Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, RSA, Everyman, climate plan: your commercial news round-up

updated on 19 November 2020

It’s a busy time of year for everyone: LawCareersNetLIVE is just around the corner, universities have been holding their virtual law fairs and aspiring lawyers have application deadlines for vac schemes or training contracts looming. Developing your commercial awareness for these applications and any interviews you might have will be crucial to your success. Start now by reading this week’s commercial news round-up.

  • News of the covid-19 vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and US pharmaceutical firm Moderna is offering a glimmer of hope as 2020 nears its final month. As well as the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine proving to be 95% effective in preventing coronavirus, the firms have also confirmed that it has met the safety criteria necessary for emergency authorisation. The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) – the UK regulator – is ready to fast-track the Pfizer-BioNTech emergency vaccine’s authorisation, with Health Secretary Matt Hancock revealing that if the vaccine is approved in time, the NHS will be ready to start distributing it to the UK’s most vulnerable from Tuesday 1 December.

The vaccine news caused stocks to slump for many of the companies that have been prospering during the pandemic, including Zoom, Peloton and Netflix. Zoom shares fell 7% following Moderna’s vaccine announcement. Meanwhile, shares jumped for airline and cruise line companies, with cruise operators Carnival, Norwegian and Royal Caribbean growing at least 7%.

  • A number of notable cinema operators have enlisted financial advisers following the pandemic’s impact on the industry. FTI Consulting has been drafted in by the Everyman cinema chain, a publicly listed company in London, to negotiate with landlords, according to Sky News. Meanwhile, Cineworld is considering a ‘company voluntary arrangement’ in a bid to cut costs and address its £6.2 billion debt pile.
  • Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s 10-point climate change plan will ban new petrol and diesel cars from being sold after 2030. The ban was originally scheduled to come into force in 2040. The UK will require better infrastructure, including at-home charge points, as well as charge points on streets and motorways across England. Other initiatives in the 10-point plan include producing enough offshore wind to power every home, creating a hydrogen-heated town and planting 30,000 hectares of trees each year.

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