Beyond Meat raises $241 mn amid growing appetite for vegan food

The firm’s popular Beyond Burger, which uses beets to make it ‘bleed’, is sold in thousands of supermarkets and restaurants, including TGI Fridays. (Shutterstock)
Updated 02 May 2019
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Beyond Meat raises $241 mn amid growing appetite for vegan food

  • The California-based firm said it sold 9.625 million shares on the Nasdaq exchange at $25 each on Wednesday
  • The company has tapped into changing consumer appetites as growing numbers of people turn to plant-based meat alternatives

NEW YORK: Vegan burger upstart Beyond Meat, whose backers include Hollywood star Leonardo DiCaprio and Microsoft founder Bill Gates, has raised $241 million from its initial public offering, valuing the firm at about $1.5 billion as it surfs a wave of flexitarianism.
The California-based firm said it sold 9.625 million shares on the Nasdaq exchange at $25 each on Wednesday, at the top of its offer range. Reflecting strong investor demand, it had increased the offer price of its shares to $23-25 from $19-21.
The company has tapped into changing consumer appetites as growing numbers of people turn to plant-based meat alternatives, whether vegans who shun all animal products or flexitarians, who advocate moderate consumption of meat.
“We believe that consumer awareness of the perceived negative health, environmental and animal-welfare impacts of animal-based meat consumption has resulted in a surge in demand for viable plant-based protein alternatives,” it said in its prospectus.
The firm said it believed eating plant-based protein would “help address concerns related to human health, climate change, resource conservation and animal welfare” as it seeks to compete with the $1.4 trillion global meat industry.
Despite the popularity of its signature Beyond Burger and other products, Beyond Meat is still not profitable and recorded a net loss of $30 million in 2018, according to its most recent financial records released Monday.
But it has seen strong growth, with $88 million in sales in 2018, compared with $33 million in 2017 and $16 million in 2016.
“We have a history of losses, and we may be unable to achieve or sustain profitability,” the firm cautioned in its filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
The group said it would use the funds raised to “expand our marketing channels, invest in our distribution and manufacturing facilities, hire additional employees and enhance our technology and production capabilities.”
Like fellow “veggie burger” maker Impossible Foods, Beyond Meat uses sophisticated technologies to replicate as closely as possible the taste, color, smell and texture of meat.
It uses peas, beans and soy to make steaks and sausages or replace minced meat in tacos and spaghetti bolognese.
The firm’s popular Beyond Burger, which uses beets to make it ‘bleed’, is sold in thousands of supermarkets and restaurants, including TGI Fridays.
Beyond’s rival Impossible, meanwhile, has linked up with Burger King to offer a vegan version of its signature Whopper. Nestle and Unilever are also aiming to expand their presence in the expanding sector.
Beside Gates and DiCaprio, its early backers include Twitter co-founders Biz Stone and Evan Williams, former McDonald’s director Don Thompson, meat giant Tyson Foods and the Humane Society.


Samsung shares rise as Huawei struggles

Updated 32 min 29 sec ago
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Samsung shares rise as Huawei struggles

  • Huawei has been rocked with promblems in the past weeks, including major revelations from tech giants
  • Samsung is the world’s biggest smartphone maker which has been facing increasing competition from its Chinese rival

SEOUL: Shares in Samsung Electronics climbed nearly three percent Tuesday on the back of its chief rival Huawei’s mounting problems, including a decision by Google to sever ties with the Chinese mobile phone maker.
It is the latest in the months-long saga between Huawei and the United States analysts warn could see Chinese semiconductor demand fall, threatening a nascent Asian recovery in the industry.
US Internet giant Google, whose Android mobile operating system powers most of the world’s smartphones, said this week it is cutting ties with Huawei to comply with an executive order issued by President Donald Trump.
The move could have dramatic implications for Huawei smartphone users, as the firm will no longer have access to Google’s proprietary services — which include the Gmail and Google Maps apps.
Investors bet Huawei’s loss could benefit Samsung, the world’s biggest smartphone maker which has been facing increasing competition from its Chinese rival, sending its shares up 2.7 percent at closing on Tuesday.
Analysts say the US ban will damage Huawei’s ability to sell phones outside China, offering Samsung a chance to consolidate its position at the top of the global market.
“If you are in Europe or China and couldn’t use Google map or any Android services with a Huawei smartphone, would you buy one?” MS Hwang, an analyst at Samsung Securities, told Bloomberg News, adding: “Wouldn’t you buy a Samsung smartphone instead?“
Samsung accounted for 23.1 percent of global smartphone sales in the first quarter of this year, according to industry tracker International Data Corporation, while Huawei had 19.0 percent.
But Huawei’s troubles may be a double-edged sword for Samsung — also the world’s biggest chipmaker — if it leads to a plunge in demand for semiconductors.
China dominates purchases from Asian chip makers and bought 51 percent of their shipments in 2017, Bloomberg reported citing a Citigroup analysis. Including Hong Kong, it accounted for 69 percent of South Korea’s chip production.
“In our view, China’s restocking efforts for electronic goods will likely weaken and be delayed if the tensions and the ban stay longer, which likely will hurt overall demand,” the report said.
Last week, Trump declared a “national emergency” empowering him to blacklist companies seen as “an unacceptable risk to the national security of the United States” — a move analysts said was clearly aimed at Huawei.
The US Commerce Department announced a ban on American companies selling or transferring US technology to Huawei, with a 90-day reprieve by allowing temporary licenses.