Shares of Beyond Meat Inc. should have taken a dive in after-hours trading as the company missed full-year and fourth-quarter estimates from Wall Street analysts.
Instead, the El Segundo-based company’s stock rose about 5% following the Feb. 25 earnings results, likely in response to two major brand partnerships the company announced concurrently with its financials.

The maker of plant-based meat substitutes reported net revenue of $406.8 million in 2020, a 36.6% jump from 2019. It posted a net loss of $52.8 million, or 85 cents a share, for the year. Analysts expected a loss of about 35 cents a share on net sales of $408.2 million.

For the fourth quarter, the company’s revenue totaled $101.9 million, up 3.5% compared to the same period the previous year. It also posted a net loss of $25.1 million, or 40 cents a share, compared to a net loss of $500,000, or 1 cent a share, in the fourth quarter of 2019. Analysts anticipated a loss of 13 cents a share on $103.2 million in quarterly revenue.

Chief Executive Ethan Brown in a statement pointed to a pandemic-related drop in foodservice demand that negatively impacted the company’s near-term profitability.

He added that his team will “continue to press forward with strategic investments in service of our future growth, including the build out of our production facilities in China and Europe, bolstering our research and development capabilities, amplifying our marketing voice, upgrading our IT infrastructure.”

Brown said he remained optimistic for Beyond Meat and the future of the industry.

“I truly believe that plant-based meat has reached a tipping point in terms of its cultural relevance and, critically, the fundamentals underpinning Beyond Meat’s long-term prospects remain robust, with important brand metrics such as household penetration, buyer rates, purchase frequency and repeat rates all registering another quarter of uninterrupted growth,” he said.

Beyond Meat, whose products are available at approximately 122,000 retail and foodservice outlets, also announced it will expand its collaboration with Louisville-based Yum Brands Inc. to co-create plant-based protein menu items for its KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell divisions over the next several years.

In addition, the company entered into a three-year agreement with McDonald’s Corp. to be its preferred patty supplier for the McPlant, a burger being tested in select McDonald’s markets globally. The company will also co-develop plant-based substitutes for chicken, pork and eggs for the fast-food giant.

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