Analysts’ Caution in Beyond Meat Ignored Over Euro-Pact

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Beyond Meat Inc. (NASDAQ: BYND) has seen its post-IPO quiet period come to an end, so analysts at its underwriting firms may begin coverage. The stock traded up after the expiration, but corporate news appears to be the culprit rather than on any great overall analyst views calling for much upside.

The corporate news driving shares higher is that Beyond Meat is now set to make products for the Europe markets at a Dutch facility. Specifically, the company has entered into a partnership with Zandbergen World’s Finest Meat to produce its plant-based products there starting in 2020.

Recall that Beyond Meat’s initial public offering was to include 9.625 million shares at $25 apiece. But it opened at roughly $46 and traded as high as the $70s to end its first day of trading with a $3.7 billion market cap.

Merrill Lynch has started Beyond Meat at Neutral with an $85 price objective. The firm’s Bryan Spillane is optimistic about the growth prospects, with such a large addressable market in the $270 billion U.S. and $1.4 trillion global meat industry. Yet, being up over 200% since its IPO and being valued at 16 times expected 2020 revenue is too rich for a Buy rating. While its high-priced meat alternative to traditional meat is a risk, so is a wave of competitors flooding the market and the company’s own ability to keep its production pace up with demand.

Credit Suisse started it with a Neutral rating and a $70 price target, noting that the company should be able to grow sales to $2.5 billion over the next 10 years and that it should maintain leadership of the plant-based fresh meat category as it carves into a big portion of the U.S. meat industry. These will be supported by its research and development capabilities, strong branding and having early inroads with top restaurants and grocers that give it a head start over the coming competition.

Other specific analyst coverage also seen:

  • Goldman Sachs started Beyond Meat with a Neutral rating and a $67 price target.
  • Jefferies started coverage at Hold with an $85 target price.
  • JPMorgan started it with an Overweight rating and a $97 target price.
  • William Blair started it as Market Perform.

Shortly before the noon hour, Beyond Meat was trading up 7.9% at $85.90 with more than 3.3 million shares traded. Its market cap is $4.9 billion at the current price, and the post-IPO range is $45.00 to $96.79.


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