Factsheet Commentary : November 2020

The UK has become the first country in the world to grant emergency use authorisation for the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech. With 40 million doses already ordered, this should enable the rollout to start imminently – some relief, at last.

In Greek mythology, Scylla and Charybdis were sea monsters that flanked a narrow channel of water, forcing ships to travel on one side or the other, choosing which beast they would rather face. A similar dilemma is described by the modern day expression “between a rock and a hard place” – which is exactly where our government finds itself today. In need of a vaccine to help save lives and rebuild decimated businesses but faced with scepticism as to how it will be administered and how quickly it can protect people – particularly the most vulnerable.

The pandemic has ushered in fundamental changes to the way that we work, play, interact and entertain ourselves and many of these changes will be long lasting. One such change is that, going forward, we are likely to be increasingly conscious of personal hygiene and personal protection.

This was one of the factors that influenced our decision to participate in the recent IPO of HeiQ, a Swiss based company providing world class technology that adds functionality to textiles, offering benefits such as: improved cooling or warming, water repellence, odour prevention, air purification and antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal protection. With the size of the global textile chemical market estimated at $25bn, HeiQ has a large addressable market with plenty of growth potential. Across its various technologies, HeiQ now serves over 300 household brands, including IKEA, M&S, Burberry and even Cornelia James, supplier of gloves to Her Majesty the Queen. The company’s new Viroblock technology can trace its origins back to a solution developed in response to the Ebola outbreak and has led to a raft of products that are in high demand in the current COVID-19 environment, such as an anti-viral mask, which remains effective for up to 30 washes. HeiQ is among the very few UK listed companies whose products are truly scalable on a global stage. We welcome the company to London – and into our portfolio.

We may all be in the same pandemic “storm” but we are not all in the same boat. Those who have been complaining about the inconvenience of working from home should reflect and empathise with those who have lost their loved ones or livelihood.

2020 will be a year that we will all remember but would rather forget. COVID-19 has not only changed the way we work but also kept us away from the people we love the most – our family and friends. As the curtain falls on what has been a difficult year, we would like to wish all our investors a happy, healthy and prosperous 2021.

Sterling Investments Management Ltd
Lynwood House 2-4 Crofton Road,
Orpington, England, BR6 8QE

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