Alternative protein companies Oatly, Benson Hill initiate plans to go public

US – Oatly and Benson Hill, two prominent alternative protein companies, have kickstarted the processes of going public in a bid to raise more equity to fund future growth prospects.

Vegan milk firm Oatly said in a statement that it has commenced an initial public offering of 84,376,000 American Depositary Shares (ADSs), each representing one ordinary share offered by Oatly and certain selling shareholders.

According to a report by Food Ingredients First, the company which is backed by high-profile investors including Oprah Winfrey, Jay Z, and Starbucks head Howard Schultz could achieve a valuation of approximately US$10 billion as it commences its US public offering.

Oatly further revealed that it has also applied to list its ADSs on the Nasdaq Global Select Market under the ticker symbol “OTLY.”

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Oatly’s IPO comes amid increasing popularity for dairy-free milk as consumers shift preferences toward plant-based, nutritional products.

The oat drink company exclusively focuses on developing expertise around oats, deemed a global “power crop” with inherent properties suited for sustainability and human health.

Oatly says that its commitment to oats has resulted in core technical advancements that enabled the company to unlock the breadth of the dairy portfolio, including alternatives to milks, ice cream, yogurt, cooking creams and spreads.

In March, the vegan milk maker unveiled plans for one of the world’s largest plant-based dairy factories to be based in the UK. The plant is expected to produce 300 million liters of oat milk per year, rising to 450 million liters annually.

Benson Hill merges with SPAC

Meanwhile, US plant-tech company, Benson Hill is also warming up to going public in a deal that may see the agri-tech firm valued around US$2 billion, reports Food Ingredients First.

Unlike Oatly, Benson Hill has turned to special-purpose acquisition company (SPAC), Star Peak Corp II to bypass the traditional IPO process and gain a public listing.

Benson Hill is a food tech company unlocking the natural genetic diversity of plants with its cutting-edge food innovation engine, CropOS.

Its key strategy is to bring down costs of plant-based food, which is seen as one of the key challenges in the sector right now and is often cited as a barrier to scale-up and commercialization.

Plant-based sector IPO boom

Oatly and Benson Hill follows in the footsteps of other plant-based companies that have gone public such as alternative meat company Beyond Meat, which had its IPO in 2019, and Laird Superfood, which listed on the NYSE last year.

Meanwhile, Greek yogurt giant Chobani is reportedly considering going public this year, as is plant-based egg maker and cell-based meat developer Eat Just.

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