Oat Milk Maker's IPO Is Being Closely Watched

Analysts see Oatly IPO as a test of market's appetite for vegan food firms
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 19, 2021 6:50 PM CDT
Oat Milk Maker Prepares for Big IPO
Shelves of Oatly products in a Finnish supermarket.   (Wikipedia/Tiia Monto)

Milk alternatives are big business—and a Swedish oat milk maker's initial public offering is being seen as a big deal. Oatly's shares will start trading in New York on Thursday for between $15 and $17 each, which values the vegan food and drink maker at around $10 billion, Bloomberg reports. The IPO is coming at a volatile time for the stock market, but interest is strong: Seeking Alpha reports that analyst firm Hedgeye said earlier this week that Oatly, whose celebrity backers include Oprah Winfrey and Jay-Z, "could become the next great global consumer-products company."

Hedgeye compared Oatly to "great consumer growth stories" of recent decades like Chipolte and Under Armour. But while the company's sales have soared along with the popularity of oat milk in recent years, its losses have also increased, to $60.4 million in 2020, up from $35.6 million the previous year, the Wall Street Journal reports. Analysts tell Bloomberg that the IPO will be seen as a test of how confident investors are the potential of an increasingly crowded market for dairy alternatives and other vegan products. In its IPO filing, the company highlighted environmental issues, describing itself as an organization " dedicated to improving the lives of individuals and the well-being of the planet through the push for a more sustainable food system." (Read more IPO stories.)

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