Beyond Meat Teams Up With KFC, Pizza Hut In China

Beyond Meat (BYND) is partnering up with fast-food chains Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) and Pizza Hut to expand the reach of its famous plant-based beef in China.

The news sent shares up 6.2% on Friday. According to social media site Weibo, the plant-based meat pioneer will be rolling out its products with KFC from June. The partnership with Pizza Hut is slated to start in the coming week. No further details were announced.

“We’re proud to expand our partnership with KFC into China, one of their largest markets worldwide, as well as introduce a new partnership with Pizza Hut in China,” a Beyond Meat spokesperson said in an e-mail response to Bloomberg. “We’ll be sharing more details soon.”

Back in April, Beyond Meat made the foray into the market in China announcing a partnership with Starbucks (SBUX). The coffee chain operator is offering a new menu to Chinese customers featuring the company’s ‘beef’ in pastas and lasagna, as well as non-dairy milk and fake pork products.

During the same month, Yum China’s KFC also announced that it will begin its first Chinese trial of a plant-based version of its popular fried chicken. According to the company’s Weibo page, U.S. agribusiness Cargill Ltd will supply the nuggets.

Beyond Meat’s expansion plans have fueled its share price to more than double since March 18. The stock traded at $128.29 as of Friday. Following the impressive rally, the $90.64 average analyst price target now indicates 29% downside potential from current levels. (See Beyond Meat stock analysis on TipRanks)

However, one of the analysts sees more gains in the offing for Beyond Meat’s stock. Five-star analyst Peter Saleh, on May 19 initiated the stock with a Buy rating and $173 price target, reflecting 35% upside potential over the coming year, citing strong sales growth in coming years.

“The company’s stated goal is to tackle the $1.4 trillion global meat industry,” Saleh wrote in a note to investors, adding that about $270 billion of that is spent in the U.S. “The adoption of Beyond’s products by mainstream customers in the suburbs will be the key to long-term success. We expect the company to expand into other protein categories including poultry to help broaden its appeal.”

The analyst forecasts sales to grow 56% in 2020 and 51% in 2021.

The rest of Wall Street analysts remain sidelined on Beyond Meat’s stock right now. The Hold analyst consensus is divided into 5 Hold, 5 Sell and 4 Buy ratings.

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