Monsanto must pay California man $80M in case tying weed killer to cancer – Fox News

A 70-year-old California man was awarded $80 million in damages over his claim that a weed killer caused his cancer.

A six-person jury in San Francisco returned the amount for Edwin Hardeman on Wednesday. The same jury previously found that Roundup-brand weed killer was a substantial factor in his non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

‘GAME OF THRONES’ STAR SOPHIE TURNER SAYS SHE’S ‘EXPERIMENTED’ WITH SEXUALITY: ‘I LOVE A SOUL, NOT A GENDER’

Agribusiness giant Monsanto is facing thousands of similar lawsuits nationwide. Monsanto said studies have established that the active ingredient in its widely used weed killer is safe.

A different jury in August awarded another man $289 million.

DeWayne Johnson, a groundskeeper at a San Francisco Bay Area school district, sprayed large quantities of the product, sold under the brand name Roundup, from a 50-gallon tank attached to a truck during gusty winds. He said the product would often cover his face, and one time, when a hose broke, his whole body was covered.

A judge later slashed the award to $78 million, and Monsanto has appealed.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Frank Miles is a reporter and editor covering geopolitics, military, crime, technology and sports for FoxNews.com. His email is Frank.Miles@foxnews.com.

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Bond yields spiral lower amid global growth gloom – Investing.com

© Reuters. Pedestrians walk pass an electronic board outside a brokerage in Tokyo© Reuters. Pedestrians walk pass an electronic board outside a brokerage in Tokyo

By Wayne Cole

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Asian share markets were painted red on Thursday as recession concerns sent bond yields spiraling lower across the globe, overwhelming central bank efforts to calm frayed nerves.

Sterling was also hit by another bout of Brexit blues after a round of votes in the U.K. parliament failed to produce any new plan to manage its divorce from the European Union.

A Reuters report that the United States and China had made progress in all areas in trade talks had little obvious impact since sticking points still remained and there was no definite timetable for a deal.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan slipped 0.3 percent, with South Korea down 0.7 percent and Shanghai blue chips slipping 0.3 percent.

Japan’s fell 1.7 percent. U.S. stocks could not escape the malaise with E-Mini futures for the off 0.5 percent.

Worries that the inversion of the U.S. Treasury curve signaled a future recession only deepened as 10-year yields fell to a fresh 15-month low at 2.34 percent.

“We think that the ongoing flattening, or outright inversion, of the curve is a bad sign for equities, as it usually has been in the past,” said Oliver Jones, markets economist at Capital Economics.

“Arguments that the yield curve is no longer a reliable indicator seem to resurface every time it inverts, only to

be subsequently proved wrong.”

The latest lunge lower was led by German bunds where 10-year yields dived deeper into negative territory after European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said a hike in interest rates could be further delayed.

Plans to mitigate the side-effects of negative interest rates could also be considered, suggesting the central bank was preparing for an extended period below zero.

That shift came hot on the heels of a dovish surprise on Wednesday from the Reserve Bank of New Zealand, which abandoned its neutral bias to say the next rate move would likely be down.

Yields in both New Zealand and neighbor Australia, quickly sank to record lows in response. [AUD/]

The RBNZ explicitly cited all the easing moves by other central banks as a reason for its turnaround since they had put unwanted upward pressure on the local dollar.

EASING GOES GLOBAL

That is one reason markets are wagering the Reserve Bank of Australia will also be forced to cut rates, simply to stop its currency from appreciating. Policy easing then becomes a self-fulfilling cycle across the world.

“The continued dovish shift by G7 central banks, ongoing support by the Chinese authorities, and the move by the RBNZ will keep pressure on the RBA to also move in the same direction, however reluctantly,” said Su-Lin Ong, head of Australian and New Zealand strategy at RBC Capital Markets.

“It is, essentially, a global policy cycle.”

The RBNZ’s action had the desired effect on its currency, which was pinned at $0.6786 after diving 1.6 percent overnight. The was on the defensive at $0.7078.

Draghi’s comments likewise tugged the euro back to $1.1245, and left the U.S. dollar firmer against a basket of its competitors at 96.909.

Only the yen held its own thanks to its safe-haven status and firmed to 110.20 per dollar.

Sterling had its own troubles as an offer by British Prime Minister Theresa May to quit to get her European Union deal through parliament failed, leaving uncertainty hanging over the Brexit process.

That left the pound down at $1.3170, having been as high as $1.3269 at one point on Wednesday.

In commodity markets, palladium was the focus of attention after sliding 7 percent on Wednesday as its meteoric rally finally ran into profit-taking. It was down 0.4 percent on Thursday.

Gold was relatively sedate at $1,308.37 per ounce. [GOL/]

Oil prices nursed modest losses after data showed inventories grew more than expected last week as a Texas chemical spill hampered exports. [O/R]

U.S. crude was last down 21 cents at $59.14 a barrel, while futures lost 21 cents to $67.62.

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New Jersey jury finds J&J not liable in talc cancer trial; company settles three other cases – One America News Network

Bottles of Johnson & Johnson baby powder line a drugstore shelf in New York
FILE PHOTO: Bottles of Johnson & Johnson baby powder line a drugstore shelf in New York October 15, 2015. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

March 28, 2019

By Tina Bellon

(Reuters) – A New Jersey jury on Wednesday cleared Johnson & Johnson of liability in a lawsuit brought by a man who said that asbestos in the company’s talcum powder products caused his mesothelioma.

The jury delivered its unanimous verdict in Middlesex County Superior Court in New Brunswick, just miles from J&J’s headquarters, in the case of plaintiff Ricardo Rimondi.

J&J, which faces some 13,000 talc-related lawsuits nationwide, denies that its talc causes cancer, saying numerous studies and tests by regulators worldwide have shown its talc to be safe and asbestos-free.

Johnson & Johnson on Wednesday also settled three other mesothelioma talc cases pending in state courts in California, Oklahoma and New York, Chris Panatier, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, told Reuters.

Panatier declined to provide further details, citing confidentiality agreements.

Addressing the settlements, J&J in a statement said, “there are one-off situations where settlement is reasonable.”

J&J said it stood by the safety of its talc and would continue to vigorously defend the safety of baby powder.

“We do not have any organized program to settle Johnson’s Baby Powder cases, nor are we planning a settlement program,” the company said.

Referring to the Rimondi verdict, J&J said the company’s track record in the talc litigation underscored “the decades of clinical evidence and scientific studies by medical experts around the world” supporting the safety of Johnson’s Baby Powder.

J&J shares, which had been down slightly, turned positive after the jury verdict was announced and closed up 13 cents at $138.70.

Lawyers for the 58-year old Rimondi could not be reached for comment.

Rimondi in 2016 was diagnosed with mesothelioma, a type of cancer that has been linked to asbestos exposure.

He and his wife sued J&J in 2017. They alleged that Rimondi’s lifetime exposure to Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower to Shower, another powder product containing talc sold by J&J in the past, caused his disease.

The jury returned its verdict in favor of the company after just half an hour of deliberations, according to a livestream of the proceedings by Courtroom View Network.

The healthcare conglomerate to date has faced 12 trials by plaintiffs claiming asbestos in talc caused their mesothelioma.

J&J has now been cleared of liability in four trials, with another five resulting in hung juries and mistrials. Three juries have found J&J liable, awarding a total of $172 million in damages. J&J is appealing those verdicts.

The majority of the 13,000 talc lawsuits against the company involve ovarian cancer claims. Juries in those cases have hit the company with verdicts as high as $4.69 billion.

Some of the ovarian cancer verdicts have been overturned on appeal on technical legal grounds, while the company’s other appeals are still pending.

“It remains true that of all the talc-related verdicts against Johnson & Johnson that have been through the appeals process, every one has been overturned,” the company said in its statement on Wednesday.

Plaintiffs’ lawyers have more recently focused on arguing that asbestos contamination in talc caused ovarian cancer and mesothelioma.

Reuters in December published a report detailing that the company knew that the talc in its raw and finished powders sometimes tested positive for small amounts of asbestos from the 1970s into the early 2000s – test results the company did not disclose to regulators or consumers.

J&J denies the findings of the Reuters report, which it describes as inaccurate and misleading. In emphasizing the safety of its baby powder, the company says that repeated tests of the powder never found asbestos and that it has cooperated fully and openly with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and other global regulators.

(Reporting by Tina Bellon in New York; Editing by Bill Berkrot and Noeleen Walder)

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Tesla changes return policy after Elon Musk’s contradictory tweets – The Verge

Tesla has changed its return policy after CEO Elon Musk tweeted contradictory statements about how it works. The company told The Verge that the change was already in the works on Wednesday in response to questions about the tweet. Buyers will now be able to return a car within seven days (or before 1,000 miles) for a full refund regardless of whether or not they have taken a test drive with the company, contrary to the language that was on the company’s website before Wednesday.

Musk tweeted Wednesday that customers can return one of Tesla’s cars after seven days for a full refund, regardless of whether they’ve gotten a test ride or demo from the company. That claim seemingly clashed with Tesla’s official return policy, though, which clearly stated that the policy of seven-day full refunds only applies to customers who “haven’t test driven the car.”

That changed Wednesday evening, though. Tesla told The Verge there had been a delay in the language being updated on the website. A new return policy was posted to Tesla’s website shortly after the publication of this article.

Tesla originally updated its return policy on February 28th as part of the company’s push to close stores and shift to an online-only sales model. Before that, Tesla’s “standard return period” was “one (1) calendar day after delivery” for people who had taken a test drive, or “three (3) calendar days after delivery” for people who hadn’t. But the company also did away with test drives when it announced the new online-only sales model, so it added four extra days to that second possible return scenario. “[W]e understand that you may want additional time to get to know your vehicle,” the company says on the website.

Sometime after the February 28th change — the company declined to say specifically when — Tesla decided to allow seven day (or 1,000-mile) returns regardless of whether customers got a test drive. It wasn’t until Wednesday evening that the official return policy was updated to reflect this.


The current return policy language that shows up on Tesla’s homepage.
Image: Tesla

Wednesday was the third time this month Musk tweeted information that didn’t seem to line up with Tesla’s return policy. On March 16th, Musk said “To be clear, orders are fully refundable, even after you’ve had your Tesla for a week.” Later that day, he added “If someone really wants to return the car in good faith on day 8, that’s fine.”

The first tweet is ambiguous. The second tweet is accurate, a Tesla spokesperson said, and the new return policy now allows for “[e]xtenuating circumstances” to be “evaluated on a case-by-case basis.”

All three tweets in question underscore the tension between Musk’s Twitter usage and the company.

Musk is well known for his liberal use of Twitter. He often responds to fans who have customer feedback, and makes changes on the fly to Tesla’s products.

But it’s also gotten him in serious trouble. Last August, Musk tweeted that he was “considering taking Tesla private” if the company’s stock got to a price of $420 per share, and that he had “funding secured” to pull off the move. He abandoned the idea three weeks later.

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) believed this constituted securities fraud because Tesla’s stock price went up on the news, and Musk’s tweet wasn’t accompanied by the proper notice required by Nasdaq rules. The SEC also found out Musk had no deal in place when he made the announcement. In September, it filed civil securities fraud charges against him.

Musk settled the charges, agreed to step down as chairman of Tesla, pay a $20 million fine, and have all public statements — tweets included — that could affect Tesla’s stock price (and its shareholders) vetted by a company lawyer. But he allegedly didn’t follow that last part, which is why the SEC recently tried to get him held in contempt of court for violating the settlement for a tweet posted in February.

Musk’s tweets about Tesla’s return policy seem to be the latest evidence that he hasn’t changed the way he uses Twitter. That’s apparently fine with Robyn Denholm, who replaced Musk as chairwoman of Tesla. “From my perspective, he uses [Twitter] wisely,” Denholm told Bloomberg today. “I don’t think he poses any challenges.”

Update March 27th, 9:14PM ET: Tesla updated the return policy language on its website after publication. This article has been updated to reflect that.

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Ford’s $500 Million Plan to Make Money in Russia – Motley Fool

Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) said that it has decided to stop selling passenger vehicles in Russia. Ford and its Russian joint-venture partner will restructure their deal, ending production at three factories in the country while continuing to produce commercial vans.

Of particular interest to Ford shareholders: Ford said that the moves will lead to a series of one-time charges that could total as much as $500 million.

Here’s what we know. 

The front entrance of Ford Sollers' assembly plant in Vsevolozhsk, Russia.

This factory near St. Petersburg builds Ford’s Focus and Mondeo sedans for Russian customers. Ford and its Russian joint-venture partner will soon close the factory and two others because of slow sales. Image source: Ford Motor Company.

What Ford said about its plan to shutter 3 Russian factories

Ford does business in Russia via a joint venture with Russian automaker Sollers PJSC. The joint venture, called Ford Sollers, offers Ford’s Fiesta, Focus, and Mondeo (Fusion) sedans; its EcoSport, Kuga (Escape) and Explorer SUVs; and several variants of Ford’s Transit commercial van. 

Simply put, today’s news is that the joint-venture partners have reworked their deal, all but the Transits will be discontinued in June, and three of the venture’s four factories will be closed. 

Sollers will own 51% of the joint venture as the partners focus on expanding sales of Ford’s commercial vehicles in Russia. 

Ford Europe chief Steven Armstrong framed the move as part of Ford’s larger plan to boost profitability in Europe. 

“This represents an important step toward Ford’s target to deliver improved profitability and a more competitive business for our stakeholders,” Armstrong said, noting that the focus on commercial vehicles should help Ford earn better returns on its invested capital.

About those one-time charges

Ford said that these moves will generate between $450 million and $500 million in one-time pre-tax charges. Those will include roughly $250 million to $300 million of “non-cash” accounting charges related to accelerated depreciation and amortization of Ford’s facilities and inventory in Russia. 

The remainder, roughly $200 million, will be cash charges related to separation payment for workers at the three factories slated to close, and termination payments due to suppliers of parts for the vehicles that have been discontinued. 

Most of these charges will be recorded in 2019, Ford said. 

Ford has said that its global restructuring effort will generate a total of about $11 billion in charges over the next few years, with about $7 billion of those charges being cash charges; these Russia-related charges are included in those totals. 

For Ford shareholders: Is this good news? 

Ford has been making moves around the world to cut less-profitable lines of business while investing in new products and businesses that had the potential to generate better margins over time. As part of that process, back in January, Ford said that it had begun a “strategic review” of its Russian business, with results to be announced in the second quarter of 2019.  

If anything, this review was overdue. Ford Sollers’ sales and profits have been under pressure for several years. New-car sales in Russia have been slow to recover after an economic downturn a few years ago, and the Russian consumers who are buying new vehicles have increasingly favored lower-priced — and less profitable — vehicle types. 

This isn’t the first time that Ford and Sollers have reworked their deal. About a thousand jobs were cut in 2014 after heavy losses, and Ford took control of the joint venture a year later, after rival General Motors (NYSE:GM) announced that it would exit the Russian market. 

But Ford’s nearly decade-old Russian joint venture hasn’t been worth the effort. Ford Sollers’ factories are still underutilized, and Ford has never come close to generating the returns it had expected on its invested capital. 

With sales of commercial vehicles the only bright spot in a picture that has been bleak for years, today’s announcement isn’t much of a surprise. In that sense, it’s good news for investors — as well as a reminder that Ford has more work to do around the world. 

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The World’s Largest Oil Company And Petrochemical Company Merge | OilPrice.com – OilPrice.com

The long awaited Saudi Aramco acquisition of Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC) is finally here.

With a statement to the press, Aramco CEO Amin Nasser reported that Aramco has acquired a 70 percent stake in SABIC, with an estimated value of $69.1 billion. Aramco’s CEO Nasser reiterated that the “deal is a major step in accelerating Saudi Aramco’s transformative downstream growth strategy”. 

Aramco has acquired the shares from the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF) for a share price of 123.39 riyals, which is a slight discount from SABIC’s closing price on Wednesday. Analysts have been positive about the closing price, based on the fact that the acquisition is seen as a strategic, long-term investment, especially given that SABIC is one of the most defensive, non-cyclical segments.

Still, there could be criticism as Aramco has been looking at a much bigger discount during its negotiations the PIF. Nasser stated also that Aramco and SABIC together will be creating a stronger and more robust business that can meet rising demand for energy and chemicals products globally.

PIF’s CEO Yasir Othman Al Rumayyan stated that the deal is a win-win-win transaction, looking at the positive effects for Aramco, SABIC and the PIF at the same time. For the PIF, the objectives has been to generate additional cash for the SWF to invest and generate higher yields than it currently was able to. The PIF, as the main investment fund of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, has been tasked to finance and support the ongoing economic diversification and liberalization of the Saudi economy, as indicated in Saudi Vision 2030 and the NIDLP.

Officially the deal is a real winner, looking at the positive effects following a merger between the world’s largest oil company and the world’s largest petrochemical company. With the acquisition Aramco will be able to reach its targets of increasing current refining capacity from 4.9 million bpd to 8-10 million bpd by 2030 much quicker. Of the latter 8-10 million bpd Aramco wants to convert 2-3 million into petrochemical products. Related: IMO2020: Can We Expect Extreme Price Shocks?

Still there is a long list of questions to be asked and answered. The first will be how to integrate SABIC’s Saudi and international business operations into Aramco, still largely a Saudi based and managed company. Without doubt Saudi Aramco’s managerial and technical standards and operations are top-class, several off them even better than most IOCs. The managerial changes currently ongoing inside of Aramco have propped up the company to become a major power player in- and outside the Kingdom. The situation within SABIC is different. The petrochemical giant is facing increased international pressure, but continues enjoy a strong position in Saudi markets and benefits from an active acquisition spree of the 1990s and 2000s. SABIC’s European and American based operations are up to speed, with its European subsidiary being a market leader. Inside of the Kingdom, SABIC’s historical position of being a leader, however, is under pressure, and some even state that without Saudi support, the company already would have faced major difficulties. Managerial issues are a challenge too and could possibly lead to conflicts or merger problems with its new mother company. Based on inside knowledge, Aramco will have to deal with a much more conservatively operated and managed new kid in the family.

A second question being asked at present is how the Aramco deal will be financed. Looking at the current cashflow of Aramco, the oil giant will not have a real problem to finance the deal, possibly taking part of the needed cash from the international financial markets. However, it is more likely that the deal will entail a spread financing arrangement in which Aramco will be able to pay over a prolonged period of time. This would also mean that the highly anticipated deal which was largely meant to generate additional cash inflows for the PIF is not as lucrative or effective as was expected by the media. With a long period of payments, the PIF’s cash influx is not going to be $69.1 billion in one go, but spread over years. This could mean that the SWF still needs to find additional funding sources for its national and international project acquisitions.

Mainstream analysis is again addressing the fact that the deal is being done to fund Crown Prince MBS’s Saudi Vision 2030. There are no clear indications at present that this is the case. The only option to push MBS’ dream forward much quicker is to fully finance the Aramco-SABIC deal by international debt. Even with several large bond issues, MBS will not generate $70 billion in one go.  Aramco’s management is also too conservative or prudent in its investments to take this route without caution. By entering the international capital markets, Aramco will be forced also to open up its books and present detailed financial statements to potential financial institutions. Related: A “Perfect Coup’’ Is Unfolding In Algeria

A possible other not yet addressed issue is the fact that with the SABIC acquisition, Aramco has become a fully integrated international oil company. By taking over SABIC operations worldwide Aramco also has not only increased its exposure globally to downstream but also to possible geopolitical issues or legal threats, such as NOPEC or the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA). By becoming a major downstream giant, Aramco has entered the premises of IOCs, traders and chemical producers worldwide. Competition will be fierce, demanding major changes within the SABIC operations worldwide and adjusting the upstream focus of Aramco with a bang. As stated by Aramco, it has appointed banks, such as JPMorgan Chase & Co., Morgan Stanley, Citigroup Inc., HSBC Holdings Plc and National Commercial Bank to manage a potential bond sale.

Finding enough appetite in the market for a Saudi bond sale is still an issue. Geopolitical risks and concerns about the internal stability of the Saudi royal family could decrease the appetite of major financial institutions. The Kingdom might be listed on several emerging markets indexes (FTSE/MSCI), but investment appetite is being constrained by the impact of the Khashoggi murder, increased volatility in oil markets and pressure on the position of the Crown Prince.

Some analysts are expecting the Aramco-SABIC merger to be a major step forward in the Aramco IPO. Looking at the need for financial reporting and opening up the books of Aramco, a full scale downstream IPO, including SABIC operations and assets can now be considered.

By Cyril Widdershoven for Oilprice.com

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Jaguar Land Rover hopes its future vehicles can help stop the spread of colds and the flu – USA TODAY

Can a car help combat the spread of colds and the flu?

That’s what Jaguar Land Rover is looking to find out with its future models.

The British company announced Wednesday that “the car of the future could help win the battle against superbugs.”

The cure?

The luxury auto manufacturer said in a statement it is looking to use a type of ultraviolet light technology (UV-C) like what the medical industry has been using for more than 70 years.

“The average motorist spends as much as 300 hours per year behind the wheel,” said Dr. Steve Iley, Jaguar Land Rover chief medical officer, in the statement. “There is a clear opportunity to better utilize cars for administering preventative healthcare.”

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This technology already is widely used to disinfect water, filter air and sterilize surfaces. Jaguar Land Rover believes it can be integrated into its cars to stop bacteria from surviving in the cars cabin.

According to the company, recent medical trials of the technology suggest the technology can cut four major drug-resistant superbugs, including MRSA, by up to 30 percent.

“In the colder months infections are spread more easily, it’s reassuring to know that in your car at least, you can be confident that harmful pathogens are being neutralized,” Iley said.

The company says it’s exploring “a wide range of driver and passenger wellbeing features as it works towards a self-driving future.”

While Iley said he believes cars can play “a part in preventative healthcare in an age of shared mobility,” a date for when the technology will be integrated in the cars was not included in the announcement.

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Cronos Group: Strong Growth Is Only Beginning – Seeking Alpha

With each major player in the cannabis space that reports financial results detailing performance figures for the first few months of recreational cannabis legalization in Canada, we have seen explosive sales growth, continued net losses, and a slew of moves made by managements aimed at setting up their respective firms for creating value in the long run. Cronos Group (CRON) has been no exception to this, and while the company’s activity in recent months may not be as great as some of its peers like Aurora Cannabis (ACB) or Canopy Growth (CGC), the firm is making some nice progress and is slated to accelerate toward capturing market share in the months to come.

Strong sales growth shouldn’t be ignored

In its latest quarter, which ended on December 31st of last year, Cronos was the beneficiary of Canada’s decision to legalize cannabis for recreational purposes. On October 17th of last year, recreational sales became legal, so the quarter ending last year was the first period for which we could get some idea as to the upside potential that could be generated by the firms in this space. For Cronos, like many of its peers, the upside was impressive.

During the fourth quarter of its 2018 fiscal year, Cronos reported net sales of C$5.60 million. This represents an increase of nearly 248% over the C$1.61 million the firm generated the same quarter a year earlier. As a result of these strong sales to end the year, net revenue for the company’s entire 2018 fiscal year came in at C$15.70 million. This compares to the C$4.08 million seen in 2017. Even though sales grew significantly, the ramping up of operations, combined with the firm’s inability to capture sufficient economies of scale (a typical problem for early-stage growth firms), resulted in net operating cash outflows for 2018 of C$9.74 million. This is nearly double the C$5.55 million in cash outflows the company experienced a year earlier.

As it grows, the management team at Cronos appears dedicated to a three-pronged strategy. On one hand, the firm intends to continue investing in its medical cannabis business, PeaceNaturals, while on the recreational side, they have two primary sets of operations: COVE and Spinach. COVE is aimed at the premium adult-use market (a space I believe is the most important for many firms to aim for long-term), while Spinach is dedicated to the mainstream adult-use market (i.e. cannabis for the masses).



Source: Cronos Group

While segmented information is sparse, we do have some idea as to the sales mix generated by Cronos during the quarter. Of the 1,040kg of cannabis sold during the fourth quarter, 775kg fell under the dried cannabis category. Not only did volumes rise 134% from the 331kg sold the same quarter of 2017, but prices managed to expand a bit as well. During the quarter, dried cannabis sold for C$5.45 per gram. This was up nicely from the C$4.38 per gram seen in the fourth quarter of 2017. What this demonstrates, to me, is impressive pricing power by management. The absence of pricing power would be disturbing because it could indicate either a weak competitive position, the existence of a market that’s much smaller than what has been estimated by analysts, or a mix of the two. This does not appear to be the case.

The rest of the cannabis sold during the quarter was in the form of cannabis oil. Volumes during this time frame actually exploded higher to the tune of 1,372%, but average sales price per gram plummeted from C$8.17 last year to C$5.08 this year. It appears that this change in price had a lot to do with Cronos absorbing some of the hit caused by excise taxes for its customers, which is a similar problem to what Aurora experienced, but in a space that supposedly has such strong demand, I can’t help but to feel like this explanation is weak.

Management is taking the right steps to achieve growth

As of the time of this writing, Cronos has 355,500 square feet of capacity in operation. This will allow, according to management, for the annualized growth of 40,150kg. At the C$5.39 per gram sales price Cronos reported for the fourth quarter, this works out to sales of up to C$216.41 million, but the company is well on its way to produce more than this. In the image below, for instance, you can see that if we include projects in progress, except for its NatuEra facility that is still in the planning stages, total capacity will eventually expand by 77,000kg per annum to 117,150kg.



Source: Cronos Group

This is fantastic growth, but the fact of the matter is that this is probably only the start of the upside the company can generate over time if analysts are correct regarding this industry’s prospects. In addition to the C$32.63 million in cash on hand that Cronos reported for the end of its 2018 fiscal year, the company closed its C$2.4 billion investment from Altria (MO) earlier this year. Today, Altria owns 45% of the stock in Cronos, plus the company has the right, through warrants, to acquire another 10% for C$1.4 billion. This alone will allow the firm the ability to grow rapidly whenever and wherever it wants.

Cronos did close that investment, but it’s not the only cash-generating move the firm made recently. Earlier this month, the company sold the 19% stake it owned in Whistler to Aurora for Aurora stock, then valued at C$24.7 million. The company later sold that stock for C$25.6 million on the open market (though I wish, for the sake of shareholders, it would have held the stock to further capture the upside prospects of one of its competitors). If certain performance metrics are achieved, the company could receive additional stock valued at C$7.6 million, giving it an expected return on its investment worth 8.7 times its initial investment.

Takeaway

Right now, Cronos is proving to shareholders that, like other players in the space, it can and is capturing upside created by a change in Canada’s cannabis laws. As the industry grows further, spurred in large part by the legalization of edibles later this year, prospects will improve considerably for Cronos and its peers. Now with a war chest of cash on its hands, the firm will be capable of reaching just about anywhere and everywhere that it wants, and so long as management is mindful to not use that cash recklessly, the firm will be in a nice position to deliver value to its shareholders in the long run.

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Disclosure: I/we have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.

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‘It says it in Mexican. We’re not in Mexico’: Man’s rant at California eatery caught on video – WGN TV Chicago

ANAHEIM, Calif. – A surveillance camera captured a customer’s racially-charged rant as he berated an employee over a sign that advertised a daily taco special in Spanish at a Mexican restaurant in Southern California.

The incident took place recently at Palapas Tacos in Anaheim, Calif. Juan Del Rio, the restaurant’s owner told KTLA on Wednesday that he thinks the man became upset over a sign in front of his business that advertises the different daily specials.

One of the daily specials is a Friday fish taco for $1.99. The unidentified customer tried to order the item on a different day and was surprised when he was charged more than that.

The confusion may have stemmed over a set of different signs advertising the daily specials inside and outside the restaurant. in the business, the menu lists the specials in English and Spanish, while a sign outside has it only in Spanish.

That is apparently what caused the man to become irate, according to Del Rio.

“That’s bull—-! It says it in Mexican. We’re not in Mexico, we’re in America,” the customer can be heard saying in the video. “This is America. Not Spanish.”

The outside sign has been up since the restaurant opened a few years ago, and this was the first time Del Rio realized it wasn’t bilingual.

The incident also marks the first time anyone has been upset over the fact that it is only in Spanish, he added.

In addition to berating the cashier, the customer also later threatened to call immigration officials on Del Rio, the owner said.

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