Powerscourt

By Powerscourt on 02/05/2020

Powerscourt Coronavirus Briefing – 02 May 2020

ANALYSIS

Office workers will be commanded to take their temperature each morning before boarding public transport, according to reports today. The measure is one of several the UK Government is said to be considering in order to re-start the daily commute while protecting public health.

Meanwhile, the Isle of Wight’s 141,000 residents are to start acting as guinea pigs for a new contact tracing app, which many experts believe is critical to lifting lockdown.

Fresh from achieving its target of 100,000 daily tests, the UK Government has set a new target of 200,000 tests per day; a move described by Sir Paul Nurse of the Francis Crick Institute as a stunt without a strategy.

Ryanair is to cut 3000 pilot and cabin crew roles and says it does not expect to start flying again until July. The company also said it will be more than two years before the aviation industry sees a full recovery.

Interest rates on the Government’s new loan scheme for small businesses are set to be as low as 2.5% as it seeks to make emergency credit as attractive as possible. Meanwhile, the FCA is said to be turning to the courts to resolve disputes between companies and insurers over business interruption cover.

 

WHAT ARE COMPANIES SAYING?

 

Consumer and Retail

McDonalds

The company has announced that it will open 15 restaurants, its first to re-open in the UK, on 13 May having previously closed all sights in March. The restaurants will be open for deliver only through takeaway platforms Just Eat and Uber Eats. The location of the restaurants will be announced next week, with a limited menu and the temporary removal of its breakfast offering to allow staff to maintain social distancing in the kitchens. UK CEO Paul Pomroy said the company had “deliberately taken its time” as it “want[s] to get this right.”

Tyson Foods

The billionaire chairman of US meat packing company Tyson Foods, John Tyson, has said that “the food supply chain is breaking” in the US. Taking full-page adverts in New York Times and Washington Post last weekend, he has warned consumers that “millions of pounds of meat will disappear from the supply chain.” In a letter to government leaders urging them to act, he said they had “a responsibility to feed our country.”

 

Financial Services & Real Estate

Morgan Stanley

The US investment bank has had its mandate broadened by the UK government and is now being asked to examine way to support the entire airline sector. It was previously brought in by the government to handle a possible bailout of Virgin Atlantic. Reuters reported that sources had said that the situation was “more complicated than expected.”

Apollo Global Management

The US private equity firm has calculated that its partners and employees would have had to hand back $390 million in performance-related pay if its portfolio had been liquidated in late March as a result of the impact of Covid-19 on financial markets. The company made this announcement while announcing a $2.3 billion net loss for the first quarter. It also said that it had received “minimal – if any – benefit from any of the announced Fed programmes.”

JP Morgan Chase

The largest US bank said that the US Small Business Administration approved it to make $15 billion in new loans to over 200,000 business customers. It said in a statement that it expects to process $29 billion of loans for around 239,000 customers as part of the US governments Paycheck Protection Program. CEO Jamie Dimon said that this as one of “the largest and most ambitious emergency lending facilities in history”.

 

Industrials & Transport 

Rolls Royce

The Financial Times has reported that Rolls Royce is expected to cut 8,000 jobs as a result of significant falls in demand due to Covid-19. The move would be the biggest single reduction in staff at the company for over 30 years and follows similar moves from airlines IAG and Ryanair. A statement from ‘a person close to the subject’ said that the move had to be made “for the viability of the company.”

Tesla

Elon Musk’s electric vehicle business told its already furloughed employees that they will remain out of work for at least one more week, postponing a plan to resume normal operations at its San Francisco factory on 4 May. The company said that employees should assume they remain on furlough “until further notice” unless they are contacted by their manager. Production at the plant was suspended on 24 March, furloughed all non-essential workers and implemented salary cuts as a result of Covid-19.

Lufthansa

The CEO of German airline Lufthansa has said that while the company would like government support in the form of the €9 billion bailout it is currently negotiating, it does “not need government management.” The group is reportedly losing approximately €1 million in liquidity reserves every hour. The CEO Carsten Spohr made the statement in a speech released to the public on Thursday which was previously due to be made at the company’s AGM on 5 May.

ExxonMobil

The US’s biggest oil company announced on Friday that it has suffered a loss of $610 million for the first quarter of the year. Revenue was down 12 per cent compared to the same period in 2019, however cash flow from operations came in above expectations. The company did not announce any new cuts to planned spending in 2020, however reiterated its previously announced decision to cut capital expenditure by 30 per cent. CEO Darren Woods said that the company’s priority was to “continue investing in industry-advantaged projects to create value.”

Norwegian Air

The airlines bondholders have not approved a debt-to-equity swap proposed by the company in order to help it survive the Covid-19 pandemic. The deal would have involved swapping up to $1.2 billion of debt into equity and handing the majority of the ownership of the company over to lessors and bondholders. CEO Jacob Schram said that “discussion is continuing through the weekend to find a solution.”

United Airlines

The Chicago based firm has said that it expects to reduce its daily cash burn to below $40 million dollars in the third quarter in the face of zero passenger revenues and no additional capital raising. It will also continue to take deliveries of jets this year and into next year. The company announced this on a conference call for its first quarter trading update, posting a loss of $1.7 billion.

3M

Industrials conglomerate has said that it has sued five vendors for attempting to fraudulently target government officials with offers to sell billions of non-existent N95 respirators. The individuals in Florida, Wisconsin and Indiana were attempting to sell the 3M products at vastly inflated prices and falsely affiliating themselves with the company. Senior Vice President Ivan Fong said that the company would “continue to take legal action in cases like these” describing the actions as “unlawful and unethical.”

 

TMT

NBCUniversal

The US media conglomerate owned by Comcast is evaluating a significant reduction of staff across its portfolio of media and entertainment properties, according to the Wall Street Journal. The company has been forced to close a large part of its estate in cinemas and theme parks, as well as suspended its sport productions and most of its film and tv production. The company did not provide a statement in relation to the story.

 

IN THE NEWS

UK offices set to remain closed for months – Financial Times

A Smartphone App Tries to Guide the Way Out of Coronavirus Lockdowns – Wall Street Journal

North Korea’s Kim Jong Un ‘seen in public’ for first time since rumours of ill health – Sky News

 




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