those consolidating vectors within the still highly fragmented hydroponics supply sector. The global hydroponic market alone was worth nearly $3.5 billion last year and is set to break $10 billion by 2023, maintaining a healthy 18.2 percent CAGR. Recently projected revenue growth to more than $30 million next year illustrates the lofty aspirations of hydroponics supplier Sugarmade, Inc. (OTC: SGMD) (SGMD Profile), a company that recently reported a sequential revenue increase of some 215 percent and a year-over-year revenue increase of approximately 228 percent for revenues of just under $3 million in the most recent quarter. Scotts Miracle-Gro Company (NYSE: SMG) is another one to watch in this space, with an already well-established presence and the recent announcement that the company will acquire general hydroponics equipment supplier Sunlight Supply, Inc., for $450 million. An acquisition may also benefit Aurora Cannabis, Inc. (OTC: ACBFF), which recently announced its procurement of MedReleaf. The huge announcement of an additional $4 billion investment in researcher, cultivator and seller of extracts/flowers Tilray, Inc. (NASDAQ: TLRY), by beer giant Constellation Brands, Inc., has been unmistakable “handwriting on the wall” to many investors that the cannabis industry is here to stay. And Canopy Growth Corporation (NYSE: CGC) has also been bitten by the sector consolidation bug, as evidenced by the company’s recent snapping up of premium cannabis lifestyle brand Hiku Brands Company Ltd.

Hydroponic Picks and Shovels

With the North American Marijuana Index up 33 percent over the last month and up nearly 550 percent over the last three years, it appears that this could be the front end of an ongoing boom that may have yet to even see its true heyday — something that could be triggered by the adoption of more widespread legislative reforms across several U.S. states, occurring in ways similar to California’s cannabis reforms.

It is a well-known investing adage that those who developed long-term success during California’s gold rush made their money not from mining claims but from selling the necessary accoutrements miners needed, such as picks and shovels. The same phenomenology holds true today during the ongoing green rush, with hardware manufacturers and suppliers of grow systems poised to reap the rich, long-term rewards of an industry that is still just getting off the ground in many respects. Leading cannabis sector analysts at ArcView recently detailed how the North American market saw sales growth of 33 percent last year and projected that the market will reach $25 billion a year by 2021, maintaining a CAGR of 28 percent.

Cannabis prohibition will most likely come to an end in the United States, just as it has in Canada, echoing what previously occurred with the end of alcohol prohibition. To many analysts in the sector today, the legalization question is not if but when. Savvy investors seem to understand the naked reality that humans have been consuming cannabis for likely well over ten thousand years, stretching back to the apparently widespread consumption of seeds and oils in China, where the first recorded medical uses of the plant occurred almost five thousand years ago. Little wonder that the cannabidiol (CBD) market is growing by leaps and bounds, as the infusion of CBD into healthcare products becomes more prevalent. The Brightfield Group recently projected faster-than-anticipated growth for the CBD market, with sales projected to reach $22 billion or more by 2022.

A Rollup Strategy in Hydro Hardware

Product and brand marketing outfit Sugarmade, Inc. (OTC: SGMD), whose brands include ZenHydro.com, CarryOutSupplies.com and BudLife Cannabis Storage Solutions, is currently focused on increasing revenues by repeating the success of the company’s past strategic moves, such as last year’s master market agreement with BizRight Hydroponics, a highly successful and rapidly growing manufacturer and distributor of intelligently designed hardware geared specifically for the needs of the cannabis cultivation sector. The company recently revealed that, as part of a growing emphasis on exploiting a “picks and shovels” rollup approach to the burgeoning cannabis sector, Sugarmade is in acquisition talks with multiple hydroponic supply companies having parallel competencies.

Sugarmade CEO Jimmy Chan explained in a recent shareholder Q&A that targeting home growers as well as smaller, profitable companies in the sector — companies that already have exceptional hardware offerings for professional cannabis processors and cultivators — is something that looks to be highly accretive. The strategy is quite simple, because while there is an explosion of new cannabis ventures in the market, few of these pioneering entrepreneurs of profitable operations possess access to public markets or equity-financed capital.

Branching Out into CBD and Industrial Hemp

Sugarmade’s revenue generation plan isn’t limited to relying on expanding North American markets either. The company was obviously happy to announce expansion into the European hydroponics supply market recently, through a sizeable order via Amazon UK. This announcement comes amid an ongoing shift for the company from a majority of hydroponic-related revenue growth occurring in California and other West Coast markets to more geographically dispersed growth throughout other U.S. states that are also seeing regulatory easing.

In addition, Sugarmade announced in late August that the company has committed to investing $1 million over the next 12 months in Hempistry, Inc., the privately held cultivator of an ultra-high CBD strain of industrial hemp (less than 0.3 percent THC), which has reserved 23,000 acres of prime Kentucky farmland for the task. Moreover, Chan has been made an advisor of Hempistry, and the company’s investment will be in the form of common shares, positioning SGMD shareholders quite well should a Hempistry IPO ever come to the fore. A cultivation supply agreement signed between the two companies is the icing on the cake and demonstrates to investors how such a rollup strategy also represents additive revenue growth that will magnify Sugarmade’s already robust top-line growth rate.

Sugarmade is already in formal acquisition negotiations with at least two companies in online and retail hydroponics, as well as other agricultural cultivation supplies, and the company has made a special filing with the SEC to formally address these acquisitive ambitions. Together with the industrial hemp and CBD initiative engaged in via the Hempistry investment, SGMD’s management team feels that shareholders are now well-positioned for considerable upside, as the company skillfully manages its aggressively planned growth rate and hones its focus more toward cultivation-related revenue sources.

Cannabis-Related Hydroponics — A Tricky Market

The retail market for hydroponics, generated by cannabis growers who are often highly knowledgeable about different types of grow equipment, is expected to become an increasingly contested arena in the coming years. For a disruption-minded brand marketing company such as Sugarmade, which is now one of the biggest publicly traded companies in cannabis-related hydroponics, the need to speak directly to consumers in a language they understand is readily apparent. The BizRight deal speaks volumes, given that BizRight has developed an impressive rapport with customers and partners over the last seven years, becoming one of the most trusted names today in world-class hydroponics.

Scotts Miracle-Gro Company (NYSE: SMG) had a strong quarter recently, with consumer purchases up 5.4 percent amid continued strength of the company’s core consumer lawn and garden products. The aforementioned acquisition of Sunlight Supply will reportedly bring the company’s Hawthorne Gardening segment up to an estimated $600 million a year in total sales, giving the company an impressive footprint across the general hydroponics supply market.

Aurora Cannabis, Inc. (OTC: ACBFF) is one of the biggest and fastest growing cannabis companies in the game today, with a currently funded capacity of nearly 950,000 pounds of product per year and an annual production target over 1.256 million pounds post-acquisition of Ontario-based MedReleaf. With a production footprint spanning nine Canadian and two European production facilities, Aurora is one of the most enviably positioned cultivators in the industry and has the scale necessary to ensure low production costs as well as consistently high yields. The MedReleaf acquisition brings even more high-yield cultivation technology firepower to the table.

Tilray, Inc. (NASDAQ: TLRY), which is focused on research, cultivation, production and distribution of medical cannabis and cannabinoids, has seen some impressive share price appreciation since the company’s IPO in July. The announcement in September that the company was granted DEA approval to import a cannabinoid study drug to the United States from Canada for use in a neurological movement disorder (essential tremor) study has really attracted a lot of investors to the company’s unique offerings and global reach. Tilray’s sophisticated array of full-spectrum and highly purified extracts deserves a second look from investors who may just be caught up in the hype and do not fully appreciate the company’s portfolio and value proposition.

Canopy Growth Corporation (NYSE: CGC) is riding high on a huge capital injection from Constellation Brands, which controls approximately 38 percent of the company post-expansion of this important strategic partnership, which has also served as something of a watershed moment for the cannabis industry. Canopy is wasting no time when it comes to exploiting this new muscle, recently announcing a multiyear supply and service agreement with Centric Health Corp. Canopy also recently announced that its Tweed Farms subsidiary received license amendments approving all remaining greenhouse space at its primary site, expanding Canopy’s total licensed grow footprint to an impressive 3.2 million square feet.

Lean, Mean, Green Machine

 Sugarmade has put together a straightforward revenue growth strategy that has been tried and tested in other markets. Successfully executing a rollup strategy in the highly fragmented hydroponics space will come down to the company’s ability to continue picking superb targets that will be genuinely accretive to shareholder value over the longer term and directly additive to the company’s already impressive top-line growth. The Hempistry investment, as well as further expansion into hydroponics supply, is a win-win for both target companies and investors alike.

For more information on Sugarmade, visit Sugarmade, Inc. (OTC: SGMD)

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