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

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.


Arab News recording exposes Nissan lawyer’s lie on IMF bailout for Lebanon

Updated 01 June 2020

Arab News recording exposes Nissan lawyer’s lie on IMF bailout for Lebanon

LONDON: Arab News has published the recording of an interview with a Nissan lawyer after he denied saying that a bailout of Lebanon by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) was linked to the extradition of fugitive tycoon Carlos Ghosn.

The former Nissan chairman fled to Beirut in December from Japan, where he faced charges of financial wrongdoing.

In a story published in Arab News Japan on Saturday, Sakher El Hachem, Nissan’s legal representative in Lebanon, said the multibillion-dollar IMF bailout was contingent on Ghosn being handed back to Japan. 

The lawyer said IMF support for Lebanon required Japan’s agreement. Lebanese officials had told him: “Japan will assist Lebanon if Ghosn gets extradited,” the lawyer said

“For Japan to agree on that they want the Lebanese authorities to extradite Ghosn, otherwise they won’t provide Lebanon with financial assistance. Japan is one of the IMF’s major contributors … if Japan vetoes Lebanon then the IMF won’t give Lebanon money, except after deporting Ghosn.”

On Sunday, El Hachem denied making the comments. “The only thing I told the newspaper was that there should have been a court hearing on April 30 in Lebanon, but it was postponed because of the pandemic,” he said. In response, Arab News published the recording of the interview, in which he can be clearly heard making the statements attributed to him. 

Japan issued an arrest warrant after Ghosn, 66, escaped house arrest and fled the country.