Beyond Meat earnings: Shares rise, then fall, on mixed results

There was plenty of bite in Beyond Meat Inc.’s quarterly sales.

Beyond Meat’s BYND, -5.66% shares were initially up 6% in after-hours trading Thursday after the maker of plant-based products reported fourth-quarter earnings that blew past Wall Street revenue estimates but reported a money-losing quarter that dragged the stock down 8%.

The El Segundo, Calif.-based company said it lost $452,000, or 1 cent a share, in the quarter, compared with a loss of $7.5 million, or 18 cents a share, in the year-ago quarter. Revenue soared 212% to $98.5 million from $31.5 million a year ago.

Analysts surveyed by FactSet had expected net income of 1 cent a share on sales of $81.2 million.

The fourth-quarter loss followed Beyond Meat’s first profit in the third quarter.

“Temporary disruptions related to capacity expansion projects at two co-manufacturing partners’ plants partially offset the year-over-year improvements in gross margin in the fourth quarter of 2019 and contributed to the sequential decline in gross margin relative to the third quarter of 2019,” Beyond Meat said in a statement announcing its results.

Beyond Meat hopes to open production facilities in Europe and Asia to make its meat alternatives by the end of the year, should the coronavirus subside.

Adding to the volatility of the market’s reaction Thursday was Executive Chairman Seth Goldman’s announcement during a conference call that he would be stepping down from his role, effective immediately, and assuming the position of non-executive chairman.

The earnings report came a day after Beyond Meat said it was teaming with Starbucks Corp. SBUX, -2.95% to sell breakfast sandwiches with Beyond Meat sausage patties. The sandwiches go on sale March 3 in about 1,500 stores in Canada. In late January, Restaurant Brands International Inc. QSR, -2.53% subsidiary Tim Hortons stopped selling Beyond Meat products at its shops in Ontario and British Columbia, according to a Bloomberg News report. The chain started selling the plant-based products across Canada in June but scaled back the offerings to Ontario and B.C. in September, according to Bloomberg.

Shares of Beyond Meat, which went public May 2, 2019, are up 40.4% this year, while the broader S&P 500 index SPX, -4.42% has declined 7.8% year to date.