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May 21, 2021

Oatly shares jump on market debut

Oatly, the Sweden-based maker of oat-based dairy alternatives, saw its share price climb after listing in the US.

By Dean Best

Shares in Oatly, which has attracted the financial backing of investors from rapper Jay-Z and ex-Starbucks boss Howard Schultz to private-equity firm Blackstone Group, closed at US$20.20 in their first day of trading, above the $17-a-share at which the company had set its IPO. At lunchtime New York time yesterday (20 May), Oatly’s shares had risen to $22.44.

Just over 64.6m of the shares were offered by Oatly, with the rest from unnamed investors. The business, which supplies around 20 global markets, including the UK, the US and Australia, will use the funds raised to pay off around $200m in debt, finance the company’s future growth and expansion, and for working capital.

In 2016, the Belgium-based private-equity firm Verlinvest and Chinese state-owned conglomerate China Resources took an undisclosed stake in Oatly via a new joint venture focused on health and consumer products.

Last summer, Oatly also sold a minority stake as part of a $200m financing round led by US-based private-equity firm Blackstone Group, with contributions from rapper Jay-Z’s entertainment company Roc Nation, celebrities Oprah Winfrey and Portman, former Starbucks chief Schultz, plus Rabo Corporate Investments, the investment arm of Rabobank.

In its financial year ended on 31 December, Oatly posted revenues of $421.4m, an increase of more than 100% on the previous 12 months, but recorded a loss of $60.4m due to investments in production and new markets, according to the IPO prospectus.

And last month, Oatly suggested it could also seek an IPO in Hong Kong.

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