4 Things You Need to Know about Oatly, Which Just Went Public
Oat milk has been all the rage in recent years, quickly becoming the second most popular plant-based milk in the United States behind almond milk.
One of the leaders in that category, Oatly (NASDAQ: OTLY), just went public this week with a traditional IPO, with shares immediately surging out of the gates on Thursday after the offering priced at $17 on Wednesday evening.
Here are four things food investors need to know about the Swedish company.
What is Oatly?
Oatly is the largest oat milk company in the world, offering a wide variety of products including milks, ice cream, yogurt, and more. The company argues that its oat-based offerings can help combat climate change since plant-based dairy products have a lower carbon footprint than traditional animal-based alternatives. Oatly estimates that its products produce 80% less in greenhouse gas emissions, require 79% less land usage, and require 60% less energy consumption.
In terms of distribution, Oatly offers its products at roughly 60,000 retail locations and at over 32,000 coffee shops. The company entered the Chinese market in 2018 with specialty coffee and tea products and now has roughly 9,500 foodservice and retail points of sale.
Oatly is the clear leader in the category of alternative dairy products, enjoying a dominant 53% market share in its home market of Sweden. The company is also the top-selling brand in the oat category in the United States, United Kingdom, and Germany.
Strong revenue growth but widening losses
Sales are booming, with Oatly’s revenue more than doubling in 2020 to $421.4 million. The company is investing heavily in the business, leading to an operating loss of $47.1 million last year.
Losses widened last year, with Oatly posting a net loss of $60.4 million in 2020, compared to $35.6 million in red ink for 2019. Adjusted EBITDA was negative $32.3 million, similarly worse compared to negative $20.7 million in 2019.
Oatly’s largest existing shareholder is Nativus, which is a subsidiary of China Resources Verlinvest Health. Through all of its affiliated entities, China Resources Verlinvest Health is expected to wield 45.9% to 47.5% of all voting power (depending on whether or not the underwriters exercise the greenshoe option), giving it outsized influence in all matters related to corporate governance. That level of voting power narrowly falls short of majority control, which would require at least 50% voting power.
However, it’s worth noting that cofounders Rickard and Bjorn Oste control another 4.4% through an Oste Ventures entity that the brothers own. Management often votes in line with prominent shareholders, which could effectively mean public investors will have little to no say in how Oatly is run.
Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) is Oatly’s largest geographical segment, with the Americas coming in second. Asia is a bit smaller but growing rapidly.
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Oatly says that continued geographic expansion will be instrumental for future growth.
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