Coronavirus - 1 October


• New ban on households meeting in North of England.

• Study shows R0 may be falling in the UK.

• Madrid goes back into lockdown.

• Rolls Royce announces £2bn rights issue.

• 11 French cities see new restrictions.

• South Africa to re-open borders.


• Smith + Nephew – “All three franchises showed significant recovery following an overall underlying revenue decline of -29.3% for the second quarter. The improvement was strongest in our Orthopaedics franchise, as global levels of elective surgery continued to recover. Monthly Group growth rates were broadly stable through the quarter, with some seasonality and monthly variation across both franchises and regions, reflecti ng the continuing impact of Covid -19. ”


• Rolls Royce – has announced a £2bn rights issue: “The sudden and material effect of the Covid -19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the commercial aviation industry. This has resulted in a sharp deterioration in the Group’s financial performance, particularly in our Civil Aerospace business. There is considerable uncertainty about the precise pace of the industry recovery and the possibility of delays remains a risk. In response we have taken, or are committed to undertake, a number of significant actions in order to strengthen our financial position and seek to ensure we can deliver improved future returns. We’ve recently announced that we’d like to do a rights issue as one of these measures.”

The rights issue could trigger a further £1bn loan from UK Export Finance, the government's trade finance body.


• Halfords – “Despite the peak Cycling and Staycation season coming to an end, this positive momentum has continued, such that Group like -for -like (‘LFL ’) growth in the five weeks to 25 September 2020 was +22%. Cycling has continued to perform well, up +46% LFL in the five -week period, reflecting the strength of our unique proposition and continual improvement in supply to meet unprecedented levels of demand. Motoring in our Retail business improved to +7.5% LFL in the five -week period. Our Autocentres business continued to grow strongly, up +18% LFL (+64% including acquisitions). This included exceptional demand for our growing Mobile Expert proposition, driven by customers seeking greater convenience and safety from our fleet of vans. With the substantial growth we have seen in our motoring services business across both Retail and Autocentres, we have launched a national campaign to recruit hundreds of skilled technicians. ”

• H&M – “The rapid changes in customer behaviour have been accelerated by Covid -19. The H&M group is therefore now stepping up the pace of its transformation work further, with digital investments, optimisation of the store portfolio and increasingly integrated channels.

Around a quarter of the H&M group’s stores have a contractual right to renegotiate or exit their leases each year. For 2021 a net decrease of around 250 stores is planned. ”


• US Airlines – has begun furloughing more than 32,000 employees after talks in Washington on an additional national coronavirus aid package failed.


• Germany has issued travel warnings for 11 European countries – there are advisories for Belgium, Iceland and parts of the UK, including Wales and Northern Ireland, and also Ireland’s border area with Northern Ireland.

• The Spanish government has ordered a lockdown in the capital Madrid and surrounding areas. Under the new restrictions, residents will not be allowed to leave the area unless they have to make an essential journey. Madrid’s regional government says the lockdown is not legally valid and is challenging.

• Gatherings of more than 1,000 people are to be allowed in Switzerland as the government starts to ease restrictions. Sports and cultural events will also be allowed.

• The largest study of the virus in England has found that data suggest the R0 number has fallen since measures including the “rule of six” were introduced.

• The International Labour Organization has warned of the need to adopt immediate strategies to face the labour crisis caused by Covid-19, which has led to the loss of at least 34m jobs in Latin America and the Caribbean. The latest edition of its Labour Overview report says that during this crisis, “34 million workers lost their jobs (some temporarily)”, according to available information from nine countries that represent more than 80 per cent of the economically active population of the region. Link

• Further restrictions have been confirmed for the North of England after a spike in coronavirus cases. It will be illegal for households to meet in any indoor setting, such as pubs and restaurants in Liverpool City Region, Warrington, Hartlepool and Middlesbrough.

• Unemployment has risen across the single currency zone in Europe for the fifth month in a row. The jobless rate rose to 8.1% in August, up from 7.9% in July, official statistics show.

• Bars and restaurants in 11 French cities have to close by 22:00, including in Paris. Gatherings are limited to 10 people and wedding receptions, student parties and other organised gatherings in hired venues are banned.

• South Africa will re-open its borders to all African countries from today, while barring tourists from around 50 nations with high infection rates, including Britain, France, India, Russia and the US.

#corporate client of Peel Hunt