Oatly, the world’s largest oat milk company, will raise $1.4 billion in an initial public offering on May 20 on the Nasdaq stock exchange, capitalizing on a global surge in demand for its products.
Oatly priced its shares at $17 apiece ahead of the IPO, giving the company a valuation of nearly $10 billion. It will trade under the ticker symbol “OTLY.”
It’s the latest milestone in the rapid rise of oat milk, which is winning consumers — and famous investors like Oprah Winfrey — with the message that it’s healthier and more environmentally sustainable than cow’s milk. Once a niche product designed for people who were lactose intolerant, Oatly oat milk is now on the menu at Starbucks, in the grocery aisle at Target and sold online by Alibaba in China.
And Oatly, which is based in Malmo, Sweden, thinks oat milk has a lot more growth ahead. Global sales of plant-based dairy substitutes reached $18 billion in 2020, or just 3% of the $600 billion dairy industry, according to Euromonitor.
“The runway’s massive,” Oatly CEO Toni Petersson said Thursday during a conference call with media.
Like the flexitarians who have fueled the rise of plant-based meat alternatives — and the successful 2019 IPO of Beyond Meat — Oatly says more and more consumers are trying its oat-based drinks, yogurt and ice cream a try. In the last three months, between 35% to 40% of adults in the U.S., the United Kingdom, Germany, China and Sweden purchased plant-based milk alternatives, Oatly said.
Oat milk’s growth is surpassing other plant-based drinks. U.S. sales of oat milk jumped 131% over the last year, to $304 million, according to Nielsen. U.S. sales of soy milk, rice milk and coconut milk fell over the last year, while almond milk sales rose 9%.
Overall U.S. sales for dairy alternatives grew 15% to nearly $2.2 billion in the 52 weeks ending May 1, according to Nielsen. Almond milk held the largest share of those sales, at 68%. Oat milk was second with a 14% share and soy milk held an 8% share. Coconut milk and rice milk each had less than a 4% share.
In 2020, Oatly’s revenue more than doubled to $421.4 million. Petersson said Oatly took a hit from the closure of coffee shops due to the coronavirus, but surging grocery and e-commerce sales more than made up for that.
Oatly’s full year net loss widened to $60.4 million — from $35.6 million in 2019 — as it spent heavily on marketing and increasing production. Oatly currently has four manufacturing plants worldwide, with three more planned or under construction. Petersson said the IPO proceeds will be used to expand production capacity.
A total of 84.4 million Oatly shares were offered in Thursday’s IPO. Oatly offered just over 64 million shares, while some of the company’s shareholders offered the rest.