Economy

Oat milk producer Oatly takes the plunge on the stock exchange

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The Swedish company Oatly, which produces vegan food and beverages, was founded in the 1990s by the brothers Rickard and Björn Oste. Thanks to the trend towards vegan and vegetarian diets, sales are increasing – the company’s turnover almost doubled in 2019, to around 200 million dollars. Now Oatly has applied for its IPO in the USA, as the “Handelsblatt” reports.

The Malmö-based company focuses on milk substitute products without soy, including the well-known oat drinks, but also cream cheese, yoghurt and ice cream alternatives. For production, the group relies on a technology that was developed by Lund University to transform fiber-rich oats into liquid food.

Until 2012, Oatly was little known internationally. It was only with the new managing director Toni Petersson and his marketing strategy, which advertises sustainability without swinging the moral club, that Oatly also became a trend brand worldwide. In the past year alone, the company raised $ 200 million in financing from well-known investors such as Blackstone, Oprah Winfrey and Jay-Z. In that round of funding, the company was valued at $ 2 billion.

After the deal with the US investor Blackstone, however, there was harsh criticism and calls for a boycott against Oatly. The reason for this is that Blackstone is said to be linked to Trump fans and rainforest deforestation. Oatly justified this step by stating that the fight against climate change and sustainability sometimes also requires unpleasant decisions and that it is important to direct the focus of large capital flows towards sustainable concepts. The Blackstone affair scratched the company’s image, but never had an impact on sales.

The demand for alternatives to animal products continues to grow. The prospects for the vegan food and beverage manufacturer on the stock exchange are therefore good – Beyond Meat shares rose by 32 percent last year. There has long been speculation about the Oatlys IPO, which the company has now confirmed. However, before the listing takes place, the application will first be reviewed by the US Securities and Exchange Commission. The number of shares as well as the price range still have to be determined.

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