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August 12, 2021

Oatly builds US presence with plans for third factory

Oatly's newest US plant is expected to come on-stream in 2023, along with eight others “around the world”.

Three months after making its Nasdaq stock-market debut, dairy-free milk producer Oatly is planning a third US manufacturing facility.

The Swedish business, the owner of the Oatmilk and Oatgurt brands, said the new 280,000 square-foot plant in Fort Worth, Texas, is due to come on-stream in 2023 and will have the capacity to churn out 150 million litres of oat-based milk a year. The investment amount has not been disclosed.

Oatly’s products entered the US in 2016 and two years later the Malmo-headquartered business announced the establishment of its first North American factory in Millville, New Jersey, followed by another in Ogden in the state of Utah.

The company said in a statement yesterday (11 August) it also plans to open eight more sites in unnamed locations “around the world” by 2023.

Its North American president Mike Messersmith said: “We’re excited to break ground on this factory in Fort Worth, which we believe will allow us to meet the growing demand for Oatly’s products and grow our positive impact on the planet. Every time someone decides to take their coffee with Oatmilk or have an Oatgurt for their afternoon snack, we believe they’re making a choice that’s healthier for them and the planet.”

More than 100 jobs are expected to be created in Texas once the new plant is operational. Oatly already has a presence in more than 20 countries, including the UK and Australia. Earlier this year, the company announced plans for a UK facility in Peterborough, eastern England, also due to come on board in 2023.

In March, Oatly revealed plans to service the Asian market with an agreement with Singapore firm Yeo Hiap Seng to build an inaugural plant on the island state, its first outside Europe and North America.

Oatly made its Nasdaq bow in May amid a speculated IPO valuation of US$10bn. However, the company came under criticism months later from Spruce Point Capital Management, a New York-based asset manager, which expressed a number of grievances, including a suggested overpriced valuation. Oatly disputed the claims.

In its prospectus to mark the IPO, Oatly had detailed revenues of just over $421m and an operating loss of $47m. Net income was reported as a $60.3m loss.

It was also revealed earlier in August Oatly had lost a trademark infringement case with UK-based Glebe Farm, with the High Court in London dismissing the Swedish firm’s claims.

Yesterday, Canada’s SunOpta announced plans to build an oat-milk production facility in Texas.

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