UK News ALEX BRUMMER: Morrisons and Ultra should learn from Astrazeneca

02:15  30 july  2021
02:15  30 july  2021 Source:   dailymail.co.uk

Fresh record as 618,903 people in England and Wales pinged by NHS COVID app in a week

  Fresh record as 618,903 people in England and Wales pinged by NHS COVID app in a week A record 618,903 people in England and Wales were pinged by the NHS COVID-19 app in a week, latest figures show. The alerts were sent to users of the app in the week to 14 July, telling them they had been in close contact with someone who had tested positive for coronavirus and to self-isolate.The figure is up on the 520,194 recorded for England in the previous week.It is the first set of figures since the majority of restrictions were lifted in England last Monday. © PA Wire/PA Images Covers on fuel pumps at a Shell filling station in Smithdown Road, Liverpool.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said National Cabinet will discuss what restrictions they should face next year when every Australian has been offered a jab. 'People [who are] unvaccinated, they're more at risk and [we] would have to have more restrictions on people who are unvaccinated because they're a danger to themselves and others,' he told 3AW radio. The rollout has been hampered by supply delays and changing health advice over the AstraZeneca vaccine, which has left the government scrambling to bring in more Pfizer jabs.

By Alex Brummer for the Daily Mail. Published: 22:01 BST, 20 July 2021 | Updated: 02:02 BST, 21 July 2021. Nor can they put any faith in pledges to look after Morrisons in a way which would have satisfied the firm’s modern creator the late Ken Morrison . A close friend – with generations invested in the Leeds-Bradford commercial world – reliably informs me that Ken Morrison would have been horrified by this spectacle, and fought hammer and tongs to make sure the name over the door was not besmirched and a Yorkshire business debased.

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Shareholders and the spineless board at Morrisons only have to look at the fortunes of Astrazeneca since 2014 to understand why rejecting financially driven overseas suitors is the right course.

Astrazeneca (AZ) has soared up the FTSE 100 to become Britain's most valuable company, with a stock market value of £128billion.

But it also single-handedly demonstrates that big pharma can have a public conscience too.

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On the same day that a smaller private-equity-owned pharma group, Advanz, has been publicly humiliated and fined by the Competition & Markets Authority over price gouging, AZ revealed that its Oxford vaccine sales tripled to £643m in the second quarter. This is a fraction of the income disclosed by American competitor Pfizer for Covid prevention. AZ has so far managed to distribute almost 1bn doses of its life saving Covid vaccine at cost.

ALEX BRUMMER: Greed makes a comeback

  ALEX BRUMMER: Greed makes a comeback The coronavirus pandemic should have led to a kinder, gentler and fairer world of finance. Instead, the 'greed is good' culture is back. Bosses are taking advantage of a flawed system. Phil 'Miami' Bentley at Mitie is a case in point. He has been remarkably successful since failing to make the top job at Centrica. When he sold Florida-based Cable & Wireless to John Malone's Liberty Global empire in 2015, his shares were reckoned to be worth £11.4m alone. At outsourcing firm Mitie, Bentley works alongside colleagues who are near the bottom of the pay league.

ALEX BRUMMER : AstraZeneca 's rejection of Pfizer could break the merger mould as UK firm puts morals ahead of money. Those of us who have covered bids and deals down the years are always told that price should be the overwhelming factor and it is shareholders, many of them global, who should have the last word. But some disastrous decisions have been made. The reckless way in which shareholders, for instance, approved the purchase of ABN Amro by Royal Bank of Scotland in 2007 – after Northern Rock had demonstrated the fractures in the banking system – is a case in point.

By Alex Brummer for the Daily Mail. Published: 21:56 BST, 29 February 2016 | Updated: 21:56 BST, 29 February 2016. The pace of change on the High Street is startling. Amazon has been looking for an entrance into the British grocery market for some time. Now it has it through an alliance with Morrisons . The Bradford-based group may be the weakest of Britain’s big four supermarkets, but through its deals with Ocado and Amazon it has taken a leap forward which will give shareholders new hope after some sterile years.

The Americans have played hardball on approvals, and the European Union tied itself in knots over safety and production delays. Even so, AZ has been doing the right thing. It has not only protected the UK but has also shipped vaccines out to middle and lower-income countries. Chief executive Pascal Soriot plans to roll out at least 1billion more doses at a bargain-basement price. Had the AZ board rolled over six years ago, as Morrisons and countless other companies have done in the face of private equity barons and overseas buyers, the company would barely exist today as an independent unit.

AZ is much more than vaccines. It is a leader in the new science of using immunology to treat deadly diseases such as cancer. Its lung cancer treatment Tagrisso has become a $5billion (£3.9billion) blockbuster and AZ is working flat out, with other research organisations, to come up with a blood test which would allow it to detect lung cancer at the earliest stages so that it can effectively be cured. In the first half of the year AZ sales, aided by the vaccine, soared 18 per cent to £11.1billion. Even though profit margins were squeezed, investors are still buying into the AZ story and its promising pipeline enhanced by the integration of US rare disease specialist Alexion. Among potential blockbusters in train are new therapies for leukaemia and kidney disease.

Ministers under pressure to block private equity takeover of Ultra

  Ministers under pressure to block private equity takeover of Ultra Accusing the business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng of 'abandoning industrial strategy', the Tory grandee called for rigorous checks to be conducted before any deal is approved. Heseltine, a successful businessman who served under Margaret Thatcher and John Major, said: 'I have said before that we should have a proper scrutiny process for the purpose of industrial strategy. © Provided by This Is Money ( 'This is another example of the mindset that anything is up for sale in this country. No other country behaves in this way.

By Alex Brummer for the Daily Mail. Published: 21:56 BST, 25 January 2016 | Updated: 21:56 BST, 25 January 2016. But it should be noted that the big beast GSK investors are BlackRock and Legal & General and they will be among the final arbiters of GSKs future. From the vantage point of UKplc nothing could be more damaging than a full scale break-up of GSK. Pharmaceuticals is one of the few areas where Britain’s competitive edge in global markets is well established and GSK and AstraZeneca are flagships for British based R&D.

ALEX BRUMMER : Scale of the economic wipe-out from Covid-19 - in terms of jobs, output, earnings and dividends - is truly horrifying. By Alex Brummer for the Daily Mail. HSBC has more than 1m shareholders in Hong Kong, many of them private individuals dependent on dividends to pay the rent. That executives in Hong Kong should be using the current health emergency to press their own agenda is immoral. But it is my understanding that chairman Mark Tucker is unmoved and will read the riot act.

Investors have been rewarded for backing a company under siege. Morrisons and Ultra Electronics, please note.

Video: Campari CEO on 1H Earnings, M&A (Bloomberg)

Stanley falls

So many great City names, from Robert Fleming to Warburg and Cazenove, have sunk below the waves that it is hard to enter into a period of mourning over the sale of wealth manager Charles Stanley to Miami-based upstarts Raymond James.

Stanley has a heritage that can be traced back to 1792, and in an age when clients value good execution of share deals, sound wealth and pensions management and safe custody, it is hard to think that it didn't have an independent future.

When American marauders armed with big cheque books come along offering a fat premium, it provides an opportunity for the executives to march off with big payouts.

Under the terms of the deal, chairman Sir David Howard will receive £66m for his substantial family stake and he and chief executive Paul Abberley nominally remain at the helm.

Melissa George: who is Dieter Brummer’s Home and Away co-star, what was their relationship - and where is she now?

  Melissa George: who is Dieter Brummer’s Home and Away co-star, what was their relationship - and where is she now? George played Angel Brooks in the Australian TV soap, while Dieter Brummer, who has died aged 45, played her on-screen boyfriend Shane Parrish © Melissa George and Dieter Brummer weren’t on good terms away from the Home and Away cameras (Getty I... Actor Dieter Brummer, famed for his role in Australian TV soap Home and Away, has died aged 45.The star, who played heartthrob Shane Parrish on the popular series during the 1990s, was found dead at a house in Sydney on Saturday (24 July) by New South Wales police.

Surrender with grave implications: ALEX BRUMMER on the 'abomination' of UK defence giant Cobham, founded by the man who inspired flying hero Biggles, being taken over by the US. It could have been even worse. A media and political campaign against overseas takeovers saw the UK's top pharmaceutical group AstraZeneca (AZ) saved from the hand of US predator Pfizer in 2014. Subsequently, AZ has become one of the most valuable drugs firms in the world through the development of ground-breaking immunology treatments used to alleviate and even cure some cancers.

By Alex Brummer for the Daily Mail. No one should be under any illusions about the mammoth task facing the next government — regardless of whether it is Tory, Labour or another coalition — if a degree of sanity is to be restored to the public finances. Treasury statistics issued in accompaniment to the Autumn Statement (dubbed the ‘Book Of Doom’ by one gloom-mongering BBC reporter) show that 40 per cent of the cuts required to eliminate the budget deficit must be delivered by the end of the current Parliament — which means the rest will have to be found before the financial year 2019-20.

Raymond James's UK chief Peter Moores will be overseeing operations. As we have seen in past deals – including the merger of Standard Life and Aberdeen – such double banking of roles rarely lasts.

There have been a series of deals in the lower ranks of wealth management, so the latest £279m transaction is part of a trend. It is difficult not to argue that in Britain's leading edge financial sector, overseas ownership has been anything but beneficial, creating jobs and fuelling the coffers of HM Treasury. Losing a historic City player is nevertheless dispiriting.

Tequila sunrise

Diageo is sitting on a war chest after a bumper Covid year which saw American sales power ahead 20.2 per cent on the back of Johnnie Walker and booming tequila brands Casamigos and Don Julio.

Free cash flow jumped in the 12 months to June 30 to £3.7billion from £1.2billion, allowing chief executive Ivan Menezes to step up investment and to splash £72m in assisting the bar trade through the pandemic and lift the dividend.

The big challenge now is to find a suitable bid target in a spirits market where family ownership still dominates.

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ALEX BRUMMER: Why placing a price on pledges is of utmost importance .
Whitehall's indifference to the defence and national security implications of private equity and overseas bids in Britain's aerospace and engineering sector is disturbing. In spite of a heavily redacted national security report on the sale of aerospace group Cobham to Advent, warning of its importance to UK defences, it was sold off with few safeguards. At the time of the proposed 2012 merger of the UK's defence industry leader BAE with Europe's Airbus it took an intervention from Angela Merkel, concerned about production in Germany, to scupper the transaction while Britain sat on its hands.

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