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BioNTech posts tripled Q1 vaccine sales but still flags full-year decline

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Empty vials of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine are seen at The Michener Institute, in Toronto, Canada January 4, 2021 in this file photo. REUTERS/Carlos Osorio

FRANKFURT (Reuters) – BioNTech said first-quarter sales and earnings more than tripled thanks to demand for the COVID-19 vaccine it developed with Pfizer (NYSE:PFE), but the German biotech firm reaffirmed its forecast for a full-year decline in vaccine sales.

First-quarter revenues more than tripled from the year-earlier period, to 6.37 billion euros, as did quarterly net income, to 3.70 billion euros, the company said in a statement on Monday.

“As a result of an increased order volume initially placed in late 2021 following the then-emerging Omicron variant, we began the year 2022 with strong revenues and earnings, leaving us well-positioned to achieve the 2022 financial guidance,” finance chief Jens Holstein said.

BioNTech reiterated its 2022 vaccine revenue guidance of between 13 billion and 17 billion euros, down from 19 billion last year, implying a decline during the rest of the year.

As in previous quarters, BioNTech based its guidance only on firm orders for the year, which were unchanged at about 2.4 billion doses from a March 30 estimate, below the 2.6 billion doses delivered in 2021.

Rival vaccine maker Moderna (NASDAQ:MRNA) was more bullish last week, forecasting higher vaccine sales for the second half of the year than in the first six months, as it expects demand for booster shots in the fall.

BioNTech’s partner Pfizer last week also took a cautious approach and only considered the current order backlog for its 2022 COVID vaccine sales forecast of $32 billion, down from $36.8 billion last year.

The German company on Monday added that it expects to have trial data on its efforts to develop a COVID vaccine that addresses the dominant Omicron variant in the coming weeks.

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Billionaire Steyer backs climate tech firm Regrow Ag

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: An orchard is planted near Teviston, California, U.S., October 22, 2021. REUTERS/Stephanie Keith

By Simon Jessop and Karl Plume

LONDON/CHICAGO (Reuters) – Billionaire Tom Steyer and investment partner Katie Hall have led the latest funding round for technology start-up Regrow Ag, which aims to help accelerate the shift to climate-friendly farming.

Their Galvanize Climate Solutions was joined in the $38 million Series B fundraising by Salesforce (NYSE:CRM) founder Marc Benioff’s TIME Ventures and Rethink Impact, alongside existing investors including trader Cargill and Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT)’s M12.

Food and agriculture contributes 26% of the world’s total carbon emissions, Regrow says, and is a growing area of focus for companies as they look to reduce their own emissions by greening their supply chains.

To help fix the problem, Regrow, a software-as-a-service (SaaS) company, connects companies and others with farmers, who enrol in various programmes that pay them for adopting farming practices that reduce emissions, preserve soil quality and minimise use of chemicals.

“Agriculture needs resilience not just to put food on our plates today, but to support a liveable planet for future generations,” said Regrow co-founder and chief executive Anastasia Volkova.

Such farming techniques in many cases involve reverting to more traditional practices, common before the advent of industrial-scale farming, but at a cost that many farmers are unwilling to take without financial help.

Companies and others keen to see it happen, such as state-backed institutions, meanwhile, want to be sure they are getting what they pay for and not wasting money on a farmer who hasn’t actually changed methods and cut emissions.

Markets for carbon captured and stored in agricultural soils have struggled to scale up due to systemic problems with measuring their climate benefit and questions about the permanence of carbon captured by intensive row crop farming.

Global croplands and grasslands can capture and store the equivalent of up to 8.6 gigatons of carbon dioxide a year, according to a 2019 report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Regrow’s technology platform allows farmers to establish a baseline for their carbon emissions and then estimate the likely savings by changing certain practices, such as by tilling the fields less or by introducing livestock to the farm.

After agreeing to make the changes, Regrow uses satellite imaging and remote sensing to check the emissions have been reduced, giving greater assurance to the buyers of the carbon credits that are created as a result.

(This story corrects spelling of Steyer in headline and first paragraph.)

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Kim Kardashian Named Beyond Meat’s First Chief Taste Consultant, Shares Fail to Hold on to Gains

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© Reuters. Kim Kardashian Named Beyond Meat’s (BYND) First Chief Taste Consultant, Shares Fail to Hold on to Gains

Beyond Meat (NASDAQ:BYND), the maker of plant-based meat substitutes, announced it is launching a campaign with the beauty icon Kim Kardashian.

Kardashian will help the California-based company’s unique product portfolio attract more attention through advertising, signature recipes, and fresh creative content.

“I’ve been focusing on going more plant-based and can tell you that Beyond Meat is my absolute favorite – I love how all their products not only taste amazing but are also good for me and my family. Plus, my kids are obsessed with my Beyond Beef® taco recipe, the Beyond Burger® for BBQs, and Beyond Chicken® Tenders for a quick snack,” said Kim Kardashian.

Kardashian added she is honored to be involved in the new Beyond Meat campaigns as the company’s Chief Taste Consultant “to inspire people to include Beyond Meat in their diets.”

Furthermore, the celebrity will also share thoughts on her favorite Beyond Meat offerings through the newsletter which will contain exclusive offers, recipes, and more.

Even though Kardashian is very cautious when teaming up with brands, her decision to collaborate with Beyond Meat was not surprising as she has been a long-time fan of the company’s products and vision.

Apart from Kim, Beyond Meat collaborates with a number of beloved celebrities including Snoop Dogg, Liza Koshy, Kevin Hart, and Shay Mitchell, among others.

“I am really inspired by Beyond Meat’s mission and love that they are not only making plant-based eating delicious and accessible but are doing so in a way that benefits both people and the planet. It’s empowering to know that the small changes I’m making for my family, like incorporating more Beyond Meat into our meals, can add up to make a big impact,” Kardashian added.

Beyond Meat stock price initially rose 10% on the news before erasing all gains to trade over 5% in the red.

By Senad Karaahmetovic

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Ralph Lauren expects margins to grow as rich customers shrug off inflation

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A man walks past Ralph Lauren Corp.’s flagship Polo store on Fifth Avenue in New York City, U.S., April 4, 2017. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

By Praveen Paramasivam

(Reuters) -Ralph Lauren Corp forecast higher sales and improved margins for the year as demand for its luxury apparel in its biggest markets in North America and Europe stays strong at a time when inflation is denting profits at major U.S. retailers.

The spending power of higher-income customers has stayed unaffected by higher prices of essentials, and they are now splurging on fashion as they venture out more with the easing of COVID-19 restrictions across the globe.

“Consumers are starting to go out during the day, so there’s a need for sports coat, outerwear and dresses. And then they return to social activities in the evenings or on the weekend,” Chief Executive Officer Patrice Louvet said on an earnings call on Tuesday.

The 55-year-old brand also forecast revenue to increase in high single digits, versus Wall Street’s expectation of a 3.6% increase, according to Refinitiv IBES.

Ralph Lauren (NYSE:RL), which said it could raise prices further to counter increased freight and product costs, forecast fiscal 2023 gross margin to increase 30 to 50 basis points on a comparable, constant currency basis.

Major discount chains, meanwhile, have seen their profits dwindle. Walmart (NYSE:WMT) Inc, Target Corp (NYSE:TGT) and Kohl’s Corp (NYSE:KSS) have reduced their earnings expectations.

Shares of Ralph Lauren fell 2% amid broader declines, after the company also forecast gross margin to be down for the first half of fiscal 2023 due to higher expenses and a strong dollar.

The brand said its forecasts take into account a potentially softer consumer sentiment in Europe and the impact of Chinese lockdowns. Still, Ralph Lauren expects its business in China to grow this year.

For Ralph Lauren, which increased its quarterly dividend by 9%, fourth-quarter net revenue rose 18% to $1.52 billion, beating estimates of $1.46 billion. Adjusted per-share profit was 49 cents, above estimates of 36 cents.

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