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Marijuana plants grow at the Aphria greenhouse in Leamington, Ont. on May 26, 2014.GEOFF ROBINS/Globe and Mail

Medical marijuana producer Aphria Inc. says its revenues surged in the fourth quarter of its fiscal year but its net loss nearly doubled as it expands in preparation for Canada legalizing recreational cannabis use in October.

The Leamington, Ont.-based company’s net loss nearly doubled to $5 million from $2.6 million in the prior year on higher compensation, costs associated with Aphria International and losses in its investment portfolio, partially offset by increased gross profit.

The company has been busy raising money and making acquisition deals, including its February purchase of B.C.-based Broken Coast Cannabis Inc., a transaction valued at more than $200-million in stock and cash.

Most recently, it said it plans to expand its cannabis business into South America and Jamaica by acquiring a subsidiary of Scythian Biosciences Inc. for an undisclosed price.

The company posted $12 million in revenues for the three months ended May 31. That’s up from $5.7 million a year ago and 17 per cent higher than the $10.3 million recorded in the third quarter.

The increase was driven by the inclusion of Broken Coast results for the full quarter and increased sales to medical patients, offset by its decision to discontinue wholesale sales to other licensed producers and lower cannabis oil sales to Broken Coast patients.

For the full year, Aphria said its net income increased seven-fold to $29.4 million or 18 cents per share, up from $4.2 million or four cents per share in 2017.

Annual revenues were $36.9 million, up from $20.4 million.

Aphria says its cash costs to produce dried cannabis improved by one cent to 95 cents per gram.

The company has expanded its global presence beyond Canada, the U.S. and Australia to include several countries in Europe and South America.

Its annual production capacity in Canada is expected to grow to 255,000 kilograms in January 2019, up from 35,000 kgs currently.

Analyzing the performance of marijuana company is tough because of accounting rules used in the agriculture industry that require companies to put a value on their pot plants before they are harvested, and approaches differ between producers on how to apply these guidelines.

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