Tilray Inc., the first, and thus far, the only cannabis company in North America to have done an IPO, saw its stock price soar 2.5 percent after the bell Monday after it said its cannabis sales for 2018 more than doubled from 2017.

But, as expected, Tilray did announce a net loss and a huge one at that.

In its fourth-quarter and full-year 2018 earnings, Tilray said fourth quarter revenues of $15.5 million boosted 2018 sales to $43.1 million, up 110 percent compared to 2017. Analysts had expected fourth-quarter sales of $14.1 million.

The company said the revenue surge was driven by bulk sales and by the legalization of pot in Canada on Oct. 17, 2018 that boosted sales and accelerated wholesale exports.

“Our team made significant progress on our long-term initiatives including increasing production capacity, expanding and strengthening strategic partnerships, and acquiring complementary businesses to accelerate our future growth and leadership position in medical and adult-use cannabis,” said Tilray CEO Brendan Kennedy.

Net loss for Q4 came at $31.0 million or US$0.33 per share compared to $3.0 million or US$0.04 per share for Q4 2017. The consensus estimate of analysts was for Tilray to post a net loss of $0.12 per share. That represents US$0.20 per share at the worst case and US$0.06 at the best. Tilray lost US$18.7 million ($0.20 per share) in the third quarter of 2018.

The company said the weight of cannabis and derivative products it produced increased nearly three-fold to 2,053 kg from 694 kg in Q4 2017.

After its IPO in July 2018 where it listed at the NASDAQ Composite, Tilray’s market value soared to $20 billion. It hit a 94 percent boost in a single day to a high of $300 in September. That gave it a market value of nearly $20 billion, on revenue of a mere $10 million.

Those heady days are over and Tilray is now worth $7 billion on $72.50 per share last Friday. Despite this huge comedown, Tilray remains the darling among cannabis stocks. And besides, most of its competition isn’t doing great, either.

Aurora Cannabis Inc. lost a massive US$178 million in its last quarter. Canopy Growth Corporation, another Canadian company that’s also the largest cannabis firm in the world, reported a modest profit in its last quarter, but only because the fair value of its senior convertible notes fell significantly.

Cannabis country Visitors pose in front of a flag similiar to the Canadian one but showing a cannabis plant instead of a maple leaf. Canabian cannabis firm Tilray, Inc. reported both huge revenues and losses for 2018. Photo: MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images

One reason for Tilray’s meager revenue is its paltry market share compared to Aurora and Canopy Growth. Canopy Growth controls 30 percent of Canada’s legal cannabis market (worth some US$230 million in Q4 2018) while Aurora commands 20 percent. Tilray’s share is a measly 4 percent.

The good news for Tilray is that its revenue is forecast to jump to $196 million in 2019 and double again to almost $400 million in 2020, according to estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Getting to these peaks, however, depends a lot on Tilray’s management and its expertise.

One analyst slammed Tilray for its “arguably inferior positioning in parts of its business” and it is a “struggle to justify the current valuation (of US$7billion).”