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Solebury Trout is in constant dialog with our Investor Relations clients to help manage the multiple stresses driven by the ever-evolving COVID-19 crisis. In the past few weeks we have worked hard to develop a number of best practices and have encountered a growing list of common questions and pressures that corporates are facing in real-time. We have provided some summary observations below and are always available if you have an interest in speaking with us about how Solebury Trout can help your Investor Relations function at this critical point in every company’s equity messaging. For more information please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Preannouncement / Flash quarterly results
- If results are considerably lower than the Street’s expectations
- Removal, change or update to quarterly or full year guidance / outlook
- Capital and liquidity update
- Liquidity and credit
- Current cash position
- Available borrowings
- Draw down on revolver
- Review of key credit agreement provisions
- Debt maturity review
- Dividend cut or suspension
- Share repurchase suspension
- Capital expenditure reduction
- Liquidity and credit
- General business / operations update
- Supply shortages
- Expense initiatives
- Facility closures and operation suspensions
- Changes to employee base
- ESG related COVID-19 communications
- Specifically address Environmental, Social, Governance topics on IR landing page
- Changes to earnings timing
- Changes to timing / format of annual shareholders meeting
- Implementation of virtual shareholder meeting
- Shareholder rights agreements
- Quarterly shareholder letter
- Supplemental document to publish on the IR site along with other earnings materials
- Direct health impacts from COVID-19
- If members of c-suite or large number of employees contract COVID-19
- Investors and Analysts are prioritizing balance sheet concerns.
- There is debate on the degree to which the economic fallout has been priced at current levels.
- The duration of the virus impact is the key variable noted for assessing economic impact.
- Investors have generally been more focused on the macro picture versus single stocks.
- Demand for corporate access has increased significantly in an effort to extrapolate any information or gain insight into potential read-throughs across sectors.
- Investors are also looking for updates on how recent federal stimulus plans both for businesses and consumers will impact industries and single-companies.
- On guidance, most analysts and investors agree that withdrawing guidance is a prudent action.
- Proactive communication is earning points with investors. There is a view amongst investors that companies that have provided business updates are demonstrating conservatism and action.
- Ultimately analysts and investors are looking for more information and “no information is worse than bad information”. Investors and analysts agree that companies will be expected to offer incremental “real-time” or intraquarter updates as part of their 1Q20 earnings messaging.
- Since the onset of the COVID-19 crisis, over 900 companies have withdrawn their financial guidance due to the uncertainty in the evolving market environment.
- The majority of these companies withdrew their guidance for the full year.
- The investment community will be highly focused on up-to-date business commentary from companies on upcoming earnings calls.
- It will be difficult for companies to provide hard numbers around the financial impact from COVID-19 but investors have clearly expressed that any information is better than no information. We’ve outlined qualitative topics to address that may help investors size the impact of COVID-19:
- Demand trends
- End-market exposure
- Geographic exposure
- Supply chain disruptions
- Duration of impacted operations
- Working capital detail
As we work with clients during these unprecedented times, our corporate communications team has developed perspectives on COVID-19 communications. From best practices on engaging remote workforces, to tips for conducting virtual meetings and reaching stakeholders in the “new normal”, we are providing companies with resources for communicating through the crisis and beyond. For more information, please reach out to email@example.com.
As we move through the immediate crisis and into tough months ahead, strong internal communications will be more important than ever before to keep employees engaged and productive. READ MORE
Weeks into the crisis, we are realizing certain aspects of communications have likely changed for good. Here are some of the ways: READ MORE
Our life sciences investor relations, corporate communications, and capital markets advisory practice has been focused on providing leading solutions for our clients as they navigate the uncharted waters of the COVID-19 pandemic. As advisors steeped in healthcare, we’re skilled at anticipating areas in which the current pandemic may impact business operations and investor sentiment- whether it is clinical trial execution, timelines or accessing the capital markets. We have summarized a few of our recent initiatives in posts below. We’ll update these from time to time, so please revisit this page, or get in touch if you have questions about our work.
Maintaining open channels of communications with Wall Street is important for any successful investor relations program, and even more critical during a global health crisis. Solebury Trout created the Virtual Global Healthcare Series in March of 2020 in direct response to the COVID-19 pandemic, giving life sciences companies an immediate platform to fill the gap created by the shutdown of in-person investor meetings, banking and medical conferences. The virtual conference, comprised initially of four full days in March and April, enabled virtual one-on-one investor presentations during the critical time when communications was all but cutoff, allowing management teams to give timely updates to programs and report any potential impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic. Solebury Trout sourced an innovative technological platform that enabled live presentations and Q&A similar to what takes place in an in-person setting.
Highlights of these first four days include:
- Management presentations by 43 innovative biotech companies advancing cutting edge science to improve the treatment of diseases;
- High level of engagement from the investment community, with more than 1,000 unique participants over the course of the event;
- Enthusiastic reception of the technology platform used for the virtual meeting setting, with opportunities to build on the experience if the pandemic continues to limit travel and in-person meetings.
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Maintaining and communicating strong ESG principles during this period of significant business disruption will be vital for short, medium and long-term value creation as well as brand resilience. Management teams should expect more ‘S’ and ‘G’ oriented questions from investors in the weeks and months ahead, particularly as it relates to employee treatment and benefits, including healthcare and compensation, board oversight and engagement, supply chain management and contingency planning. Our entire team remains steadfast in its commitment to help companies navigate through this crisis to ensure we come out stronger on the other side. For more information on our ESG 360 platform, please contact Ari Frankel
Managing Director, Head of ESG.
The integration of environmental, social and governance (ESG) matters – both in corporate communications and investor analysis – has undoubtedly been on the rise for the last several years...READ MORE