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May 16, 2019

Eggless egg-maker Just Inc. considers IPO after Beyond Meat success

'There's clearly an appetite among investors': Beyond Meat surges in market debut

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In the wake of Beyond Meat Inc.’s (BYND.O) wildly successful initial public offering, fellow plant-based protein producer Just Inc. is also weighing when to go public.

“At some point, we’ll enter the public markets,” Chief Executive Officer Josh Tetrick said during a phone interview from Hangzhou, China. “No timeline for it, but at some point we’ll do it. We’ll see that as a financing event.”

Consumer interest in plant-based proteins and meat alternatives has exploded this year, led by companies like Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods Inc., which is providing Burger King with the patties for its new Impossible Whopper. A growing number of diners are demanding meat-free protein, which is seen as healthier and more sustainable.

Beyond Meat, which sells a new plant-based sausage in grocery stores and at Tim Hortons restaurants, has almost quadrupled in value since it priced shares May 1. It had the best market debut for a U.S. listing of at least US$200 million since before the financial crisis in 2008, with the stock surging from its initial price of US$25 to more than US$90 on Thursday.

‘Great Thing’

Beyond Meat’s IPO was “a great thing,” Tetrick said. “When we raise capital, it attracts investors to the space, and when others have really successful IPOs, like Beyond Meat did, it brings more attention to everyone.”

Just, a US$1 billion enterprise previously known as Hampton Creek, introduced a liquid egg substitute last year that’s made with mung beans. It’s sold in restaurants and grocery stores across the U.S. and just entered the Chinese market as well. The company also produces plant-based mayonnaise and cookie dough, among other products.

While North America will be a key market, China will start producing the bulk of the San Francisco-based company’s revenue in the next two to three years, Tetrick said. Other big targets for the product will be India and Europe.

“We’re going to push it all over the world,” he said.

--With assistance from Deena Shanker.

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