Case Scenario – Aurora Cannabis Inc. Corporate Profile Aurora is one of the largest and fastest-growing cannabis companies in the world with a funded production capacity of over 500,000 kilograms per year. Since establishing the Companys very first facility in Mountain View County, Alberta, Aurora has demonstrated an unprecedented commitment to execution and growth. Today, Aurora has developed an expanding constellation of subsidiaries and strategic partnerships that provide differentiation through its broad global reach, high-yield production techniques, use of advanced technologies, and innovative product offering. With the increasing adoption of medical and adult-consumer use cannabis legalization globally, Aurora has embarked on an aggressive international expansion strategy that currently sees the Company with sales and operations in 24 countries around the world. Agility Aurora has outpaced its closest industry peers in terms of total registered patients and revenue, despite receiving its sales license 18 months later than the initial licensed group. While the cannabis industry remains in its early stages, by capitalizing rapidly on multiple opportunities, Aurora has quickly become one of the globally dominant companies in the sector. Innovation As the cannabis industry continues to evolve, Aurora continues to implement advanced technologies, create unique products, and research new concepts. This commitment includes the Companys state-of-the-art Sky Class facilities which leverage some of the worlds most technologically advanced cultivation technologies and clone transporters. Execution Having one of the industry's strongest balance sheets, Aurora has made several strategic investments that are well-integrated with the operational infrastructure of the Company. The value of these investments, which include both public and private companies, has increased significantly providing additional leverage for Aurora to continue to execute on further, accelerated growth opportunities. Capacity Expansion To supply the rapidly growing global medical cannabis markets and adult consumer-use market in Canada, Aurora is rapidly expanding production capacity. The Company currently has eleven facilities worldwide: eight in production and three under construction. At full capacity, Auroras network of facilities will be capable of producing over 500,000 kg per year of high-grade cannabis. Recent News Aurora is one of the worlds largest cannabis companies with operations in 25 countries and 17subsidiaries, including MedReleaf, CanvasRX, and CanniMed Therapeutics. It has invested in and formed strategic partnerships with brands including Choom Holdings Inc. and High Tide Inc. Page 4 of 16 Aurora has faced rocky times in recent months. Its chief corporate officer Cam Battley, often the public face of the company who was credited for much of its early success, abruptly stepped down in December. It said in November that it would immediately cease construction of its Aurora Nordic 2 facility in Denmark to save about $80 million, plus indefinitely defer completion of construction and commissioning at its Aurora Sun facility in Alberta to conserve $110 million. That news came as Aurora shares sank to a two-year low. Its stock has plummeted in value in recent months and often hovers between $2 and $4. The shares lost 14.4 cents or 5.2 percent to close at $2.66 on the Toronto Stock Exchange. The companys announcement comes just after Tilray Inc. announced on Tuesday the layoff of 10 percent of its workforce to cut costs. The company with a total headcount of about 1,443 said the move would help it better meet the needs of the industry and foster growth in 2020 and beyond.
QUESTION 1 Given the dramatic turn of fortunes at Aurora, it is obvious the company failed in implementing an effective strategic management process that would have guaranteed success. Say whether you agree or not and justify your position. (12 marks)
Following the fortunes of Tilray Inc and with knowledge of Aurora’s demise, how would you advise a Jamaican Cannabis company intent on pursuing a global strategy? (5 marks)
Aurora seemed to have stumbled significantly at a stage in the growth cycle common to many other businesses.
Identify the phase and explain why you think the company ran into financial difficulties.
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