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Coronavirus newest: Politicisation of vaccines undermines immunisation in US, says pharma CEO

Sarah Provan

The coronavirus pandemic has driven sales at Bunzl as Covid-related masks, sanitisers, gloves and disinfectants flew off the shelves during weeks of national lockdown. Sales of the top eight coronavirus products, which are mostly its own brand, contributed 17.5 per cent of growth – more than offsetting a 9.5 per cent decline in revenue from other products, it said in a trading statement for the three months to June 30. Larger orders of those products were lower than in the second quarter but in line with expectations. Group revenue for the third quarter rose 8.8 per cent at constant exchange rates. The group expects revenue in the second half of 2020 to grow well and anticipates a slightly higher second-half operating profit margin compared with a year earlier.

“The outlook remains uncertain, particularly considering current pandemic trends and the increasing restrictions which are now being reintroduced in some markets that may limit the continued underlying recovery,” the FTSE 100 group said on Wednesday.

The group’s shares have outperformed the broader stock market, more than doubling since March 19, days before England went into national lockdown set on March 23. The shares rose 5.4 per cent in early trading on Wednesday.

De Beers has recorded a “steady improvement in demand” for rough diamonds in the eight sales cycle of the year but still has a “long way to go” before recovery is sustained. The precious gem group extended its eight sales cycle of rough diamond sales this year beyond its normal week.

“It’s encouraging to see these demand trends, but these are still early days and there is a long way to go before we can be sure of a sustained recovery in trading conditions,” said Bruce Cleaver, chief executive of De Beers Group.

The provisional eighth cycle generated $467m in sales, compared with $334m in the previous cycle and $297m in the eighth cycle of 2019.

JustEat Takeaway orders rose 46 per cent in the third quarter from a year earlier as the online food delivery service benefited from consumers ordering food to eat at home. Australia was the fastest-growing country, delivering market share gains with triple-digit order growth in the quarter, the Amsterdam-based group said on Wednesday.

“Order growth at Just Eat Takeaway.com further accelerated, consequently widening the gap to competitors in our key markets,” said chief executive Jitse Groen. “We have continued to generate strong adjusted EBITDA, while investing aggressively, and are well-positioned for autumn and winter, our traditional growth season.”

The Just Eat business was consolidated from April 15 and the figures are presented as if the combination was completed on January 1 2019 to provide comparable information for the full nine-month period. The group’s shares rose 3.7 per cent in early Amsterdam trading.

Kenton Jarvis, appointed EasyJet’s chief financial officer on September 18, will join the low-cost airline and the board from February 3. Andrew Findlay will step down on that day.

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