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Monday Update

DB Live: Greece off holiday list; Omega Covid test progress

4.45pm: London close

Markets shook off concerns over Covid-19 second wave worries amid surging infections in the US to end the session higher.

The FTSE 100 index closed up 66.47 points, or 1.1%, at 6,225.77.

3.45pm: Greece setback for holidaymakers

Greece dashed the hopes of holidaymakers looking for a quick post-lockdown getaway as it extended its ban on flights from Britain by two weeks. 

Athens has extended its prohibition on UK flights to the country from 1 July 1 until 15 July, despite plans for it to feature on the UK’s list of countries eligible for quarantine-free travel.

It cited the UK’s high rate of coronavirus. 

Earlier, the First Minister repeated the Scottish government’s position, saying there was no plan for cross-border travel restrictions within the UK, though all options were still being considered.

Seel also: Scotland yet to decide on dropping quarantine rule

3pm: Ventilator firm raises funds

Medical devices specialist QIoT has been awarded almost £50,000 by the UK’s Innovation Agency, Innovate UK, to develop an inhaler that tells clinicians remotely whether patients with respiratory conditions are getting the medication they need.

Full story here

12.30pm: New head of law firm

Addleshaw Goddard has appointed  David Kirchin  Head of Scotland, combining the additional responsibility with his advisory role as a corporate partner.

Mr Kirchin succeeds Malcolm McPherson who has retired from the partnership, but remains with the business as a consultant.

Full story here

Noon: VAT cut call

The Scottish Government is calling for a cut in VAT and National Insurance contributions as part of an £80 billion UK-wide stimulus package to regenerate the economy and reduce inequalities.

Full story here

11am: Ineos owner strikes deal with BP

Sir Jim Ratcliffe has added to his Ineos industrial empire after sealing a $5 billion (£4bn) deal to buy a slice of oil major BP.

The Grangemouth refinery operator is acquiring BP’s petrochemicals business which makes a key component used in polyester.

The business involved in the transaction employs about 1,700.

Full story here

10am Seaweed food funding

Scottish seaweed company, Shore, the trading name of Alness-based seaweed processing company New Wave Foods, has expanded its product range having secured a £1.7 million finance package.

The investment has led to the launch of a new range of plant-based snacks and a revamping of its existing bagged snack range.

The package combined a business development grant from Highlands and Island Enterprise (HIE), equity investment from the Scottish Investment Bank (SIB) and contributions from several private investors.

8.15am: London open

The FTSE 100 index defied expectations of a sharp plunge and has gained 12 points, or 0.21%, to trade at 6172.

7am: Omega progress on Covid test

Omega Diagnostics

Omega Diagnostics, the healthcare firm focused on infectious diseases and food intolerance, says its consortium partners have made rapid progress in developing a COVID-19 test kit that can be used by people in their homes.

The transfer of the manufacturing process from Abingdon Health to consortium members will enable Omega to undertake its own validation work and to demonstrate the test can be manufactured at scale to meet the UK Government’s demand. These activities will commence immediately, and the company expects to complete this work by the end of August. 

Initially it is the company’s plan to produce 100,000 tests per week scaling up to 200,000 tests per week by the end of September.

Colin King, CEO said: “This key milestone achievement in such a short timescale is a credit to the hard work put in by the consortium, especially Abingdon Health. 

“We can now look forward with greater confidence in bringing this important test to market to support the UK and devolved Governments in their fight against this pandemic.”

Space and People

The retail, promotional and brand experience specialist said revenue streams stopped completely and abruptly in the UK, Germany and India during March 2020.

Chief executive Matthew Bending said decreased footfall and the need for social distancing restrict the appeal of promotions and the availability of space and of people in both shopping centres and railway stations.

As a result, the business has prepared for a substantive downturn in sales for the duration of the pandemic and beyond by conserving cash, reducing overheads, cancelling discretionary expenditure and obtaining additional funding.

“At this time it is extremely difficult to calculate the medium to long term effects that this virus will have on our business, as both the retail and transport sectors are not running normally in any sense at the moment,” he said.

Despite the decrease in net revenue in the year to end of December 2019, the group delivered an operating profit of £0.1 million compared with an operating loss before non-recurring costs of £0.05 million in 2018.

The company is not proposing a dividend for the year in order to preserve the group’s cash.

6am: Markets

The FTSE 100 looks set open sharply lower amid worries about a coronavirus second wave and the ability of the US to contain the outbreak.

Asia’s main markets set the tone as the global death toll from the pandemic hit half a million. Japan’s Nikkei shed 2.2% , in China, the Shanghai Composite is down 0.7%, while the Hang Seng index in Hong Kong is down 1.1%.

Brent oil was quoted at $40.26 a barrel.

Today’s agenda

* Lockdown easing: Non-essential shops with on-street access and factories re-open in Scotland; housing moves allowed; outdoor markets, the construction sector, warehouses and labs also open; Small weddings and civil partnerships can now be held outdoors; zoos and safari parks can reopen, to visitors who live nearby; playparks are also reopening

* Brexit talks: The EU and the UK launch an intense five weeks of negotiations on a deal to define their post-Brexit relations

Today’s top Daily Business stories

Big firms ‘saving themselves’ through late payments

Starmer warns Johnson: ‘do not fail Britain’

Frost takes security role as civil servant chief Sedwill quits

Johnson plans ‘speedy’ rebuilding of economy as Leicester faces new lockdown

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