Beyond Meat Inc. shares fell on Friday, after the plant-based food company issued a revenue warning, announced a fresh round of job cuts, and fired an executive who allegedly bit a man’s nose.
“While the company continues to review the drivers behind recent performance, the company believes it has been negatively impacted by ongoing softness in the plant-based meat category overall, especially in the refrigerated subsegment, and by the impact of increased competition,” Beyond Meat said in a statement.
Inflation is also to blame, it said, “as consumers trade down into cheaper forms of protein, including animal meat.”
Cowen analysts said the warning is not surprising given the softening of the plant-based meat trends and Beyond Meat’s rapid cash burn.
“However, given it is dealing not only with operational but demand issues, we do not believe Beyond Meat has even near-term sightlines,” analysts Brian Holland and Jacob Henry wrote in a note to clients. “Net, we don’t view today’s actions as an inflection and anticipate more pain before the business can stabilize, if ever.”
Cowen rates the stock at market perform and has a $15 stock price target that’s 7.6% above its current price.
The company also said it’s former Chief Operating Officer Douglas W. Ramsey is leaving the company with immediate effect. The announcement came in a regulatory filing, that noted Ramsey had been suspended in September.
The suspension came after Ramsey allegedly bit a man’s nose during an altercation in Arkansas, as MarketWatch previously reported. Ramsey was arrested in September and charged with third-degree battery and “terroristic threatening.”
According to television station KNWA in Fayetteville, Ark., the altercation occurred in a parking garage close to the University of Arkansas’ Razorback Stadium, following a college football game between the university and Missouri State. Ramsey came to Beyond Meat from Tyson Foods Inc. in December.
Jonathan Nelson, senior vice president of manufacturing operations, who was put in place to oversee operational activities on an interim basis, is now in that role on a permanent basis, said the filing.
Nelson’s base salary will rise to $355,000 effective Oct. 13 and he will have a bonus target of 40% of that salary, along with a restricted stock unit award of $250,000. s
Beyond Meat cut its third-quarter and full-year revenue forecasts and announced a strategic shift aimed at achieving positive cash flow operations.
The company said the job cuts account for about 19% of its total global workforce. It will book a roughly $4 million one-time cash charge in the third quarter to cover the cuts.
The company is now expecting third-quarter revenue of about $82 million, down 23% from the year-earlier period and below the FactSet consensus of $113.6 million.
For the full year, it expects revenue to range from $400 million to $425 million, down from prior guidance of $470 million to $520 million. The FactSet consensus is for $481.0 million.
The cost cuts are expected to deliver savings of about $39 million over the next year.
“Beyond Meat had little choice but to streamline operations in effort to control the rate of cash burn that on average has been more than $100 million per quarter since its $1 billion convertible in the first quarter of 2022, implying it would run out of cash in roughly 12 months at the current pace,” said the Cowen analysts.
But with little visibility in the current environment, they expect further top line pressures to emerge that will require further cost cuts and possibly a pullback on R&D and geographic locations. That could alter the company long-term growth, they wrote.