Six months of turmoil: How coronavirus has impacted UK firms

Coronavirus has devastated economies around the world and the physical health of millions of people.

Corporations have been forced to close, adjust, or otherwise survive the disruption, with more and more cases causing stock markets to collapse.

Lockdown – launched in the UK 100 days ago – resulted in sparse main streets and planes that were forced to stay on the tarmac, but the expected reopening on July 4 is a silver lining for many companies.

Here the PA news agency examines how the UK's leading companies fared in the first six months of the year:

– The FTSE 100 – the index of the largest UK companies – opened the year at 7,542.44 on January 2 and closed at 6,169.74 on June 30, a decrease of 18.2% in six months.

– On March 23, the day Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced partial suspension across the UK, it fell below the 5,000 point mark.

– The FTSE 250 index, which contains more UK-focused companies, started the year at 21,883.40 and has since fallen 21.7% to close at 17,119.16 on Tuesday.

The online supermarket Ocado developed well in the first six months of the year
The online supermarket Ocado developed well in the first six months of the year (Nick Potts / PA).

– The price of a company stock is affected by a variety of factors – including news and performance, economic factors, industry trends, market sentiment – and can only give a limited insight into the future prospects after the lock has subsided. Even so, Ocado has been the biggest climber in the past six months, with stocks up 61.02% as people flock to shop online.

– Other FTSE 100 companies that saw price increases include Reckitt Benckiser (19.87%), which manufacture Dettol, Nurofen and Cillit Bang, and Flutter Entertainment – the holding company with Paddy Power and Betfair – that, despite the cancellation of many sports, around Events increased by 13.99%.

British Airways planes were grounded due to the Corona virus outbreak
British Airways aircraft were grounded due to the Corona Virus (Gareth Fuller / PA) outbreak

– The biggest fallers are companies that may find it difficult to recover quickly. The International Airlines Group, owners of British Airways and Iberia, fell 65.1%. Aerospace giant Rolls-Royce announced plans to cut at least 9,000 jobs and its stake fell 58.1%, while hotel and restaurant company Whitbread fell 47.17%.

– Travel and entertainment companies in the FTSE 250 have had strong success in the past six months: Cineworld fell 72.5%, Carnival 73% and one of the world's largest tour operators, TUI, 61.6%.

– AO Group, the purely online retailer of household appliances, grew 67.8%, while the Allianz Technology Trust – an investment trust – was strengthened by strong performance in technology stocks and grew by 38.3%.

– Two online fashion retailers listed on the Alternative Investment Market also saw their share price rise as sales on the main street collapsed. Boohoo.com has risen 37.8% since January 2, while Asos is trading at 3,423 pence, an increase of 3% since the beginning of the year.

– Outside of the UK, the video communications company Zoom has become a household name as more and more companies use the platform to stay in touch with employees who work from home while friends use the software. Customer growth was achieved with a share price increase of 268% in six months to $ 253.54.

– One of the most significant effects of the ban and Covid-19 in general was employment. Leading indicators from the Office of National Statistics for May indicate that Britain's workforce has dropped by more than 600,000 compared to March.

– Companies have also proposed to see further cuts in sight. Royal Mail announced the loss of 2,000 jobs last week after similar news was released from companies like British gas company Centrica and airlines easyJet and British Airways.



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