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Better Growth Stock: Canopy Growth vs. Tilray Brands

Motley Fool - Wed Dec 20, 2023

The cannabis industry is full of risk but also full of opportunities. Globally, the pot market is expanding at an impressive compound annual growth rate of 34%, according to Fortune Business Insights. Analysts project that by the end of the decade, the cannabis market could be worth more than $444 billion (compared with $57 billion in 2023).

With such promising growth prospects, it's easy to get caught up in the excitement surrounding those opportunities. Two of the top cannabis stocks on the Nasdaq today are Canopy Growth (NASDAQ: CGC) and Tilray Brands (NASDAQ: TLRY). Here's a look at which one of these marijuana investments could make for the better growth stock.

The case for Canopy Growth

Canopy Growth's focus over the years has been the U.S. pot market. And even though it isn't able to enter the market today, it has been taking steps to ready itself should legalization in the U.S. take place. Canopy Growth has been scaling back on its Canadian operations to reduce its expenses and footprint. It's getting smaller in preparation for when it becomes much bigger. At the same time, it has been working on trying to find a way to house its U.S. interests in a special purpose vehicle, Canopy USA.

Although these moves don't do anything for the business today, they potentially set up Canopy Growth to be in a better position down the road. In the company's most recent quarter, Canopy Growth said that it was the third consecutive period in which its Canadian cannabis operations generated positive organic growth while also reducing expenses.

Meanwhile, during the past six months, the company's rate of cash burn has slowed. Cash used in operational activities totaled 227.3 million Canadian dollars ($170 million) versus CA$273.9 million in the prior-year period. Plus, with Canopy Growth getting rid of its sports drink business BioSteel, which it says was a cash-burning segment, that should further improve the company's rate of cash burn.

By improving its financials, including slowing its cash burn rate, Canopy Growth puts itself in a better financial position, which can help it pursue growth opportunities in the U.S. market if and when it eventually opens up.

The case for Tilray Brands

Rather than waiting for the U.S. cannabis market to open for business, Tilray Brands has been looking for ways to expand today. This includes acquiring U.S. beverage brands to help diversify its operations. Earlier this year, Tilray agreed to buy eight brands from beer giant Anheuser-Busch InBev. Through the acquisition, Tilray has become one of the top five craft brewers in the U.S.

Tilray has also been looking at opportunities in the European cannabis market. Tilray's medical products are available in more than 20 countries, including Portugal and Germany. In April, the company said that it was expanding its operations across the Czech Republic.

As Tilray has been focusing on expanding, it has also been posting encouraging results. For the period ended Aug. 31, the company increased its Canadian cannabis revenue and its international sales by 16.5% and 37%, respectively. It also claimed to have the top spot in the Canadian pot market, with market share of 13.4%. Its rate of quarterly cash burn has also improved, with Tilray using up just $15.8 million in cash from operating activities in the most recent period versus $46.3 million in the year-ago period.

Tilray is the clear winner

Both of these businesses are risky investments given they are still burning cash. But in terms of being a better growth stock, Tilray is hands down the superior option. The company is making diversification moves and is working on expanding into markets where there are opportunities for long-term growth. Canopy Growth's plan centers around a U.S. market that may not be legalized anytime soon. It's a much riskier strategy.

If you're choosing between these two pot stocks, Tilray Brands is the better option for growth-oriented investors.

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David Jagielski has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Nasdaq and Tilray Brands. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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