Beyond Meat shares surge 163% in Nasdaq debut

NEW YORK • Beyond Meat Inc went where no US company had gone in more than a decade as its shares nearly tripled in their first day of trading, as investors showed an appetite for the growing trend in plant-based diets.

The 163 per cent surge for the maker of vegan beef and sausage products was the best debut session of any US listing since 2008 among initial public offerings that raised at least US$200 million (S$273 million).

Backed by Hollywood star Leonardo DiCaprio and Microsoft founder Bill Gates, the California-based firm valued itself at about US$1.5 billion at its opening on the Nasdaq exchange. But its starting share price of US$25 soon sky-rocketed to US$65.75, before ending at US$59.43 - for a valuation of US$3.38 billion.

Founded in 2009, the company has tapped changing consumer appetites as growing numbers of people turn to plant-based meat alternatives, whether vegans who shun all animal products or flexitarians advocating moderate consumption of meat.

Its public offering comes a month after its rival Impossible linked up with Burger King to offer a plant-based version of its signature Whopper. Nestle and Unilever are also aiming to cement their presence in the expanding sector.

Beyond Meat's early trading success is further proof of the mainstream appeal of plant-based foods, said Good Food Institute director Bruce Friedrich.

BLOOMBERG, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 04, 2019, with the headline 'Beyond Meat shares surge 163% in Nasdaq debut'. Print Edition | Subscribe