Time for a roll call

By Frank Buhagiar on Monday 25 September 2023

Time for a roll call
Image source: Time for a roll call

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

Audit checks.  Best practice to carry one out at regular intervals.  FFF’s listed foodtech space no exception.  For some time, the number of qualifying companies had stood at 48.  In recent weeks, however, eagle-eyed readers may have noticed the tally of share price risers/fallers/non-movers falling short at 46. Cue search for the missing two…

Former stock market darling, Boxed Inc one of the two absentees.   As reported by TechCrunch back in August, the online grocer, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in April, is a standalone business no more: “U.S.-based regional distributor MSG Distributors, Inc. announced this morning its acquisition of Boxed.com and ‘other intellectual property portfolios and affiliates’ in an all-cash transaction…” How much cash? According to TechCrunch, not very much: “The acquisition price was not disclosed, but it’s not likely a high-value deal for a company that had raised north of $318 million through its lifetime…”

As for what happens next: “MSG says it will continue to serve Boxed customers, vendors and brands following the acquisition…Going forward, MSG’s plan for Boxed.com is to continue to deliver to customers the brands they loved from the retailer, while also providing access to a catalog of new items and brands in the grocery and home goods space.” Boxed lives on it would seem, albeit not as a publicly-traded entity, at least for now...

One down, one to go - The Very Good Food Company, the other stock gone walkabout.   Back in February the plant-based foodie announced it would be ceasing operations and selling off assets.  By August, the stock had dropped off the radar completely.  Not a ‘very good’ ending there sadly…

Audit complete.  Attention turns back to the remaining 46 foodies – eight share price risers; 36 fallers; and two non-movers over the course of the week ended Friday 22 September 2023.  Unsurprising, given the Nasdaq was off 3.6%.   

Among the 36 losing ground this week, a number of fallen stars, including vertical farmers AppHarvest (-39%) and Local Bounti (-15%).  No news out from either.  Put the respective falls down to just part and parcel of life as a or near penny stock – wild swings on little or no volume. Thing is with a sub-$4m market cap, a couple more wild swings to the downside and AppHarvest could find itself dropping out of the FFF listed foodtech space altogether.    

At around $20 million, more of a buffer (at least in terms of market cap) for Local Bounti. Admittedly, not as much as there has been, considering the shares were trading at the $40 level in October 2022 – today they exchange hands for as little as $2.4 a pop. As CEO Anna Fabrega acknowledged at the time of LOCL’s Q2 results in August: “This is a pivotal time in Local Bounti's journey and it is incumbent upon us to grow and scale the business in the most efficient way possible. We believe we have the financial resources in place to achieve breakeven adjusted EBITDA by the end of 2024 or early 2025...” For now, Local Bounti added to the dreaded drop-out watch list.

And then there’s fellow vertical farmer Kalera.  Back in April, the stock received a Notice of Delisting from Nasdaq.  Today, the market cap is sub-$1 million. Officially, the share price is US$0.0005, a level that it has been stuck on for weeks.  Share price graph flatlining.  Volumes down to a trickle.  Neither are healthy signs.  AppHarvest, Local Bounti, Kalera - doesn’t bode well for the next audit check…