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Blue Apron's sharply lower IPO price actually helps the company, says analyst

  • The IPO market "discovered a much better price for Blue Apron," IPO analyst Kathleen Smith tells CNBC.
  • "It needed this discount," she added.

Blue Apron's sharply lower IPO price actually helps the company on its first trading day, analyst Kathleen Smith told CNBC on Thursday.

The IPO market "discovered a much better price for Blue Apron. This will help the IPO trade well today. It needed this discount," Smith, a manager of IPO-focused exchange-traded funds at Renaissance Capital, said on "Squawk Box."

Smith spoke before the meal-kit delivery company opened on the New York Stock Exchange on Thursday, under the ticker symbol "APRN." It priced its initial public offering at $10 per share.

Blue Apron, which is the first U.S.small meal-kit business to go public, slashed its IPO range on Wednesday in an amended filing. It now expects to price the offering at between $10 and $11 a share, down from its original estimate of $15 to $17 a share.

The company's rivals include HelloFresh and Plated, which ship boxes to customer's doorsteps with raw ingredients needed to cook home meals. And Amazon, who already sells meal kits in some cities, is expected to shake up the industry after announcing plans earlier this month to buy Whole Foods.

(Source: Squawk Box)

Smith said Amazon's purchase of Whole Foods didn't help Blue Apron's IPO, but it wasn't the only factor that dampened the company's offering. "There's a lot of competition. With all these companies, there is tremendous competition," she said.

Blue Apron, which was founded five years ago, has never made a profit. But its revenue skyrocketed to $795.4 million last year, more than double its level in 2015.

Like other meal-kit companies, Blue Apron has spent a lot on marketing, which affected its latest quarter, Smith said. But "if you believe the home-kit meal delivery business is an important area of the economy, then Blue Apron is a leader," she said.

— The Associated Press and CNBC's Leslie Picker contributed to this report.

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