Friday 13th and listed foodtech

By Frank Buhagiar on Monday 16 October 2023

Friday 13th and listed foodtech
Image source: Friday 13th and listed foodtech
CommentaryFoodTech Investment

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

Anyone out there superstitious?  If so, how was Friday 13th October 2023 for you? Was it a day spent avoiding ladders, black cats and cracks in the pavement just to get through the week intact? No horror show to report then? Sadly, not the case for FFF’s listed foodtech space. 27 share price fallers, 17 risers (two non-movers) for the week ended Friday 13 October 2023.  Says it all. On the bright side, no more Friday 13ths left in 2023.  And almost a year to wait until the next one – 13 September 2024. Onwards and upwards then?  If only it were that simple. For nothing is ever that simple…

Take AgriForce Growing Systems (AGRI). Week ended Friday 6 October 2023, share price closed at a measly looking US$0.89 a share.  Fast forward one week and the plant-focused agtech’s stock was exchanging hands for US$2.97.  Takeover? Game-changing deal? Multi-million-dollar contract?  Nope.  A touch of spookiness at work?  Nope.  A 50-for-1 stock split, the culprit: “AgriFORCE Announces Reverse Stock Split for Nasdaq Compliance”. As the announcement goes on to say: “The reverse stock split is being implemented for the purpose of complying with the closing bid price requirement set forth in Nasdaq Listing Rule 5550(a)(2).” Well, the shares were trading below the all-important US$1 level the week before.

So, what does the stock split do to AGRI’s weekly share price performance? In old money, the share price gain would have been a whopping 234%.  Adjust for the stock split and the share price as at close of play on 6 October 2023 would have been US$5.65. Forget about a gain of 234%. More like a loss of 47%.  Stock split doesn’t explain the steep share price fall though. See, nothing is as simple as it seems…

Benson Hill, another complicated one.  Shares up 8.2% on the week.  Closer look reveals a flatlining share price for the first three days of the week.  All change on the fourth day. Thursday 12 October, the day when all the week’s gains were clocked. Also happened to be the day when the foodtechie provided an update on its strategic review: “Benson Hill Announces Strategic Review Update, Third Quarter Earnings Release Dates”. Shares up 12% on the day.  Some strategic review…

May well be but will have to wait and see to find out.  As the announcement goes on to say: “Benson Hill, Inc…, a food tech company unlocking the natural genetic diversity of plants, announced today that it expects to host a call on Tuesday, Oct. 31, 2023, at 11 a.m. Eastern Time, to provide an update on its strategic review process. The Company will also release its financial results for the third quarter ending Sept. 30, 2023, before the market opens on Thursday, Nov. 9, 2023…” A Halloween reveal for the strategic review. Management trying to send a spooky message to investors?  Still, not enough to explain the double-digit share price rise.  Investors expecting a decent set of Q3 numbers perhaps? Positions being taken ahead of the results on 9 November?

Speaking of 9 November, BHIL not the only company to reveal it will be releasing its Q3 results on that day. Oatly, another planning to report then: “Oatly to Report Third Quarter 2023 Financial Results on November 9, 2023”.  Now, if things were simple, Oatly shares would have been in demand on the back of the announcement, just as BHIL’s were. So, did Oatly shares post a handsome share price gain?  If only.  Shares in the oat drink co. ended the week down -6.67%.  Could it be the lack of an ongoing strategic review is behind Oatly shares not enjoying a pre-results bounce like BHIL?  Nah! That would just be too simple.