Bah! Humbug…

By Frank Buhagiar on Tuesday 3 January 2023

Bah! Humbug…
Image source: Bah! Humbug…
CommentaryFoodTech Investment

Food on the Move: FFF’s weekly roundup of listed FoodTech’s movers & shakers

After a one-week festive break, Food on the Move is back.  The question is, did Santa or Scrooge pay a visit to listed FoodTech while we were away?  Judging by the ratio of fallers to risers during the two-week period covering 16 December to 30 December, seems the spirit of the latter, Mr Ebenezer Scrooge, rather than Santa, prevailed - share price fallers outnumbered risers by a ratio of almost two to one.  In all, there were 29 fallers, 17 risers and three non-movers in FFF’s listed FoodTech space.  So much for the Santa Claus rally then.

Top performer over the two-week period with a 35% share price gain was Agrify (AGFY).  Shares in the cannabis solutions provider reacted positively to news that its US$8.7 million public offering successfully closed.  At US$0.333, the shares still have some way to go before they match the US$0.65 public offer price, let alone reach previous highs – on 9 December the shares were trading at US$0.92 – but hey progress is progress.

Elsewhere, Oatly posted a healthy-looking 28% gain.  Only news put out by the oat drink company over the two-week period was a partnership with Graduate Hotels.  According to the press release, “…guests, visitors, and nearby students at Graduate Hotels locations will be able to enjoy Oatly’s Barista Edition and Chocolate oatmilks in food and beverage outlets across the properties.” Oatly’s Mike Messersmith had this to say: “This is an exciting step in continuing to make Oatly a part of consumers’ everyday lives, bringing them plant-based options that are both better for the planet and incredibly delicious. We’re especially happy to broaden our footprint with a great partner like Graduate Hotels in some of the coolest college towns around.” Sounds cool.

AppHarvest shares added 21% after the vertical farmer announced the completion of a US$127 million sale-leaseback deal for its Berea indoor leafy greens farm.  The proceeds will cover the repayment of a US$30 million bridge loan from Mastronardi Produce as well as the first two years of prepaid rent at the Berea facility. CEO Jonathan Webb wrote: “The team is now focused on operations to ramp-up production and revenue from the four high-tech farms.” Green shoots of recovery at AppHarvest?

Among the fallers, Chinese duo Dada Nexus (DADA), the on-demand delivery and retail platform, and MissFresh (MF), the fresh-food retailer, gave up some of their recent strong gains, falling 11% and 25% respectively.  Both had been on a tear on the back of hopes that China’s relaxation of its zero-COVID policies could spur an uptick in business. Time for hopes to translate into hard numbers.  Until they do, the market might well be more Scrooge than Santa when it comes to further share price gains.  As Scrooge would say: “What right have you to be merry? What reason have you to be merry?”