Positively uplifting

By Frank Buhagiar on Monday 22 May 2023

Positively uplifting
Image source: Positively uplifting
CommentaryFoodTech Investment

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

Good to mix things up a bit, especially after the recent run of consecutive Food on the Moves reporting down weeks for FFF’s listed FoodTech space – more share price fallers than risers.  So, this week’s Food on the Move starts with a promise: to focus on the positives and nothing else.   First positive: the week ended 19 May 2023 saw one more share price riser compared to the previous week – 18 versus 17.  Second positive: three less share price fallers than a week earlier – 26 versus 29.  For the record, there were four non-movers.

Sticking to the positive theme, top performer with a 38% share price gain was MissFresh (MF). No news out from the Chinese online grocer.  In truth, hasn’t been for a while.  Or at least, not much if the website is anything to go by. Last accounts? Q3 2021 numbers. Last announcement? A Dec 2022 notification from Nasdaq after the share price breached the $1 minimum bid price.  Last SEC filing? To say the company will be late filing its accounts.  Searching for a positive here.  No news is good news will just have to do.

Moving swiftly on then.  Urban-gro (UGRO) shares were in demand – share price tacked on 20%.  Shares recovering some of the ground lost the previous week following the release of the AgTech’s Q1 numbers. At the time, Chairman and CEO Bradley Nattrass commented: “Our primary near-term corporate priority remains our focus on achieving positive Adjusted EBITDA as quickly as possible. While we continue to focus on increasing our business with the Fortune 50 and Fortune 500 clients with whom we currently work as well as signing new turnkey design-build contracts in the CEA space, we are also continuing to drive operational efficiencies. To that end, in the second quarter, we initiated a cost optimization strategy that so far has generated annualized savings of approximately $2 million, and we will continue to seek efficiencies where available. All combined, we are positioning the business for long-term profitable growth."

And Mr Nattrass appears to have backed up the talk with action.  Yahoo Finance covered Simply Wall Street article: “urban-gro Co-Founder Acquires 3.4% More Stock” which went on to say, “Even if it's not a huge purchase, we think it was good to see that Bradley Nattrass, the Co-Founder of urban-gro, Inc. (NASDAQ:UGRO) recently shelled out US$89k to buy stock, at US$1.49 per share.”  Shares finished the week at $1.69. Positive for Mr Nattrass at least.

Elsewhere, market gave the thumbs up to mealkit co. Blue Apron’s (APRN) “plans for a long-term operations and logistics relationship with FreshRealm, a leading provider of fresh meals to top retailers nationwide, that would see the business shift to an asset-light model. The companies have signed a non-binding letter of intent for up to $50 million payable to Blue Apron for the transfer of its operational infrastructure, as well as when transition, efficiency and product milestones are met.”

Linda Findley, APRN’s President and Chief Executive Officer, added: "We expect that this will allow us to focus all our efforts on providing even greater innovation and convenience to our customers as we remain at the forefront of culinary trends. We are confident that we can continue to deliver the same product our customers know and love, while increasing efficiency and accelerating our path to profitability."  Shares were marked up 23%.  Easy win for the positive camp.

Finally, Benson Hill (BHIL) continued to bask in the afterglow of its Q1 numbers.  Quick refresher: revenues up 104% year-over-year to approximately $135 million; gross profit of $9.5 million; 2023 adjusted EBITDA and free cash flow guidance raised.” Shares gained 20% during the week of the results (10 May) and added another 15% over the course of the week ended 19 May 2023. Shares in the plant biology and genetics foodtechie closed at $1.66, more than a third higher than BHIL’s pre-Q1 results level.  Unequivocal positive there. Could get used to this positive lark…