Shares in Oatly have surged by 30% on the company’s US stock market debut, valuing the alt-milk maker at $13bn (£9.2bn), as investors bet runaway demand from consumers for plant-based food alternatives will continue.
Oatly is using the money from the initial public offering to expand its global network of factories, enabling it to quadruple production from 350m litres of oat milk a year to 1.4bn in two years. Its plans include a large site in Peterborough, East Anglia.
Toni Petersson, Oatly’s chief executive, said demand for its oat milk had “completely exploded” during the pandemic with the company currently experiencing “triple-digit growth on three continents”. The company’s sales doubled from $204m in 2019 to $421m last year, although losses widened from $35.6m to $60.4m.
“We currently have four factories and by the end of 2023 we’re going to have nine,” said Petersson of its plans after the Nasdaq listing. Production constraints meant that shops often sold out of cartons of Oatly before the weekend, he said: “Demand is no problem … it is our ability to supply that is the thing.”