United Kingdom

MARKET REPORT: Indivior soars as it settles legal battle with Reckitt

Investors in Indivior celebrated after the pharmaceuticals group and its former parent company Reckitt Benckiser put an end to a bitter and costly legal battle.

Dettol-maker Reckitt has dropped a £1billion claim related to a US probe after Indivior agreed to pay it £36million over the next five years. 

Both have also agreed to drop all liabilities against one another in a settlement that will save them millions in legal costs.

Lawsuit: Indivior has spent years wrangling with US authorities, who accused the company of fraudulently marketing its bestselling opioid addiction treatment suboxone

Indivior has spent years wrangling with US authorities, who accused it of fraudulently marketing its best-selling opioid addiction treatment suboxone by underplaying safety risks. 

It is one of the few corporate prosecutions related to the US prescription opioid epidemic, which has been blamed for hundreds of thousands of overdose deaths.

Last year Indivior agreed to pay £440million to settle the case and a former boss pleaded guilty to fraud charges, landing him jail time and fines. 

Indivior was spun out of Reckitt in 2014 – but because a lot of the charges related to actions carried out before the separation, Reckitt also faced lawsuits and eventually reached a £1billion settlement with US authorities last year.

Stock Watch - Getech 

Energy software group Getech is trying to find the best places to put hydrogen fuel hubs in the UK, under an agreement with hydrogen supplier H2 Green.

There is a growing push for buses and lorries to switch from polluting diesel fuels to more eco-friendly hydrogen.

But a major shift is not yet feasible because there are so few refuelling points. 

Shares rose 85.3 per cent, or 11.6p, to 25.2p on news of the deal, which gives Getech the option to buy H2 Green for up to £1million.

Reckitt said it had the right to claim this back from Indivior.

But this has now been scrapped under the truce, which was announced after the market closed on Monday.

The resolution sent Indivior shares 13.1 per cent higher, up 16.8p, to 144.7p, which meant it topped the FTSE 350 leaderboard.

But the terms were less well received by Reckitt’s backers. Shares fell 2.7 per cent, or 178p, to 6376p, making it the largest faller on the FTSE 100.

The wider market rose, with the Footsie closing up 0.2 per cent, or 15.16 points, at 6654.01, and the FTSE 250 0.5 per cent higher, up 97.95 points, to 20,448.36. 

Airlines and travel groups were back in favour after a bruising start to the week, when their shares were whacked by the Government mulling plans to introduce expensive quarantines for people coming into the UK.

Easyjet rose 0.3 per cent, or 1.8p, to 730.4p, while British Airways-owner IAG was virtually flat at 139.95p and Jet2 climbed 3 per cent, or 37p, to 1255p.

But Whitbread was knocked after JP Morgan analysts said that although the hotel chain will be the first to recover from the crisis because of its focus on the UK, it will take until 2024-2025 for room revenues to get back to 2019 levels. The Holiday Inn-owner slid 3.3 per cent, or 100p, to 2935p.

Elsewhere, the effects of the third lockdown weighed on sushi and sandwich-maker Greencore.

It reported a 15pc drop in revenue during its first quarter, when it made £313million in the 13 weeks to December 25. It said the latest Covid measures meant total turnover fell 20 per cent and sales of its food-to-go products were 35 per cent lower.

This is less extreme than during the first full lockdown but not enough of a silver lining to keep Greencore in the black. The stock fell 2.8 per cent, or 3.3p, to 113.2p.

Irn Bru-maker AG Barr said annual profits would be higher than expected even though it will take a hit from closures of pubs and restaurants. 

But the trading update – for the year ended January 24 – failed to make AG Barr’s shares fizz. It closed 0.7 per cent higher, up 3.5p, at 500p.

Astrazeneca (up 0.7 per cent, or 55p, to 7952p) received a boost after its mild asthma treatment, symbicort, was approved in China.

It came as the pharmaceuticals heavyweight was embroiled with a battle with German newspaper Handelsblatt over claims its Covid vaccine is only 8 per cent effective for those over the age of 65, which Astra vehemently denies.

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