Covid-hit Irish firms ride Pfizer vaccine news to gain €2.5bn

Shares in Ryanair, AIB, and Bank of Ireland, as well as Dalata Hotel and Irish Ferries-owner ICG, soared within minutes of the announcement
Covid-hit Irish firms ride Pfizer vaccine news to gain €2.5bn

A vaccine jointly developed by Pfizer and BioNTech has been shown to be 90% effective in preventing Covid-19 infections in ongoing Phase 3 trials. Global shares have soared as a result. File Picture

Covid-19-hit Irish companies put on over €2.5bn in market value, riding a €420bn global stocks buying spree, after Pfizer and BioNTech said they had a very promising result in an advanced trial for their potential vaccine. 

Shares in Ryanair, AIB, and Bank of Ireland, as well as Dalata Hotel and Irish Ferries-owner ICG, soared within minutes of the announcement that the vaccine trial showed a success rate of over 90% in providing immunity from the disease.

Although from a very small sample from the Phase 3 trial involving 44,000 participants, Pfizer of the US and Germany’s BioNTech could be on course to be first in the race to start delivering a Covid-19 vaccine to people around the world within weeks.

Albert Bourla, Pfizer chairman and chief executive, hailed the result as "a great day for science and humanity”, and Ugur Sahin, BioNTech chief executive, said he was optimistic the immunisation effect of the vaccine would last for a year, although that was not certain yet.

Governments around the world, including the EU as a buyer for its member states, the US, and the UK, have already struck contracts to receive vaccines from the drug giants, but the number of doses that will be available by the end of the year will nonetheless be tiny.

Under the BionNTech vaccine programme called BNT162, the US and German drug firms have already estimated they could produce 1.3bn doses — enough to vaccinate 650m people — by the end of 2021.

The news led to a buying wave of companies and assets most exposed to the Covid-19 economic crisis around the world.

Global stock markets soared by over €420bn and the price of oil gushed by over 8.5% to $42.77 a barrel, as investors bet on a rebound in global growth in 2021.

The Irish companies most hit by the Covid-19 restrictions since March also rode the global buying spree. 

Within minutes of the Monday morning announcement, the Irish travel, hospitality firms, and the two main Irish banks collectively added €2.5bn to their stock market valuations.

Ryanair climbed 12% to add €1.7bn to its market value; AIB and Bank of Ireland soared by as much as 15%; while Dalata Hotel climbed by 30% to value the firm at €700m. In the US, there were some stock market losers, including Zoom Video, while Amazon shares fell.

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