ASX 200 flat, Mesoblast (ASX:MSB) rises

The ASX 200 (ASX: XJO) is currently flat, but there were a few pieces of news today.

Mesoblast Limited (ASX: MSB)

Mesoblast announced that its lead product candidate remestemcel-L has been selected as the winner of the Fierce Innovation Awards – Life Sciences Edition 2020 for Biotech Innovation.

The awards highlight companies that demonstrate innovative solutions, technologies and services that have the potential to make the greatest impact for biotech and pharma companies.

The evaluation criteria are: effectiveness, technical innovation, competitive advantage, financial impact, and true innovation.

The awards program’s applications were reviewed by a panel of executives from major biotech and pharma companies including Astellas, Accenture, AstraZeneca, Angiocrine Bioscience, Biotech Research Group, NIHR Clinical Research Network, Medidata Solutions and PPD.

Mesoblast CEO Dr Silviu Itescu said: “This important award is recognition of Mesoblast’s leadership as an innovator in the cell therapy industry, and of the potential for remestemcel-L to profoundly impact the lives of children suffering with steroid-refractory acute graft versus host disease.”

Another takeover offer for Opticomm Ltd (ASX: OPC)

Uniti Group Ltd (ASX: UWL) has offered a higher binding bid for Opticomm.

It was announced on 15 June 2020 that Uniti was going to acquire Opticomm for a value of $5.20 per share, which included a fully franked special dividend of $0.10 per share.

On 8 September 2020 Opticomm announced it had received an offer from First State Superannuation. The non-binding offer was worth $5.85 per Opticomm share.

Last night, Uniti revised its binding offer to a value of $5.85 per share.

The new offer is for $4.835 cash per OptiComm share (including a fully franked special dividend of $0.10 per share) and 0.80537 Uniti shares per Opticomm share.

At this stage, OptiComm hasn’t received a binding proposal from First State, so the Opticomm Board considers the revised Uniti offer to be superior.

Accordingly, Opticomm is continuing the process with Uniti.

Qantas Airways Limited (ASX: QAN) to relocate?

Qantas is looking to see what other costs it can reduce according to the AFR.

Qantas is thinking about moving its HQ to another state with the new Western Sydney Airport a potential location. It’s going to review all of its rented space, particularly its corporate offices. An office in Mascot, Sydney and Jetstar’s leased head office in Collingwood, Melbourne will be looked at.

The AFR said Qantas indicated “some aviation facilities, such as flight simulator centres currently in Sydney and Melbourne as well as Qantas’ heavy maintenance facilities in Brisbane, would also be considered for relocation, particularly if there was an opportunity to bring some or all of those facilities together somewhere within Australia”.

Qantas Chief Financial Officer Vanessa Hudson said: “Like most airlines, the ongoing impact of COVID means we’ll be a much smaller company for a while. We’re looking right across the organisation for efficiencies, including our $40 million annual spend on leased office space.

Most of our activities and facilities are anchored to the airports we fly to, but anything that can reasonably move without impacting our operations or customers is on the table as part of this review. We’ll also be making the new Western Sydney Airport part of our thinking, given the opportunity this greenfield project represents.”

Other news

The team over at Rask Media have covered the rest of today’s news, so make sure you head over there for more ASX share market coverage.

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