Plant-based meat company Beyond Meat (BYND -8.61%) has been struggling for the past year. Sales have been relatively stagnant, and as a result, many investors have given up on the stock. In 12 months, shares of the food stock are down a whopping 80% -- far worse than the S&P 500's decline of just 1%.
Things may not be getting any better for the growth stock anytime soon as the company recently reported its latest quarterly results, and the numbers weren't anything to get excited about. Here are three numbers that are particularly concerning for investors.
1. Gross profit: $190,000
Regardless of how revenue is growing, a company needs to be able to generate a solid gross margin to help cover its other operating expenses and overhead. In Beyond Meat's first-quarter results, the company's cost of goods sold totaled $109.3 million, which was nearly as much as its revenue of $109.5 million for the period ended April 2. That left just $190,000 in gross profit for the business.
The company blamed the worsening margins on many factors, including issuing more discounts, a change in sales and product mix, higher logistic costs, and other issues. For investors, this is concerning because Beyond's other expenses are significant, and it needs a strong gross profit to have any chance of posting a net profit.
2. SG&A: $75 million
Selling, general, and administrative (SG&A) expenses this past period totaled $75.1 million. That's nearly double the $39 million that the business reported in the prior-year period. And as a percentage of revenue, that's roughly 69% of the top line.
Here's a breakdown of all of Beyond's operating expenses.
At $97.8 million, operating expenses were nearly 90% of the company's top line. With such high expenses, coupled with a gross profit that's nearly zero, it's little surprise that Beyond reported a net loss of $100.5 million in Q1.
3. Cash burn from operations: -$165 million
There are many non-cash expenses that can weigh on the bottom line that investors may not need to worry about, such as depreciation and amortization. But even if you aren't overly concerned about net income, a company's cash flow from operating activities should be an area of focus, because if that number is deep in the red, it could mean dilution is inevitable, especially if the company isn't sitting on a boatload of money.
And in Beyond Meat's case, it's not just the company's bottom line that is suffering -- its cash burn is problematic as well. In just a three-month period, Beyond burned through $165.2 million in cash from its operating activities. That's more than five times the $30.7 million cash it went through in the same period last year.
Cash from operating activities can fluctuate over time, as the payment of receivables and payables is not always going to be the same. But this is a number that investors want to keep an eye on since Beyond Meat reported cash and cash equivalents of $547.9 million as of the end of the quarter; that's not a huge buffer that can support this kind of cash burn for long.
Is Beyond Meat too risky to own?
Beyond Meat has the potential to be a good recovery stock to own as the economy returns to normal and demand for its alternative-meat products potentially rises. However, these recent numbers should give investors pause, as in addition to generating minimal revenue growth, the company's expenses soared and cash burn accelerated. These are some concerning red flags that investors shouldn't overlook.
The safest option would be to wait for a few more quarterly results to see whether this proves to be just a singularly bad quarter for the business or if these are problems that are here to stay.