Beyond Meat turns its first profit, topping estimates, but shares sink

Key Points
  • Beyond Meat earnings topped estimates, and the company raised its revenue outlook for the year. 
  • The maker of plant-based burgers is facing increased competition from traditional food companies.
  • It continues to sign new deals, including one with McDonald's.
  • The company's lockup period will expire Tuesday.
Beyond Meat beats on earnings: $0.06 EPS vs. $0.03 expected
Beyond Meat beats on earnings: $0.06 EPS vs. $0.03 expected

Beyond Meat on Monday reported its first quarterly profit and topped analysts' expectations for its fiscal third-quarter earnings and revenue.

Despite the beat, shares of the company tanked as much as 15% in extended trading, before recouping about half of those losses. The stock, which has soared 321% since its initial public offering, closed Monday up 4.5%.

Here's what the company reported compared with what Wall Street was expecting, based on a survey of analysts by Refinitiv:

  • Earnings per share: 6 cents vs. 3 cents expected
  • Revenue: $92 million vs. $82.2 million expected

Beyond reported fiscal third-quarter net income of $4.1 million, or 6 cents per share, up from a loss of $9.3 million, or $1.45 per share, a year earlier. Analysts surveyed by Refinitiv were expected earnings of 3 cents per share.

Net sales rose 250% to $92 million, topping expectations of $82.2 million. The company saw sales grow across both its grocery and restaurant divisions, as its meatless meats drew in more customers and kept existing customers coming back.

Sales to restaurants and foodservice made up about 45% of Beyond's revenue for the quarter. Beyond, which reported $41.5 million in net sales for that side of the business, has continued to extend its restaurant partnerships. McDonald's, Yum Brands' KFC and Subway all announced tests during the third quarter.

Beyond CEO Ethan Brown told analysts that he has "every expectation" that the McDonald's test will result in continued work with the fast-food giant.

Despite increased competition, its grocery business saw net sales of $50.5 million during the busy summer grilling months. Brown said that the company has not seen any diminished grocery sales or shelf space as a result of new competition entering the space.

Impossible Foods, which is still privately held, began selling its meatless burgers in grocery stores in September and will continue making it available in more regions nationwide. Big Food companies and traditional meat producers have rolled out their own versions in grocery stores.

Brown addressed growing competition on the conference call. He told analysts that it would be "naive" to expect only one or two companies in the meat alternative industry and that Beyond has been preparing for competition for years. Brown compared the situation to Amazon's competition with retailers, saying that the entrance of large competitors would not crush Beyond's business.

"They're going to have to wrestle this from our hands," Brown said.

Brown said that Beyond is trying to become an international company. Recent hires, like Coca-Cola veteran and incoming chief marketing officer Stuart Kronauge and former Tesla executive and current Beyond chief operating officer Sanjay Shah, demonstrate its commitment to this goal.

The company is also trying to broaden its product line-up. Beyond is working on a meatless fresh chicken cutlet, but there is no timeline yet, according to Brown. It also will continue to work with nuggets and boneless wings, like those tested with KFC.

Beyond also raised its full year 2019 outlook for revenue. It now expects revenue in a range of $265 million to $275 million, up from a prior forecast of more than $240 million. The company also expects adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of $20 million for fiscal 2019.

The last time that Beyond reported its quarterly results, the company announced a surprise secondary share offering, sending its stock price on a downward spiral. On Monday afternoon, its shares were still up 321% since its initial public offering. Beyond's lockup period from its initial public offering expires Tuesday, allowing insiders to cash out even more shares.

"While we recognize short-term reactions to these milestones are often marked by heightened uncertainty, we believe that Beyond Meat is in a stronger position today than at any other time in its history," Executive Chairman Seth Goldman, who also co-founded Honest Tea, said on the conference call.

Greg Bohlen, one of Beyond's early investors, resigned from the board last Wednesday, according to regulatory filings. Beyond's board will shrink from 10 to nine seats, Goldman told analysts.

How the Beyond Meat burger is taking on the multibillion-dollar beef industry
How the Beyond Meat burger is taking on the beef industry