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Igniting the Biotech Industry

Regulators in America recently approved a Biogen Inc drug to treat Alzheimer’s disease. This could bolster interest in biotech and pharmaceutical investments that have seen the depletion of market in 2021.

Businessman and investor Mozes Konig – who in the past dealt with some issues with Interpol which are now behind him – has long understood the merits of the biotech industry. 

“Over the years I’ve made various investments in quite a few sectors so I’ve learned a lot along the way.  People have approached me for advice about where next to invest and I really believe that biotech is the next big idea,” he said.

The coronavirus pandemic however, created some negativity for the biotech market. For example, before Biogen Inc.’s news regarding its Alzheimer’s treatment, the second largest (asset) healthcare EFT had only grown 1 percent since the beginning of 2021.  Given that the anticipated growth from S&P 500 was 12 percent, this was a huge loss.

“It seems to me that the entire industry was in need of some kind of dramatic news,” Mozes Konig said on this. “Biogen has thankfully given them that,” he added. 

Now that we are moving past the coronavirus, there is optimism that the industry will resume its strong growth pattern.

Industrial PC Market

The Industrial PC market (computers manufactured for use in industries which are more reliable and efficient than commercial use ones) is booming.  And it will continue to grow substantially at least for the foreseeable future.

In 2019 it was estimated at a value of $5.006bn.  The projected CAGR growth rate by 2026 is to $7.756 bn.  The coronavirus pandemic definitely enhanced the market and will likely continue to do so over the next few years. The industrial automation sector skyrocketed, along with the need for more industrial PCs.

What this has resulted in is progress in other sectors including: AI, IoT and machine learning.  There has also been an increase in automation and robotics from the pandemic.

Wheat Flour Markets

North America’s Wheat Flour Market: C.H. Guenther & Son

C.H. Guenther & Son – a company that was established in 1851 in Texas, today has over 3,500 staff spanning 24 locations throughout America, Canada and Western Europe.  It was originally started with Carl Hilmar Guenther building a flour mill near Fredericksburg, TX but eight years later when a new steam mill was constructed, Guenther sold the original one to his father in law, bought a site in San Antonio (building a home nearby) and 9 years later built a second mill.

Fast forward a century+ and in 1972, White Wings Flour Tortilla Mix more-or-less becomes a household name! By 2005 the company has become one of McDonald’s go-to bun and muffin supplier and since then more companies have been acquired with more bakers opened throughout Europe and North America.

So it’s a good company to be with.  Which is why we suspect John D. Buckles might have been quite delighted with his appointment as CEO and President of the firm, replacing Dale W. Tremblay who led the firm since 2001.  Prior to this role (which he took on at the end of April), Buckles joins C.H. Guenther & Son was Chief Commercial Officer at Ventura Foods, and before that, he held executive roles at: The Cocoa-Cola Company, The Kellogg Company and the PepsiCo Company.

Of his appointment Buckles said: “I am thrilled to join Dale and the entire CHG team to honor the 170-year family legacy of this great company. I have long admired CHG’s culture, product quality, customer partnerships and manufacturing expertise. I look forward to continuing CHG’s commitment to building lasting relationships and its passion for innovating remarkable food solutions. With three acquisitions since 2018, CHG has continued to grow and enhance our leading product offering for our customers As I hand the baton to John and assume the role of Chairman of CHG’s Board, I am confident John is the right leader for CHG’s next phase of growth. I am eager to support John through the transition as he drives new business opportunities, evaluates add-on acquisitions and further strengthens our critical customer relationships.”

In general the wheat flour market is a good one to be in right now.  An IMARC Group Report showed that in 2019 the market reached 12.3 million tons.

Mozes Konig’s Go-To Video on Tips for Start-Ups

Mozes Konig: I saw this video from Keshav Chintamani a few months ago and it made such a great impression on me.  Chintamani – Tractonomy Robotics CEO and TedX Speaker – details some of the struggles he encountered when he began his company.  In particular he discusses how important it is to come up with the right idea, developing a team and how to get the capital for the first product.

Investors Banking on Lidar

More investors are joining the trend to invest on lidar technology – the remote sensing method that uses laser light to measure distances and has garnered ample interest from automakers in recent times.

Until around 2015, lidar technology – which in a  nutshell uses laser light to measure distances – attracted a very specifically-defined section of investors, primarily in data-driven, mapping and other emerging industries which did not have a large volume of need.

“That is rapidly changing,” explained Moses Konig, a tech investor who has put all his issues with Interpol behind him. “Today there is a far greater demand in the industry because more sectors are seeing how beneficial it can be,” he added.

The industry was probably also affected by the coronavirus pandemic given that one of the core sectors using the technology was transportation.  Now that lockdowns and stay-at-home orders are being lifted the investment opportunities in the industry are looking a lot brighter.

Economic Experts Weigh In

There are many different opinions and predictions vis-à-vis the pandemic-based economic recovery.  Here, we take a look at a few of them:

Ed Yardeni of Yardeni Research said:

“The V-shaped recovery in real GDP will remain V-shaped during the first half of this year and probably through the end of the year. However, it will no longer be a ‘recovery’ beyond Q1 because real GDP will have fully recovered during the current quarter. Thereafter, GDP will be in an ‘expansion’ in record-high territory.”

John Williams, President of the New York Federal Reserve said:

“With strong federal fiscal support and continued progress on vaccination, GDP growth this year could be the strongest we’ve seen in decades.”

According to Natixis US Economist, Troy Ludtka:

“The most glaring issue with where we stand now has to be the labor market. We still have [nearly] 10 million jobs which are just simply missing.You’re going to see a situation in the coming years, looking back to this moment, where official statistics on things like food insecurity, poverty and inequality are going to reach generational highs.”

RSM Chief Economist, Joseph Brusuelas said:

“You’re going to see the growth rates in the middle of the year probably close to 9%. That’s how strong the reopening of the U.S. economy will be vis-a-vis the release of pent-up demand by the household sector. I don’t expect the pent-up demand to all be released this year. I’m expecting it to take about two years to do that, primarily because households will be somewhat cautious about the release of cash.”

Jerome Powell of the Federal Reserve senses that the pandemic’s economic recovery has actually  “progressed more quickly than generally expected and looks to be strengthening but that those sectors that were hardest hit] remain weak [and that unemployment numbers actually] underestimate the shortfall, [implying that there is still a long way to go for economic recovery.]”

It’s hard to pinpoint exactly where the recovery will end up but for now there is room for optimism within a wider framework of understanding the severity of what the pandemic has created for many people, financially.

Global Financial Services Market

Financiers anticipate that the financial services market around the world will see a substantial increase this year from an approximated $20,490.46 billion from 2020 to  $22,515.17 billion this year.  In 2025 the anticipated CAGR rate of growth is 6 percent with a market expectation of $28,529.29 billion

The rationale behind this growth can be seen in how companies around the world have responded to the effect the pandemic has had on their businesses and the resulting growth they have had due to changes in industries that have been undertaken. 

In December of 2020, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) predicted an international fiscal market growth of 4.2 per cent for this year and 3.7 per cent growth for next.  Earlier this  month however, they backtracked and instead their updated forecast was a growth rate of 5.6 per cent for 2021 and 4 per cent for next year. Indeed they have even gone so far as to say that worldwide economic production will outpace its pre-pandemic numbers by the middle of 2021. 

Coronavirus-Business Quotes

What has society learned from COVID-19 in the business world? From the negative standpoint, unfortunately a lot with an insurmountable number of job losses leading to fiscal damage not seen in this generation.  A recent study entitled ‘KFF Health Tracking Poll: Economic Hardship, Health Coverage and the ACA’ pointed out:

“The economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic continues to be felt by many across the country with more than four in ten adults (44%) saying their household experienced a job or income loss due to the coronavirus outbreak – including a majority of young adults ages 18 to 29 (56%). Across racial and ethnic groups, about six in ten Hispanic adults (59%) and about half of Black adults (51%) say their household lost a job or income, compared to about four in ten White adults (39%) who say the same.

A COVID-19 diagnosis can often have negative economic impact as individuals need to take time off work to quarantine and recover. Indeed, six in ten (61%) of those who say someone in their household tested positive for COVID-19 say their household lost a job or income due to the coronavirus outbreak compared to 41% of those in a household where no one tested positive.”

But surely there are some positives relating to coronavirus and the workplace.  Here are what some individuals have found with the increase in acceptability of working from home (WFH) during this time period.

Mohamed El-Erian who, in 2014 resigned as CEO of PIMCO citing too many missed father-daughter events, said on this matter that:

“Hopefully, as companies give more attention to the importance of work-life balance, more and more people will be in a better position to decide and act more holistically on what’s important to them.”

Indian entrepreneur, managing director and chairperson of Biocon Limited, Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw said:           

“Ultimately, the greatest lesson that COVID-19 can teach humanity is that we are all in this together.”   

One of India’s wealthiest women Shaw recently attacked the “government’s capping of the vaccine price at private hospitals comes at a time when India is preparing to vaccinate people aged above 60 years and those over 45 with co-morbidities from March 1.” She said: “If WHO has agreed to USD 3 per dose, why beat them down to USD 2?”

The Atlantic’s Ed Yong tweeted:

“We long to return to normal, but **normal led to this**. To avert the future pandemics we know are coming, we MUST grapple with all the ways normal failed us. We have to build something better.”

This is what we have for now. It’s our choice how we respond to it.

Rosalind Brewer Becomes 20th Black CEO in America

Rosalind Brewer has been named incoming CEO of Walgreens, effective March 15, 2021. This role makes Brewer, who is leaving her position as COO at Starbucks, the only Black woman to lead a Fortune 500 company.

Brewer joins the other 19 Black CEOs — 17 men and two women — who have ever been listed as CEOs on the Fortune list which began in 1955. She also became the only Black woman to sit on the board of Amazon when she joined in 2019.

In 2018, only 3.3% of all US corporate executive and senior management or leadership roles were held by Black people. Not much change has been accomplished in three years, according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Sadly, there aren’t enough Black women in the corporate leadership pipelines at most major companies to reduce disparities between Black and White women, who are also vastly underrepresented at the highest levels of executive leadership.