Why did ASX-listed Shares Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield, FlexiGroup and Biotron end in the red zone?


  • ASX 200 listed retail company Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield disclosed a €9.0 billion RESET plan for strengthening its balance sheet and improving financial flexibility.
  • Financial service provider FlexiGroup had completed Retail Entitlement Offer with proceeds worth A$36 million. The Retail Entitlement Offer, combined with the completion of the institutional component, delivered profits of almost A$115 million to FlexiGroup.
  • FlexiGroup launched humm in New Zealand as the only BNPL product in NZ to support transactions in-store & online up to NZ$10,000.
  • Healthcare company Biotron’s compounds demonstrated activity against SARS-COV-2 in preliminary tests. Further screening of new compounds is anticipated to complete before the 2020 end.

The Australian share market has witnessed a slightly bumpy ride this week. The benchmark index, S&P/ASX 200, ended today’s session at 5,864.5 points, with a minor decline of 0. 32%. For the week, the index was broadly in line with last week (+0.1%). The information technology sector recovered after a few challenging weeks, while the metal and mining industry also aided the index’s performance.

In this article, we will focus on three ASX-listed players and see why their shares dropped today - URW, FXL, BIT.

Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield Unveiled €9.0 Billion RESET Plan

ASX 200 real estate player Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield (ASX:URW) develops and manages Flagship Destinations. The Company has 89 shopping centres, with 55 Flagships across cities in the US and EU.

The Group provides a distinct platform for retailers and offers an outstanding & continuously renewed experience for the consumer.

On 16 September 2020, Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield announced a €9.0 billion RESET plan. The RESET plan is for bolstering the Company’s balance sheet. Further, the funds will also enhance the financial flexibility of URW to execute its long-term strategy. The plan offers update on tenant sales, footfall, as well as rent collection.

Five strategic priorities of RESET plan are-

Source: URW ASX Announcements

Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield’s CEO Christophe Cuvillier commented-

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Capital raise of €3.5 billion

The Supervisory Boards of Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield authorised the principle of a €3.5 billion capital raise. This raise, in conjunction with the other strategic initiatives, is designed to strengthen the financial profile of the Group and best position URW to implement its long-term strategy, while:

  • Bolstering balance sheet.
  • Maintaining a solid investment-grade credit rating.
  • Obtaining uninterrupted access to debt markets.

The Group stated that proceeds of the capital raise would be utilised to reduce leverage instantly.

Footfall Recovery and Sales

  • The footfall recovery is encouraging, with most Continental European regions as of now trending in the range of 80-90% of previous year’s footfall, indicating the appeal of Flagship destinations of URW.
  • Recovery in the UK is in the range of 60-70%, demonstrates good week-on-week growth as people are resuming to offices after the lockdown and summer holidays.
  • In the US centres footfall lags behind that in Europe, various shopping centres in Los Angeles, indoor operations remain constrained.

Source: URW ASX Announcements

On 18 September 2020, URW share price was down 7.285%, at A$2.800. With a market capitalisation of A$8.36 billion, URW has 2.77 billion outstanding shares trading on the ASX.

FlexiGroup Completes Retail Entitlement Offer Raising Proceeds worth ~A$36 million

ASX 300 listed Australian leading financial services company FlexiGroup Limited (ASX:FXL) is engaged in providing full-service payments with leading offerings in BNPL (buy now pay later), revolving credit and SME finance.

On 17 September 2020, FlexiGroup disclosed that the Company had completed the retail component of the 1 for 3.20 pro-rata accelerated non-renounceable entitlement offer announced on 26 August 2020. The Retail Entitlement Offer closed on 15 September 2020.

The offer was 50% underwritten by Citigroup Global Markets Australia Pty Limited and raised gross profits of ~A$36 million at the same per share offer price of A$1.14 as the Institutional Entitlement Offer.

With the completion of the institutional component, the Retail Entitlement Offer delivered profits of almost A$115 million to FlexiGroup.

The Company disclosed that new shares to be issued under the Retail Entitlement Offer should rank equally in all respects with the existing shares of FXL. The shares are likely to be allotted on 22 September 2020 and commence trading on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) on 23 September 2020.

FlexiGroup Launched humm In New Zealand

On 14 September 2020, FlexiGroup disclosed the launch of humm in New Zealand as the only BNPL product across NZ to support transactions in-store and online up to NZ$10,000.

Deputy Group CEO and NZ CEO of FlexiGroup Chris Lamers stated humm is a game-changer for New Zealand-

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On 18 September 2020, FXL shares ended the session at A$1.080, down 1.37%. The market capitalisation of FlexiGroup was noted at A$508.19 million, with nearly 464.1 million outstanding shares.

Biotron’s Compounds Demonstrate Activity Against SARS-COV-2 In Preliminary Assays

ASX-listed healthcare player Biotron Limited (ASX:BIT) is into the development as well as commercialisation of pharmaceuticals for targeting major viral diseases with an unmet medical need. The Company’s lead compound, BIT225, is under Phase 2 clinical trial for the HIV-1 and hepatitis C treatment.

On 7 September 2020, Biotron disclosed the conclusion of the initial stage of screening selected Biotron compounds against SARS-CoV-2. The Company revealed that various compounds had shown antiviral activity against the novel coronavirus in laboratory cell-culture studies.

Biotron has screened 47 compounds in an industry-standard cytopathic effect cell-culture assay. The compounds demonstrating favourable activity in that first assay then underwent through confirmatory testing in a 2nd anti-SARS-CoV-2 assay.

It is noteworthy to mention that the screening program successfully identified a subset of fifteen compounds that had SARS-CoV-2 inhibiting activity.

Way ahead

Biotron will now focus on building on the preliminary stage screening program to incorporate a new series of compounds that are recently synthesised. Screening of new compounds is anticipated to complete before the 2020 end.

The Company is optimistic that within new compounds, there will be potent, druggable compound(s) that could be progressed to animal models testing of COVID-19 and ultimately, clinical trials.

On 18 September 2020, BIT share price stood at A$0.097, down 1.02% at the close. The Company has a market capitalisation of A$68.79 million and 701.93 million outstanding shares.

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