Oatly shares soar 30 percent in their Nasdaq debut

Oatlys debut on the Nasdaq in New York happened Thursday ‑ and with success for the Malmø-based company and producer of oat-based drinks.

Shares of Oatly soared 30 percent on Thursday as investors jumped at the chance to take part in rapid changes in the food industry driven by consumer tastes shifting to plant-based products, so writes The New York times on the day of the debut.

The night before the company priced its value to about $10 billion. Shares were priced at $17, but at the opening they began trading at $22.12 under the ticker “OTLY.”

Oatly, which produces a milk substitute made from oats, has grown rapidly in the recent years. Its signature product is now sold in 60,000 retailers and over 32,000 coffee shops across more than 20 countries.

Oatly’s success exemplifies the growing demand for plant-based foods, but the first oat drink was launched long before dairy alternatives were fashionable. Oatly was founded in 1994 by Rickard Oste, a professor of food chemistry and nutrition at Lund’s Univerecity, and his brother Bjorn Oste. But it was only after the company appointed a new management team in 2012, led by entrepreneur Toni Petersson, that sales really began to take off. The brand has among others become known for its marketing and quirky packaging.

Oatly has four factories:  in Sweden, Holland and two in the United States, and another three planned or under construction in Singapore, China and UK.

Last July the company scored a $200 mio. investment  from a group led by private equity giant Blackstone, which included Oprah Winfrey, Natalie Portman, Jay-Z’s entertainment agency and former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz.

According to CNN the sales more than doubled from 2019 to hit $421.4 million last year, but the company also posted a loss of $60.4 million as it poured money into product development, new factories and marketing.

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