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Birmingham Alliance to sell £100m Martineau Place


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Australia expects to receive AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine within months


first_imgAstraZeneca’s candidate, AZD1222, is viewed as a frontrunner in a global race to deliver an effective vaccine to combat the virus.Australia had announced in August that it planned to buy AZD1222, along with an agreement of intent from CSL to manufacture it. That plan was thrown into some doubt when CSL announced shortly afterward that it would prioritize the manufacture of its own vaccine.Morrison’s announcement on Monday that Australia would also purchase the CSL drug if trials proved successful appeared to be the culmination of a deal to get both vaccines across the line.The CSL vaccine is due to begin second stage clinical trials in late 2020, meaning the earliest it could hit the market would be mid-2021. “By securing the production and supply agreements, Australians will be among the first in the world to receive a safe and effective vaccine, should it pass late stage testing,” Morrison said in an emailed statement.Should both vaccines pass clinical trials, Australia will spend A$1.7 billion ($1.24 billion) for a total of nearly 85 million doses, Morrison said.The agreement came as Australia’s Victoria state said 41 cases of COVID-19 have been detected in the past 24 hours, the lowest single-day rise since June 26.Australia’s second most populous state has been the epicentre of a second wave, and now accounts for about 75% of the country’s 26,320 cases and 90% of its 762 deaths.The southeastern state on Sunday extended a hard lockdown in its capital Melbourne until Sept. 28 as the daily infection rates had declined more slowly than hoped.Job lossesThe extension of the lockdown in Melbourne is expected to fuel further job losses. The national Treasury Department said the original six-week lockdown had already cost Victoria around 250,000 jobs, or half the total recorded by the state since the pandemic began.Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg on Monday announced Australia would extend its temporary insolvency and bankruptcy protection rules until the end of this year, barring creditors cannot issue bankruptcy notices to businesses for debts below A$20,000. Australia expects to receive its first batches of a potential COVID-19 vaccine in January, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Monday, as the number of new daily infections in the country’s virus hotspot fell to a 10-week low.Morrison said his government has struck a deal with CSL Ltd to manufacture two vaccines – one developed by rival AstraZeneca and Oxford University, and another developed in CSL’s own labs with the University of Queensland.Morrison said Australia will in January and February 2021 receive 3.8 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, which is currently undergoing late-stage clinical trials in Britain, Brazil and South Africa, in January and February last year.center_img Topics :last_img read more


Falling participant numbers force Unisys pension fund to consider APF


first_imgBecause the pension fund must set aside 58% of its liabilities for its pensioners, its defensive investment policy still comes at the expense of pensions accrual for its younger participants.The scheme also noted that the contract for pensions provision with Unisys was set to expire at the end of 2017.In its annual report, it said it returned 0.36% on investments, due chiefly to a 3% return on its 30% return portfolio.It lost, however, 0.63% on its matching portfolio, consisting for the most part of long-term government bonds.As of the end of June, funding at the Unisys scheme, which granted active participants an indexation of 1.4%, stood at 102.6%.Last year, the pension fund reduced its interest hedge from 70% to 60%, following its decision to introduce a dynamic cover with a range of 60-75%.It pointed out that it uses the 20-year interest rate to set its hedging level.The scheme’s board added that, following an asset-liability management study, it decided against adjusting its investment policy, “as the low funding and low interest rates complicated a proper balancing between the several investment portfolios”.Last year, the Unisys pension fund invested €20m in residential mortgages at the expense of its holdings in long-term government bonds, and replaced one-third of its US high-yield credit with similar holdings in Europe.It also increased its stake in infrastructure to 5.5% after deciding that the minimum allocation to any asset class should be at least 5%. The €453m Dutch pension fund of IT company Unisys is thinking to join one of the six general pension funds (APFs) on offer by commercial players in the market.In its annual report, the scheme’s board said to continue as an independent scheme would be “unrealistic”.It cited the pension fund’s rapidly declining number of participants – 1,280 pensioners and just 285 active members – as a chief problem.As a consequence, annual contributions represent a mere 1% of total pension assets, while administration costs per participant are no less than €529.last_img read more