Vegan milk maker Oatly eyes $10bn stock market float

Suban Abdulla
·3 min read
Oat milk. Healthy vegan non-dairy organic drink with flakes
Appetite for plant-based alternatives has increased in recent years amid a surge in demand for environmentally friendly food and drinks. Photo: Getty

Swedish plant-based milk company Oatly has said it has begun work on a US stock market listing, which could value it at as much as $10bn (£7.2bn).

While Oatly did not specify how much cash it hopes to raise in its initial public offering (IPO), the $10bn valuation is more than the $2bn suggested in an investment round in July 2020.

The firm which has celebrity investors, such as Oprah, Jay-Z and Natalie Portman, raised $200m in investment last year. Products from the company which is backed by Blackstone are sold in over 20 countries.

Earlier this week, the Malmo-based group said that it had submitted a confidential filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

The IPO, which is subject to market review is expected to take place following the SEC's review, the company said.

Appetite for plant-based alternatives has increased in recent years amid a surge in demand for environmentally friendly food and drinks.

While the company hasn't released its sales figures for 2020 yet, the company which was founded in 1990 had revenues of about $200m in 2019 — roughly double that in 2018.

US investors have also invested in companies such as Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods, which opened the lane for vegan products to enter the mainstream league.

READ MORE: LVMH-backed group buys Birkenstock in €4bn deal

Vegan-meat pioneer, Beyond Meat (BYND) and Impossible Foods have both secured big deals with fast-food franchises such as McDonald's (MCD) and Burger King respectively.

Beyond Meat announced on Friday that it signed a three-year global contract with McDonald's and Yum! (YUM) brand companies, including KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell — further cementing the future of plant-based meat in the sector.

“We will combine the power of Beyond Meat’s rapid and relentless approach to innovation with the strength of McDonald’s global brand to introduce craveable, new plant-based menu items that consumers will love," Ethan Brown, founder and CEO of Beyond Meat said.

Plant-based options at fast-food chains, hospitality venues and grocery stores have become increasingly more popular, especially during the coronavirus pandemic, which prompted people to focus more on their health.

Shopping trends are also changing in the UK. In 2020, there were more than £1bn in sales of plant-based foods, with an estimated 13 million shoppers in the country opting for meat-free substitutes and alternative milk options.

In January 2021 nearly 600,000 people had taken part in Veganuary, which sees people give up animal products for one month. Despite the third national lockdown, this was an increase of the 400,000 or so people that took part in 2020.

Meanwhile, FTSE 100 (^FTSE) firm Unilever has said that expanding its vegan business is a high priority, the company's chief executive Alan Jope called plant-based alternatives an "inexorable trend."

Unilever (ULVR.L), which is behind brands such as Marmite and Hellman, plans to capitalise on the shift by increasing sales of plant-based foods to €1bn ($1.2bn, £867m) by 2027 — a five fold increase.

WATCH: Beyond Meat clinches deals with McDonald's, Yum! Brands