The Swedish oat milk company raised $1.4 billion in the New York IPO. The company started by making the first plant-based milk with higher nutritional value and lesser impact on the environment. The shares started at $17 and rose to $21.30 in the IPO.
As per the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, the combined stakes of Rickard Oste and his brother Bjorn Oste, the co-founders of the Malmo-based company, amount to $562 million. The company is presently at a$12.5 billion valuation.
Rickard – a food chemistry professor, spent his time researching products that can substitute “milk” to aid lactose intolerance. Along with his fellow scientists, he developed a prototype of the oat milk substitute in the mid-90. Later, Bjorn joined the venture in 1997.
They launched the product in 2001 through several partnerships by the name “Oatly.” The company grew at a steady pace with fewer than 100 employees and loyal customers.
In 2012, the CEO: Toni Petersson, worked on the company’s image, which gained popularity by building focus on the environmental impact. The company initially marketed the products only in the US, but it has its presence in over 20 countries. Oatly retails in 60,000 stores and over 32,000 coffee shops today. The company has expanded the product range to yogurt and ice cream also.
The shareholding capacity of Blackstone Group Inc. is around 7%. The Belgium-based investment firm Verlinvest SA and China Resources, a state-owned conglomerate, have 48% ownership of the company, making them the largest shareholders.
In an interview, Bjorn said, “The Company’s success was anything but certain, but that didn’t deter them.”
The celebrities like Oprah Winfrey, Jay-Z, Natalie Portman, and the investment firm Blackstone Group bought $200 million shares. The company soared in the stock market debut similar to the other plant-based food companies like vegan burger maker Beyond Meat.
The company has partners like Starbucks and the recently added partnership with e-commerce giant Alibaba in China.
The production factory – the company’s new venture will be in the UK in Peterborough in 2023. The unit’s production capacity is estimated to be up to 300 million liters of oat milk a year initially.
The company tweeted: “Our listing on Nasdaq (OTLY) will allow us to build the factories we need so there’s enough Oatly to go around and continue to create unique new plant-based products that help us turn the corner on climate change and keep this planet available for those of us yet to be born.”
According to the CEO of Oatly, the UK market is the most significant in Europe and has enormous potential for growth due to high customer traction.
According to research, there will be an increase in plant-based food options due to the potential allergies from dairy products and environmental impact. Nonetheless, the new company has intense competition from Nestlé’s pea-based milk under the Wunda brand and Unilever’s Ben & Jerry’s dairy-free ice cream range. As per the regulatory filings, the sales of Oatly have doubled to $421m, yet net loss in 2020 totaled $60.4 million, up from $35 million the previous year.