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BenzingaEditorial

The Show Must Go On – Event Industry Rising to the Challenge of COVID-19

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Overwin Corona Virus

Collectively, we are navigating this public health crisis one day at a time. To flatten the curve, businesses are shutting down for the foreseeable future. And if there is one industry that is disrupted, it is the event industry. The Olympic Games got postponed for a whole year and for the very first time. In the past, they were only canceled and three times due to ongoing wars. And now, waking up to cancellations has become the new normal thanks to COVID-19. This new everything-but-ordinary scenario is asking the event industry to find ways both to survive the losses caused by this storm but also think of new ways to protect the health and safety of its staff, sponsors and event attendees.

Canceled events have affected all industries

According to estimates that the data intelligence company PredictHQ pulled for Recode, the direct economic loss from the cancellation of more than 10 major tech conferences has surpassed $1.1 billion. And considering this was reported back in March, rest assured that the figure is much greater than that. What’s even worse is that it doesn’t even include the amount of money that organizers would have made from hosting the events. It is merely a sum of losses caused to airlines, hotels, restaurants, and service providers that would make money from the attendees.

The biggest tech loss was incurred by GSMA’s Mobile World Congress that amounted to $480 million, as it was supposed to host more than 100,000 attendees in Barcelona in February. It is followed by South by Southwest (SXSW) which is about the convergence of tech, movie and music industries in Austin. The event had 280,000 attendees last year and its cancellation resulted in at least $350 million in direct losses. Google I/O (NASDAQ:GOOGL), a 5,000-person developer conference, had a direct loss estimate of nearly $20 million. On the bright side, there’s Facebook’s (NASDAQ:FB) F8, Adobe Inc’s (NASDAQ:ADBE) and Apple events (NASDAQ:AAPL) which had virtual components that could still be held but the cancellation of their physical portion still incurred significant costs.

Some are trying hard not to give in to COVID-19 stampede

Roland Garros has been postponed for September unlike Wimbledon which had no choice but to cancel but then also is supposedly able to amortize the cost. French Open organizers are holding on to a thread in an effort to try avoiding losses amounting to $284 million.

As for the Olympic games, there is an additional cost of ¥22.5 billion (approx. $206.8 million) in terms of extra maintenance costs for venues and the Olympic Village. Another ¥390 billion (approx. $3.6 billion) will be needed to keep organizations in place for a whole year. And post-Olympics effects will take a hit of  ¥218 billion (approx. $2 billion) as a result of the delay. The U.S. television network NBC owned by Comcast Corporation (NASDAQ:CMCSA) paid the IOC $4.38 billion for the rights to the games through 2020 so hopefully it doesn’t interfere with their 2021 summer programme as matters become stickier with broadcasting as insurance is sometimes more useful when it comes to cancelations.

Arts – film industry disappoints fans but theatre fans rejoice in free performances

The new James Bond film, Daniel Craig’s last, has been postponed for November, costing MGM Studios $30 million. Even Tom Cruise’ eagerly awaited Maverick has also been postponed as it needs packed theaters to return its investment of over $150 million that it took to make the movie that has been awaited by fans for 34 years. Whether you are a sports fan or a movie fan, you’re likely hating COVID-19 even more. But good news for theatre and museum fans are that many institutions around the globe have opened their virtual doors and are giving virtual tours and are streaming performances- for free! So, here’s to some sort of silver lining.

Nothing will ever be the same

The brave ones who will be planning large events in the COVID-19 aftermath will surely need to be in contact with both local and national public health authorities for a long time after all this is over.  Even when authorities start allowing large gatherings, there will be no way of going around the serious precautions and more severe hygiene regulations. And they are bound to result in additional costs.

New trends and best practices to cope with this large-scale disruption

Virtual events are taking place more than ever during the last few weeks as almost half of the world’s population is stuck at home. Meetings and conferences have been redesigned to become virtual events and they are doing a great job in keeping people connected. Just ask Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) whose Teams application now has over 44 million users!

But as this crisis comes to an end, rest assured there will be a lot of hybrid events which will feature a mix of live and virtual components. Simply put, although they take place in a physical location, the large part of the audience is attending remotely.

For example, The Event Institute in Paris has not given up its activities as it’s organizing virtual open doors for its prospective students at its LéCOLE which trains future event managers across Paris’ finest venues. Of course, the logistics involved in such type of events is more complex as it requires both the physical and digital infrastructure. But as long as you don’t give up, you will be even pleasantly surprised with the benefits of such futuristic events as they eliminate many kinds of constraints while expanding the organisation’s ROI potential. That doesn’t sound bad at all!

The show must go on, but how?

We do not know how or when this crisis will end yet history shows us that we prevailed through many things and came back even stronger from each crisis. Did we learn from our mistakes is an entirely different question. Let’s hope we will this time. But the good news is that the event industry, although one of the most severely hit is the one that will be needed most when things restart. Events are the most efficient way to build human connections and to build something called ‘intangible value’, one which for example defines how much a brand is worth. And events are invaluable due to this immense power they have to make an impact on people. So, rest assured, the event industry will be among the first to adapt its operations to the new post-COVID-19 era that awaits us. And who knows, maybe it can even help the overall economy pull itself out of a rut, although it seems pretty stuck for now. But the event industry will have an honorable role in our recovery as it is the most competent of all to bring humanity back to life after this virtual standstill.

This article is not a press release and is contributed by a verified independent journalist for IAMNewswire. It should not be construed as investment advice at any time please read the full disclosure . IAM Newswire does not hold any position in the mentioned companies. Press Releases – If you are looking for full Press release distribution contact: press@iamnewswire.com Contributors – IAM Newswire accepts pitches. If you’re interested in becoming an IAM journalist contact: contributors@iamnewswire.com

BenzingaEditorial

News From The Vaccine World

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Less than a year before the COVID-19 started its relentless march across the globe Novavax (NASDAQ: NVAX) was facing delisting from the Nasdaq. The 33-year-old Maryland-based pharmaceutical company didn’t have a single approved shot after hundreds of millions of dollars invested in its R&D efforts. Wall Street likes to take bets on unproven biotech such as Moderna Inc (NASDAQ: MRNA), but it can be unforgiving of failure.  Fortunately, Novavax is now on the verge of getting approval in the UK, which will probably be followed by the US. Interim data have shown that its vaccine has an efficacy rate up there with the shots developed by Moderna, BioNTech (NASDAQ: BNTX) and Pfizer (NYSE: PFE), all of which are based on revolutionary mRNA technology. However, Novavax’ candidate s is cheaper and easier to transport and can be stored at room temperature for at least 24 hours. Additionally, the one-shot candidate by Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JMJ) that can be kept at normal temperatures was granted an emergency use authorization during the weekend.

Merck and Johnson will join forces

Merck & Co Inc (NYSE: MRK) will manufacture the vaccine made by Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JMJ) under an unusual deal that the Biden administration engineered to boost production of the single-shot ja which has been hampered by manufacturing delays.

The Biden administration helped to engineer the deal between the competitors after J&J, which was, experienced production hold-ups. J&J is the world’s largest healthcare company, but when it comes to vaccines, Merck has the expertise as it is one of the world’s largest vaccine makers with many approved shots.

Sanofi (NASDAQ: SNY) is another large vaccine maker that has fallen behind in the COVID-19 vaccine race and has agreed to help boost supplies of the J&J vaccine in Europe. Last month, it stated it would use its capacity to fill vials.

Novavax has finally stopped gasping for air

The CEO of Novavax, Stanley Erck, stated their candidate is more than 90% effective against the original strain, 86% effective against the U.K. strain and considerably less effective against the South African strain. According to forecasts, Novavax will generate more than $5 billion in revenue this year. As it is applying for approval for it flu shot, it will start studies on combining the Covid-19 and flu vaccine into a single shot later this year.

A story with a happy ending for everyone?

Novavax’s story resembles a Cinderella story as a little company that was on the verge of potentially closing has really been able to play with the big boys in the race for the Covid vaccine. The bottom line is that the US will have enough coronavirus vaccine doses for every adult by the end of May, which is sooner than anticipated, thanks in part to an unusual type of collaboration we didn’t see since World War II between two of the country’s largest drugmakers.

This article is not a press release and is contributed by a verified independent journalist for IAMNewswire. It should not be construed as investment advice at any time please read the full disclosure. IAM Newswire does not hold any position in the mentioned companies. Press Releases – If you are looking for full Press release distribution contact: press@iamnewswire.com Contributors – IAM Newswire accepts pitches. If you’re interested in becoming an IAM journalist contact: contributors@iamnewswire.com

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BenzingaEditorial

Workhorse and Worksport Both Delivered Good News This Week

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EV Update

This week began with good news in the EV world. On Monday, electric truck maker Workhorse Group (NASDAQ: WKHS) reported before market open. Its shares bounced 4.7% in midday trading Monday after the electric vehicle maker reported a surprise fourth-quarter net profit despite falling short on sales. A piece of good news were more then welcome after last week’s selloff that plunged as low as 47.5% plunge last Tuesday, after the U.S. Postal Service awarded a contract for delivery trucks exclusively to Oshkosh Corporation (NYSE: OSK), while Workhorse was widely expected to win at least a part of the contract. On Tuesday morning, tonneau-cover manufacturer Worksport (OTC: WKSP) announced it is expanding its capacity to meet increased demand. Worksport announced this morning that it received over US$2.3 Million to date from Exercised Warrants from the recent oversubscribed Regulation A offering.

Workhorse Q4 results

The company reported its net income rose to $280.5 million from $655,000 a year ago, thanks largely to income derived from its investment in Lordstown Motors (NASDAQ: RIDE), an electric pickup startup founded by Workhorse’s former chief executive. The FactSet expected a net loss of $15.1 million. Revenues increased from $3,000 to $652,000, due to a higher volume of produced and delivered trucks, but still came short of FactSet consensus of $1.2 million. According to its Chief Executive, the company is entering the new year in its strongest-ever position, both financially and operationally. With over $200 million of cash on its balance sheet and over 8,000 vehicles in its backlog, it can reliably continue building its multi-year growth plan.

The EV maker is not taking a recent high-profile defeat lying down

The company also revealed it will meet with U.S. Postal Service (USPS) management on Wednesday to discuss the latter’s recent awarding of a 10-year contract that would place Workhorse among top EV manufacturers. With at least 50,000 trucks to be manufactured within a decade, this will be the most dramatic modernization of the USPS fleet in three decades. While the USPS is one of the more financially strapped government entities, cy it’s considered to be an extremely reliable business partner. Following the USPS’s awarding of the contract to Oshkosh, Workhorse issued a press release in which it clearly stated it intends to explore all avenues that are available to non-awarded finalists in a government bidding process. Its odds of getting a second shot could depend on whether President Biden is able to force out the postmaster general who was installed last year by board members appointed by former President Donald Trump.

Worksport is expanding due to increased demand

Innovative pickup truck tonneau cover manufacturer Worksport partnered with Atlis Motor Vehicles and Hercules Electric Vehicles to configure its revolutionary TerraVis solar system for their upcoming electric pickup trucks is expanding further. The company announced on Tuesday morning it is in the final phase of a strategic manufacturing expansion discussions with a few Tier-1 and Tier-2 OEM manufacturing power houses in Canada. The company aims to expand its manufacturing into North American state-of-the-art facilities with 20,000 to 50,000 square feet of operating space to meet its recent U.S.-based Private Label customer growth.  Considering the company was awarded its first trademark in China, this is only the beginning of Worksport’s growth story, not to mention the company is also expanding outside the pickup truck market to the consumer market by extending its solar fusion line with mobile TerraVis COR™ system that can be used independently and recharged via solar or A/C power. These discussions involve logistics to ensure scalability in the manufacturing processes. The expansion will give the company control over capital expenses, greatly reducing risks of overextending its financials during periods of intense demand while building its major Automotive, Freight & Transport, Marine, and Rail ecosystems. With its CEO Steven Rossi at the helm, Workhorse is going all in to exceed customer expectations in terms of quality, innovation, convenience and last but not least, affordability.

Outlook

Workhorse aims to increase production to three trucks a day by the end of this month and reach a daily output of 10 trucks by the end of June. Worksport is aiming to become a Tier 1 OEM manufacturer of solar-powered tonneau covers for electric makers and by the looks of it, it’s well on track, especially as it successfully closed its $4 million Regulation A offering at the beginning February well ahead of the scheduled closing due in November 2021. Demand that is fueling Worksport to rapid growth is key, which is why Workhorse isn’t willing to take USPS’ no for answer.

This article is not a press release and is contributed by a verified independent journalist for IAMNewswire. It should not be construed as investment advice at any time please read the full disclosure . IAM Newswire does not hold any position in the mentioned companies. Press Releases – If you are looking for full Press release distribution contact: press@iamnewswire.com Contributors – IAM Newswire accepts pitches. If you’re interested in becoming an IAM journalist contact: contributors@iamnewswire.com

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BenzingaEditorial

Target Hits The Bull’s Eye With Yet Another Quarter

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Some of its biggest peers such as Macy’s Inc (NYSE: M) and Best Buy Co.Inc (NYSE: BBY) came out with improving fourth quarter sales and profit outlook as a tiny bit of normalcy begins to return to consumer spending, but now it’s Target’s (NYSE: TGT) turn in the spotlight. Earnings topped estimates as sales rose 21%, boosted by a surge of post-holiday shoppers that cashed in stimulus checks during an unusually strong period for the industry as a government report revealed sales increased 5.3% in January. As of Monday’s close, Target shares have risen nearly 81% over the past year, bringing the company’s market value to $93.19 billion.

Q4

For the fiscal fourth quarter ended on January 30th, revenue rose 21% to $28.34 billion from $23.4 billion last year, higher than analysts’ expectations of $27.48 billion. Comparable sales, a key metric that tracks sales at stores open at least 13 months and online, went up 20.5% compared to the prior year as digital comparable sales rose by 118% YoY. After strong holiday sales, online sales gained even more momentum as Americans cashed in their $600 stimulus checks in January. As impressive as they are, both metrics show deceleration in terms of growth rates versus the third quarter. In mid-January, Target reported that sales grew 17% during the holidays, which is a slight slowdown from the third quarter’s 21% spike, but it is still a lot better compared to the 9% that Walmart (NYSE: WMT) experienced.

Profit margin was 26.80% and the operating margin amounted to 6.50%. Net income rose 66% to $1.38 billion, or $2.73 per share, increasing from last year quarter’s $834 million or $1.63 per share. Excluding items, Target earned $2.67 per share, exceeding Refinitiv’s average expectation of $2.54.

New customers and more purchases

Target has attracted new customers and inspired more purchases with its e-commerce offerings and wide range of merchandise, from cereal to workout pants, as competitors like Kohl’s Corporation (NYSE: KSS) were forced to temporarily close stores due to the pandemic. Citing internal and third-party research, Target estimates it gained about $9 billion in market share during the fiscal year. Customers shopped more frequently with Target and bought more when they did during the holiday quarter thanks to its e-commerce offerings and wide range of merchandise.

A variety of approaches to shopping

By offering different multiple channels, Target is strengthening customer loyalty. Same-day services saw sales grow by 212% and curbside pickup service sales grew by more than 500% during the quarter. On average, customers who shop in both in stores and online spend nearly four times more than those who shop only in stores and nearly ten times more than those who only shops online.

Fiscal 2020

2020 sales grew by more than $15 billion which is greater than Target’s combined sales growth of the last 11 years. Comparable sales grew 19.3%, reflecting 7.2% growth in store comparable sales, and 145% growth in digital comparable sales.

Target’s 2020 stock price rally is largely owed to improved margins. While the competitive holiday season usually pressures this figure, this wasn’t so much of an issue this year as shoppers happily paid the full price for more convenient and faster fulfillment options, including premium merchandise.

Another quarter in which Target hit the bull’s eye is in the books ended a record year which is not a pandemic-related blip but the payoff of its long-term business strategy. Record growth in 2020 was a result of many years of investment to build a durable, scalable and sustainable business model that enabled the big box retailer to capitalize on the opportunity that was provided by the pandemic.

Outlook

Target remains extra cautious in the face of continued uncertainty as the pandemic has made it too difficult to predict consumer patterns. No sales or EPS guidance for fiscal 2021 were provided. Although shoppers are still cautious, Target is also seeing hopeful consumers who are looking forward to a post-pandemic life, expecting to see shoppers browsing aisles and returning to buying items such as apparel for work or going out as well as new luggage. To find a way to hold on to customer’s wallets after vaccines kick in, the big box retailer plans to invest about $4 billion per year over the next several years to open new stores, upgrade existing ones and enhance its ability to quickly fulfill online orders.

This article is not a press release and is contributed by a verified independent journalist for IAMNewswire. It should not be construed as investment advice at any time please read the full disclosure. IAM Newswire does not hold any position in the mentioned companies. Press Releases – If you are looking for full Press release distribution contact: press@iamnewswire.com Contributors – IAM Newswire accepts pitches. If you’re interested in becoming an IAM journalist contact: contributors@iamnewswire.com

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