Oprah Winfrey and Jay-Z backed Oatly files to go public in US

The Swedish company is an exclusive oat milk provider to Starbucks in the US and China

Web site screen grab of Oatly products. Oatly
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Oatly Group, the vegan food and drink maker that touts the sustainability of its products, filed for a US initial public offering as its losses and sales increase.

The Malmo, Sweden-based company in a filing Monday with the US Securities and Exchange Commission listed the size of the offering as $100 million, a placeholder that will change when it sets terms for the share sale. Its existing investors will also sell shares as part of the offering.

Oatly reported a $60m net loss on $421m revenue in 2020, compared with a loss of $36m on revenue of $204m the previous year, according to the filing.

Oatly, founded in 1994, said it’s the "world’s original and largest oat milk company." It also highlighted the sustainability of its products, as younger customer favour items with positive societal and environmental impact.

"A liter of Oatly product consumed in place of cow’s milk results in around 80 per cent less greenhouse gas emissions, 79 per cent less land usage and 60 per cent less energy consumption," the company said in its filing. The company said 92 per cent of generation Z and 90 per cent of millennials – customers less than 40 years old – would act in support of a “purposeful brand.”

Web site screen grab of Oatly products. Oatly

In July, Oatly secured $200m in new capital from investors led by Blackstone Group. The group also included celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey and Jay-Z, as well as former Starbucks founder Howard Schultz. The company was valued at about $2 billion in the round.

In February, Oatly had been exploring a US listing at a value of around $10bn, Bloomberg News reported.

Oatly was started by brothers Rickard and Bjorn Oste. Using technology based on research from Sweden’s Lund University, the company turns fiber-rich oats into liquid food.

Oat milk, which was essentially non-existent in the US before Oatly’s entrance, saw a 151 per cent jump in sales in dollar terms at retail outlets during the 52-week period ended March 13, according to NielsenIQ.

The plant-based dairy category as a whole rose 20 per cent during the same period. By sales, oat milk is the second-most popular option after almond milk.

The drink’s popularity has led to supply shortages in the US following a delay related to the coronavirus pandemic in the construction of a production facility, Bloomberg News reported last month.

Starbucks, which expanded the sale of Oatly products across its 15,000 US cafes on March 2, has said it’s dealing with temporary stock issues.

Oatly is an exclusive oat milk provider to Starbucks in the US and China. The company’s investors included Chinese conglomerate China Resources, Belgium-based private equity firm Verlinvest and Blackstone Group, among others, according to its filing.

Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan Chase and Credit Suisse are leading the offering. Oatly plans to list its shares on Nasdaq Global Select Market under the symbol OTLY.

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