Top Stories
Top Stories

UPDATE 3-Beyond Meat sees sales more than doubling in 2019, shares jump 21%

Nivedita Balu and Tina Bellon

(Adds conf. call details, analyst comment, background)

June 6 (Reuters) - Beyond Meat Inc said it expects to more than double its revenue and report breakeven EBITDA this year, betting on the growing demand for plant-based meat substitutes, sending the burger maker's shares up over 21 percent.

The company, the U.S. purveyor of burgers and sausages made from plants, was able to capture a wide audience for its imitation meat patties and sausages that are made ingredients with pea proteins, coconut and canola oil.

The patties, a hit with consumers switching to a "flexitarian" diet, has a feel, smell and taste like real meat.

Beyond Meat's sales have increased five-fold since it began selling its flagship Beyond Burger in 2016. The company is expected to record revenue of $210 million in 2019, with break-even earnings, before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA).

Analysts on average were expecting full-year sales of $205 million, and a loss, before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization, of $10.28 million, according to Refinitiv IBES data.

"We are very conservative and view this as a floor," Chief Executive Officer Ethan Brown said on a conference call when asked about the revenue forecast. The company does not count customers that are using its products as a part of a testing project.

"As we are entering into additional test and distribution channels and take on new customers, those will be additive to our numbers," Brown said.

The company is also working on making its plant-based products cheaper than animal protein to capture more market share.

Beyond Meat, whose rivals include U.S.-based Impossible Foods, is likely to face increasing competition in the niche market as companies like Nestlé and Tyson Foods ready their own line of products.

"Beyond Meat, right now, does have the first mover advantage," said Megan Brantley, vice president of research at LikeFolio.

The California-based company said net loss widened to $6.6 million in the three months ended March 30, from $5.7 million a year earlier.

First-quarter net revenue came in at $40.2 million, an increase of 215%, the company said. Analysts had expected revenue of $38.9 million.

"Beyond Meat is in a business that could be absolutely incredible," John Gillin, an analyst with Stansberry Research, said. (Reporting by Nivedita Balu in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel)