Plant-based-burger maker Beyond Meat is set to begin trading as the latest disruptive, money-losing company this year

Courtesy of Beyond Meat

Beyond Meat, the decade-old plant-based-burger company, which also makes other meat-substitute products, priced shares for its initial public offering at the upper-end of its expected range, and is set to become the latest unprofitable and disruptive company to make a stock-market debut this year.

Shares will trade on the Nasdaq under the ticker BYND beginning on Thursday after pricing its shares at $US25 apiece, up from its prior range of $US19 to $US21.

Beyond Meat said it expects to issue 9.63 million shares, up from 8.75 million shares, in an amended filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The offering is expected to raise $US241 million in proceeds, per Bloomberg.

“We hope investors join us as we seek to become the first generation of humans to separate meat from animals, unlocking the next era in the American story of innovation, disruption, and growth,” CEO and founder Ethan Brown said in Beyond Meat’s S-1 filing last month.

The high-end of the company’s indicated price range places its market value at $US1.49 billion, up from a prior $US1.21 billion valuation.

Read more:
Beyond Meat raises the price range for its IPO

Beyond Meat faces fierce competition in the alternative-protein space, listing competitors as both plant-based meat makers – like Impossible Foods, Gardein, and Field Roast – and traditional animal-product companies like Cargill and Hormel. US meat-processing giant Tyson Foods said last week that it sold its 6.5% Beyond Meat stake as it looks to develop its own line of alternative-meat items.

Beyond Meat is also debuting as an unprofitable company, which is not all that uncommon for young firms aiming to ramp up growth. It has generated losses in each year since its 2009 founding, and its losses only slightly narrowed from 2017 to 2018.

The company lost $US29.9 million in 2018, $US30.4 million in 2017, and $US25.1 million in 2016 as it “invested in innovation and growth.” Meanwhile, its sales have grown mightily over the same time, with net revenue of $US16.2 million, $US32.6 million, and $US87.9 million in 2016, 2017, and 2018, respectively.

The debut comes amid a robust slate of initial public offerings this year.

Uber is expected to go public later this month and Slack is expected to debut by way of direct listing this summer. Lyft and Pinterest have already gone public this year.

In last month’s filing, Brown tried to make it clear that he was not calling for people to “consume less meat.”

“My own children enjoy more, rather than less, of their favourite meat occasions (sausage breakfasts, burger dinners) as I am comfortably aware that Beyond Meat products are free of cholesterol and other aspects of animal protein that preoccupy public health debate,” he said. “As we rush to keep up with consumer demand for our products, my guess is that many families are having the same experience.”

Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, and Credit Suisse are Beyond Meat’s lead underwriters.

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