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First Move with Julia Chatterley
Haitian President Jovenel Moise Assassinated; The Pentagon's $10 Billion JEDI Contract with Microsoft Canceled; Ever Given, the Ship that Blocked the Suez Canal is finally free. Aired 9-9:45a ET
Aired July 07, 2021 - 09:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JULIA CHATTERLEY, CNN BUSINESS ANCHOR, FIRST MOVE: Live from New York. I'm Julia Chatterley. This is FIRST MOVE and here is your need-to-know.
DiDi danger. Shares slump once again as the IPO criticism builds.
Amazon strikes back. The Pentagon's $10 billion JEDI contract with Microsoft canceled.
And Ever Given goes. The ship that blocked the Suez Canal is finally free.
It's Wednesday. And today we begin with breaking news.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
CHATTERLEY: The White House is condemning the assassination of Haiti's President calling it a quote, "horrific attack."
President Jovenel Moise was killed in his home overnight by a group of unidentified attackers. Officials say the First Lady was also shot and is
receiving medical treatment. CNN's Melissa Bell is covering the story for us. Melissa, awful, awful news. What more do we know?
MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT Well, extraordinary. A President assassinated in his own bed overnight, extraordinary events that have taken
place in the Haitian capital, and a measure really, Julia, of the insecurity that has really come to dominate the country and pose such a
problem to the government of Moise himself, until his assassination overnight.
We await to hear more details on the state of health of the First Lady also with a reaction of ordinary Haitians will be, almost since his election
first in 2016, an election that was then overturned because of fraud allegations, and the re-election in 2017, the government, successive
governments of Jovenel Moise have been contested from the streets by the opposition parties, with many of the opposition parties accusing him of
trying to gain an ever tighter hold on power.
All eyes were very much on the presidential elections that were due to be held later this year in order to try and get the country out of at least
the political crisis in which it found itself. Now, many questions about what happens next in a country that's been beset not only, Julia, by that
political crisis, but an economic one that we're talking about the poorest country in the Americas, where 60 percent of the population live on less
than $2.00 a day, lots of protests these last few years against the Moise rule, allegations of corruption there as well at the center of those and
much will depend over the coming hours and days on how the people react to this news.
With that statement we've had from the acting Prime Minister, the source of all that information we have so far about precisely what happened within
the private residence of the presidency overnight. That statement clearly saying, look, forces of law and order are in control of security, and
everything is under control.
It's really what happens over the coming hours, I think, and days that will give us a sense of whether that holds or not -- Julia.
CHATTERLEY: Yes. And what about the international reaction, Melissa?
BELL: Well, that's been pouring in, condemnation of the assassination has been becoming from several countries, including the United Kingdom,
overnight; the United States, as you mentioned, and this is a country that the world will be keeping a very close eye on. It had already been because
of the instability of it.
You'll remember, it was back in 1994, the United States had sent troops in to restore the power of the first a properly elected President of Haiti and
his team would come to power in 1990. It was the first time the country had held free and fair elections. He'd been overthrown by a coup d'etat that
Washington at the time back in 1994, had considered sufficiently threatening to the stability of the region that some 3,000 American forces
were sent in.
So, a lot of attention will be paid over the coming days, as I say to the security there, all the more so I think, Julia, because what we've seen
these last few months beyond the political crisis, beyond the economic crisis, the worsening of the situation, the rising prices of the cost of
living for, as I say, a population that is under extraordinary pressure economically already, is also this worsening of the insecurity -- the
gangs, the extortion, the kidnappings, the ransoms.
This is something we've seen increasing over the course of the last few months, and we have yet to learn really, what sort of assassination
happened overnight, whether it was political, whether it was a question of criminal gangs. Either way, it is a measure, Julia of just how chaotic and
difficult life is in Haiti right now.
CHATTERLEY: Crisis upon crisis. Melissa Bell, thank you so much for that and we will continue to follow this story here on CNN and bring you any
further developments the moment we get them.
For now, let's bring it back to FIRST MOVE and what's coming up on today's show.
Amazon versus Microsoft. The force is with the new Amazon CEO Andy Jassy as The Pentagon abandons the $10 billion JEDI contract. It's Rubio versus Wall
Street, too. The U.S. Senator blasting the NYSE for allowing the DiDi listing.
CHATTERLEY: And the UAE versus Saudis, the OPEC remains deadlocked over production, the oil markets still searching and hoping for some level of
And last, but not least, as you were just hearing for football fans, it's all about England versus Denmark, too, in today's Euro 2020 semifinals,
with sincere apologies to our delightful Danish viewers this time around.
Let me say once again, go England, and congratulations, of course, to Italy, as well.
What about the bulls versus the bears on Wall Street? Well, it's clear to me with tech rising to new records as Treasury yields tumble to February
lows; and in Europe as well, Germany, as you can see outperforming as the E.U. raises its growth outlook for the Eurozone to near five percent this
year. The big risk, of course, to all of this the delta variant and the spread of that.
In Asia, a seventh straight session of losses, meanwhile for Hong Kong led by technology stocks with reports, Beijing will tighten rules on Chinese
listings overseas. I'll tell you what, I don't expect any Chinese tech IPOs in particular in the United States for a while and probably in hindsight,
the postponed Ant Group IPO, if you remember that was probably a line in the sand.
What about U.S. Congress? Well, fascinating, as I've mentioned already to see Florida Senator Marco Rubio lambasting DiDi's listing on the NYSE as
And that's where we begin the drivers. Clare Sebastian joins me now. Irresponsible. He also called it reckless, Clare, and he pointed to the
fact that pensioners, people whose life savings are invested in the stock market will have also lost out and he makes a valid point there, I think.
CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT Yes, Julia, his point is, is the issue of transparency around Chinese companies that are listed in the
U.S. This is what he said. He said, "Even if the stock rebounds, American investors still have no insight into the company's financial strength
because the Chinese Communist Party blocked U.S. regulators from reviewing the books."
He continues, "That puts the investments of American retirees at risk and funnels desperately needed U.S. dollars into Beijing."
Now, the issue of whether the Chinese Communist Party blocks access to reviewing the books of these companies, this is something the S.E.C. has
spoken about in the past. They say that the problem is that the U.S. regulators can't get access to the firms in China who audit these U.S.
listed companies. And that's where they say that the key risk in these companies lie and you know, that is part of the issue here, transparency, a
concept, according to experts understood differently in China and the U.S.
And the issue for DiDi is how do they move forward from this? Because what the Chinese regulator has said is that they are illegally using personal
data and it is hard to see how their business gets around that.
They are, you know, a ride-hailing company -- taxi-hailing. They have huge troves of personal data, and that is that is putting them at a real
crossroads. They could see a hit to revenue because of not being able to be downloaded in China. And of course, the money that they raised from the IPO
that was supposed to be funneled into expanding the business, that is also, you know, a big question now, where do they go from here?
CHATTERLEY: Yes, there are many questions that arise here, and ironies, too. I mean, you've got reports that the Chinese government is looking to
restrict Chinese firms' ability to come over to international markets, the United States in particular and list. You've already had a U.S. government
and this next U.S. government that has not really done anything to change it, throwing Chinese companies onto the blacklist -- Huawei comes to mind.
So actually, the two nations are aligned in some kind of decoupling of the financial markets. It begs the question, why come? Why come to the United
States? Why did DiDi list in the United States at all, or any company?
SEBASTIAN: Ye, the pull of New York, Julia, continues to be very strong for a number of reasons that the reputational sort of, you know, uplift you
get from listing on the New York Stock Exchange, or the NASDAQ. The liquidity of those markets is unmatched, there is a huge pool of investors.
There's of course, a world famous tried and tested IPO process and of course, the fundamentals of the U.S. economy as well, you know, rebounding
very strongly after the pandemic and of course, very strong even before that.
The numbers are still very high of Chinese companies coming to list here. According to Jefferies, 10 Chinese companies launched U.S. IPOs in 2020.
That was over 20 percent of the market excluding SPAC. So, still extremely, extremely strong.
And I will say that look, what we saw when the market opened yesterday, after the Fourth of July holiday, the massive drop in DiDi's stock, you did
see some of the other Chinese listed companies go down, too. The likes of JD.com and Baidu, but those are now coming back up this morning.
So, I think U.S. investors perhaps repricing it for a bit of this political risk, but they're still interested in these stocks.
CHATTERLEY: Yes, still interested in these stocks. Two words, Hong Kong. It reminds you of the importance of that as a conduit between the
international markets and China.
Fascinating. Clare Sebastian, thank you so much for that.
CHATTERLEY: All right, it looks like the force is not with Microsoft after all. The Pentagon canceling a $10 billion Cloud contract known as JEDI,
which was awarded to the tech giant over Amazon during the Trump era.
Paul La Monica is here to explain all the details. Paul, and of course, 20 months have passed since that contract was awarded. Amazon filed a lawsuit
the next day and said, hey, this was political because President Trump used his influence to prevent us getting it, and now it's been abandoned.
PAUL LA MONICA, CNN BUSINESS REPORTER: Yes, a huge legal battle ensued, as you point out, Julia, because of course, we know that President Trump was
not a fan of Amazon and CEO at the time, Jeff Bezos -- he is no longer CEO -- we now have AWS head, Andy Jassy in charge of Amazon.
And, of course, I think there were legitimate concerns about The Pentagon being influenced by the White House, and that was the reason for the
decision to potentially go with Microsoft. That's now all off the table and we're going to have a new contract open for other bidders.
So, Amazon is back in the fray, Microsoft can still bid. But you might see other big Cloud companies like Oracle and IBM and Google owner Alphabet,
potentially submit bids for this new contract. Now, it won't be called JEDI -- sorry, "Star Wars" fans.
CHATTERLEY: I know we've lost all the opportunities to make puns about the force returning, the forces with who, and we'll up to get over it.
The share price reaction on this, it was quite interesting. Amazon up a little bit, something is better than nothing if you can somehow get a piece
of this going forward, hopefully. Microsoft, a little change, so perhaps they understood that this was always going to be embattled and challenged
going forward, too. What replaces it, Paul?
LA MONICA: Yes, I mean, I think we're going to have a new bidding process and Amazon is perceived to be a leading contender. And I think that is one
of the reasons why Amazon stocks surged yesterday to a new all-time. It's up again today.
And this really is fascinating as it comes, as we pointed out, as Andy Jassy is now the CEO of Amazon. It's not Jeff Bezos anymore. Jassy
obviously has the Cloud chops, and I think many investors are hopeful that Amazon will build its Cloud unit even more under Jassy as the head of the
entire company, and winning part of this new DoD contract could be a feather in his cap if Amazon winds up getting some of this new contract.
CHATTERLEY: Yes, I think the key word there is "some of this." I wonder whether you just avoid all future legal suits and just share it out among
the most successful Cloud players in the nation, quite frankly.
What about a breakup fee? Is there a breakup fee when you have an instant legal battle, but you've promised a contract to somebody? It's a government
contract, and it was, after all, worth $10 billion.
LA MONICA: Yes, there's no breakup fee specifically laid out per se, but the DoD has said that Microsoft can apply for a bit of recouping of some of
the costs as part of a termination process whether or not it gets that and how much remains to be seen, because of course, Microsoft still could wind
up winning a big chunk of whatever this new contract looks like.
CHATTERLEY: Yes, Paul La Monica, we shall wait and see. Thank you very much for that.
Let's move on. The Ever Given, given freedom. The containership that blocked the Suez Canal back in March is finally able to continue its
journey. It was allowed to leave after the Japanese company that owned it reached a compensation deal with Egyptian authorities. Hopefully, we'll be
able to take you there shortly for the latest.
But for now, we're going to take a break here on FIRST MOVE, and coming up, new opportunities are taking flight with AirAsia, although they are closer
to the ground. The CEO Tony Fernandez is next.
And one of the biggest names in African pharma just got a huge injection of cash, Aspen Pharmacare CEO joins us to talk supercharging vaccines on the
That's next. Stay with us.
CHATTERLEY: Welcome back to FIRST MOVE.
As I was saying before the break, this is a take two. The Ever Given, given freedom, we hope. The giant containership that blocked the Suez Canal back
in March is finally able to continue its journey. It was allowed to leave after the Japanese company that owned it reached a compensation deal with
Ben Wedeman joins us with more. Ben, the burning question here: do we know what the compensation was that now allows the Ever Given to escape?
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Julia, no, we do not know the precise details. We do know sort of what was behind it in terms of
the arguments. Now, on the 29th of March, the Ever Given was freed by Egyptian engineers, workers, and a Dutch salvage company. But almost
immediately afterwards, the Egyptian government through the Suez Canal authority made demands for compensation, and an Egyptian court demanded --
basically ordered the seizure of the Ever Given until a settlement was reached.
Initially, the Egyptian government was demanding $916 million in compensation that includes $300 million for the salvage operation, in
addition to $300 million for reputational damage to the Suez Canal.
Now, the insurance company balked obviously at that. The Egyptians lowered their demand to around $550 million, with the insurance company making a
counter offer of $150 million. But the actual contents of the agreement will remain secret.
However, there was this signing ceremony of this settlement today in Ismailia and Khaled Abu Bakr, the Egyptian lawyer for the Suez Canal
Authority, said afterwards that the Ever Given will always be welcome in the Suez Canal. And a statement from the Japanese company that owns the
ship said that that company and the ship will continue to be a regular and loyal customer of the Suez Canal.
So, it was a complicated legal process, but it appears that the relationship still stands -- Julia.
CHATTERLEY: Yes, it does. Ben, great to have you with us. Ben Wedeman there, thank you.
Now, when the going gets tough, the tough get going. And for AirAsia Group that means diversification beyond call, low cost air travel. The group says
by 2024, half of its sales will be from alternative sources and they're already developing a super app, a logistics business and a payments arm
called Big Pay, amongst others.
Today, they announced the acquisition of Gojek's operations in Thailand. Gojek as we learned yesterday, if you remember, is an Indonesian ride-
hailing and payment service and Tony Fernandes, the CEO of AirAsia is here with more.
Tony, congratulations on the deal. Talk us through what this brings to your group.
TONY FERNANDES, CEO, AIRASIA GROUP: Thanks very much. Well, it's a big statement for us, of intention. I mean Gojek is probably the most foremost
unicorn in Southeast Asia, and you know, them selling us their operation in Thailand and investing in our operation gives us a lot of credibility and
also gives us a lot of speed that we can ramp up our ambitions much quicker now. So, a big day for us.
CHATTERLEY: What do you bring to this business that perhaps some of the other competitors in the region don't have or aren't doing well? Because,
you know, I look at some of the Gojek business in Thailand, they made a loss in 2019. They made a loss in 2020. There's Grab there already. There's
Estonia's Bolt that's making headway. What difference is you acquiring this business and operating there going to make when there's already fierce
competition in Thailand, let's be clear?
FERNANDES: Yes, I mean, number one, that competition is only in Bangkok, I mean, AirAsia has a huge brand in Thailand. We operate in virtually every
primary, secondary, and tertiary city. So, you know, the battle has been in Bangkok. What we've been good at is going into secondary and tertiary
Plus, we're going to grow the business much more. We're not just ride hailing, we're not just food, we have a very, very big travel business. We
have a very, very big Fintech business as well.
So, you know, we get some good kind of operations from Gojek, and we supplement our brand, our data, plus some other lines of business, which
are predicated around Fintech and logistics as well.
CHATTERLEY: What about profitability? Do you have any sense of how quickly you can sort of branch out into those second and third tier cities, which
is a great point? And actually, we were discussing that with GoTo -- the President of GoTo yesterday and the opportunities in China? So, it's
certainly something that resonates. But do you have a sort of timeframe for that?
FERNANDES: Yes, I mean, you know, we're in the business of making money, even though I'm an airline. And we don't understand some of these unicorns
that, you know, have -- I mean, they have fueled with loads and loads of capital, so they're giving away their product.
But we believe within 12 months in Malaysia, we already are making money on our super app. So, within 12 months, we feel quite confident we will be
profitable. The strong thing that we bring is, you know, 19 years with lots of data, and a brand that people know, supplemented by a very strong
ecosystem. So, I'm hoping within 12 months, we will be profitable.
CHATTERLEY: You know, it's fascinating, and I mentioned the statistic when I introduced you at the beginning, because it was what we discussed last
time you were on, this idea that 50 percent of your revenue is going to be outside of the core airline business by 2024.
I mean, you have from what I see, an engineering firm, aviation services; the food group, Suntan. You've got the super app logistics. Big Pay, the
payments business as well. Can you give me a breakdown of what the revenues are today and what that looks like, just in terms of these pieces of the
business, even just broadly?
FERNANDES: Well, you know, it's going to be very gravitated towards the digital side right now, because aviation is kind of grounded at the moment.
But, you know, that will change. Borders are opening soon. So as my prediction remains the same, you know, 2024, we will be about 50/50.
But it's all you know -- it's all derived from the airline, which has created all these assets. You know, the fact that in the space of 18
months, we built Big Pay, which we've just applied just few days ago for a banking license into one of the number one, top kind of Fintech operations
here with 1.2 million members, that data, that consumer channel is allowing us to ramp up very quickly at a much lower cost than others.
CHATTERLEY: I mean, I saw that actually, the application for the banking license. How long does that take and give me some sense of your plans there
in scaling up because that is quite fascinating.
FERNANDES: Yes, I mean, the Central Bank has closed all applications now. There were 29. And they're going to give out five licenses. So you know, we
have a one in six chance. They are talking about announcing the winner sometime next year, by the second quarter. So again, I think what we bring
to the party is inclusivity. You know, we're probably one of the few brands in Asia.
When I took over AirAsia, only six percent of Malaysians flew. Now, everyone flies. That could be the same that could be said for the unbanked
and the financial services products that many people are still not included in that Fintech -- in that financial system.
So, we know how to communicate. We know how to make a point simple and get more people that are unbanked to be banked. And the fact is, over the last
18 months, you know many people who didn't use many Fintech products, such as remittances, et cetera, all trading online now, sending their
remittances online. Many of them are our customers, and they're doing it on their mobile phone as opposed to the traditional methods of going to
Western Union or even more expensive methodologies.
So, I think what we bring to the party is inclusivity and value. It's very important to me that our products are not high cost, you know, we're not
preying on these people to charge them inflated interest rates. We are using their data to price products properly, get them included into the
FERNANDES: And also, a large part of the market is people that fly with us, which is SME, Small and Medium Enterprises, who really haven't got a
great banking service. So, consumers plus small and medium enterprise companies is where we're targeting and getting them included into the
CHATTERLEY: It's sort of the same model that you applied to low cost air travel as well, as you say, but you've already got the sort of -- the
investor or not the investor, the customer base already to try and tap into, or at least, the beginnings of it, I'm sure it will get bigger.
FERNANDES: Yes, that's the beauty. One of the things airlines haven't realized, which I realized early on 19 years ago, when I started AirAsia,
and I came from the music business, right, I thought one of the biggest assets was the customer. And the fact that once you have the trust of the
customer, you can sell other things to it.
So, we built a direct communication with the customer. We didn't go through travel agents. You know, we used the website. We were very early into e-
commerce. We owned our own magazine, et cetera. And ancillary income contributed 20 percent of our revenues, but 50 percent of our profits.
And now with the digital world, we're just extending that into new products and services. But airline data is very rich. You know, you can't make up
your name. We've got a lot of loyalty information. And it's a slightly higher spend than going in a ride-hailing cab or buying some food. And you
know, your KYC.
So, that's the biggest asset. I didn't see the data revolution 19 years ago, but I always wanted to keep my connection with the customer, and not
have any intermediary so I could sell other things. And then when this amazing Industrial Revolution came along, we decided to move into it using
the biggest asset we had, which was our data and our knowledge of our customers.
CHATTERLEY: Yes, that was a lightbulb moment, the depth of the data is definitely a differentiating factor. As you said, right now that the
revenue split is sort of dominated by the digital side, simply because of the challenge of air travel. I mean, what are you seeing? And what are you
thinking is we see cases rising in places like Indonesia, places like Malaysia, as we've recently talked about on the show, and do you think we
ever get to the point where you can seamlessly travel with vaccinations? Because we're clearly not there yet, and it's a real struggle, I think
around the world.
FERNANDES: Yes, but I mean, we have to take some kind of solace from the U.S. and Europe, where vaccinations are substantially higher. It appears
that, you know, I mean, the U.K. has loads and loads of cases, but hospitalizations and deaths are much more manageable. And so as the world
get vaccinate -- as the world gets vaccinated, then travel will rebound in a strong way.
So, we believe we're probably without, you know, four or five months behind Europe. And in some ways ahead as the delta variant is quite prevalent
here. It's happening in Spain, it's happening in the U.K. and parts of America now. But vaccination is the answer.
You know, God-willing, there's no other variant. But at the moment, it appears all the vaccines work with the delta variant, et cetera, and so the
key is getting that supply up. Now, we were obviously behind the curve in supply as Europe and America took a large part of it. That supply is coming
Malaysia had a record day yesterday of 330,000 vaccinations, which is a remarkable. One percent of our population in a day. So, you know, I believe
by September, we think the trigger point is about 50 percent of the population having double vaccinations; and in parts of Asia now, we are
getting the Johnson & Johnson and the CanSino vaccine, which is one shot.
So that's our -- that's our kind of passport, and our, you know, get-out- of-jail card, and it appears to be picking up speed. And, you know, we take solace from what's happening in the States and Europe. So September-
CHATTERLEY: Yes. Fingers crossed. That's the sort of timeline that you're looking at.
CHATTERLEY: Tony, I just want to point out because I do watch your Instagram and I did see a sleeping video of you, which was really funny
because you've clearly been working all hours to get this this deal done. I think my team have got it, so we might be able to show it or we might not,
but anyway, seriously, I just wondered -- we don't have it. What a shame because it's really funny.
But you did mention among a few things, England, and the game coming up. Any views on whether England can be deadlocked and whether England can take
home the Euros?
FERNANDES: Yes. I'm off to bed after this. I'm waking up at three in the morning to go watch it. You know, people are wondering why I am supporting
England. I've never been a traditional English quarterback, but I know so many in the team, and I think it's time for England to win the Euros and to
stop talking about the 1966 World Cup.
FERNANDES: It's a good team. Good lads. Good guys. You know, it's a shame it's Denmark because I mean, I saw the lad from the Denmark, the captain,
and obviously they've got all that emotional thing with Christensen, but I really do hope England bring it home and it would be great for the country
and great for, you know, for all the people.
CHATTERLEY: Yes. We can't keep harking back to that World Cup in 1966. It's about time.
Tony, I've got to let you go. Go to bed. Go to bed and get some sleep, please, and congratulations on the deal.
FERNANDES: Thank you. Thanks a lot and good luck.
CHATTERLEY: Tony Fernandes, the AirAsia CEO. Thank you.
We're back after this for the market open.
CHATTERLEY: Welcome back to FIRST MOVE. U.S. stocks are up and running on this Wednesday, and we've got a brand new record for tech in early trading,
but blue chips are flat, and fresh weakness in financials as bond yields dropped to levels not seen since February.
The benchmark 10-year yield close to the key 1.3 percent level amid concern in the bond market that U.S. growth may be peaking, that, pressuring the
likes of JPMorgan, Bank of America, and pretty much all of the major U.S. banks whose profits benefit from higher yields. You can charge higher
We continue to monitor growing uncertainty surrounding U.S.-listed Chinese tech shares, too. Broader tech investors seemingly unperturbed, but just
take a look at that. Shares of ride-hailing app, DiDi, as we've been discussing, falling once again after being targeted by Beijing in a broader
cybersecurity data crackdown.
Okay, let's move on. Vaccinating Africa. Aspen Pharmacare, the largest pharmaceutical company in Africa is working with Johnson & Johnson to make
COVID-19 vaccines. Aspen has also announced it has raised more than $700 million from global institutions, including the World Bank to ramp up its
And joining us now Stephen Saad, he is the CEO of Aspen Pharmacare. Stephen, fantastic to have you on the show. Congratulations on the cash
injection and we'll talk about that and what you're going to do with the money in a few moments, but just start by explaining who you are and what
you do and what you're already doing, as far as COVID vaccines are concerned.
STEPHEN SAAD, CEO, ASPEN PHARMACARE: So, in terms of COVID vaccines, we are doing the full finish for Johnson & Johnson, and what that means is
that you receive the drug substance or the API. You receive it in a sort of a frozen bottle, and then you churn that and turn it into a vaccine, and
that's what we do.
And we probably are the leading supplier at the moment to Johnson & Johnson, and I'm very proud to have done that, because all the other
manufacturers were either in Europe or the U.S. initially. So, we're very pleased to be to have done this successfully.
CHATTERLEY: I mean, the vast majority of vaccines that Africa, the continent uses are imported. So, having some kind of manufacturing
capability, even to your point if it is late stage manufacturing, the fill and finish is vitally important. What does this money, this just over $700
million investment allow you to do now?
SAAD: I think your point is so correct about, you know, capacitation of Africa and needing your own capacities. So, what this cash injection did
was actually Aspen had all its own funding and has its own end, this really was just -- it is a commercial loan, in the same way our existing
commercial lines are. So, we are actually substituting finance.
For us, what was far more important was the people that were backing us at the World Bank, et cetera who were particularly committed and are committed
to capacitating Africa, because what we found, as you said, over 90 percent of our vaccines are imported, a very high majority from India.
So when India cut off all exports, effectively, Africa was left without vaccines, particularly as you know, there was an issue at the Baltimore
plant of the drug substance for the J&J vaccine.
So, if you don't have any capacity, you don't have any product, no one is going to supply your product before they own countries, so best you have
your own capacitation. So, what we are really hoping for with strong backers here is to look for things like technology transfers.
And you know, we don't want a technology transfer for free, we will pay by dose. But you know, if the world keeps saying we're not safe until we are
all safe, you know, I keep saying but Africa says listen, we'd like to be safe at the same time, because they have the money to buy the vaccines,
they just can't access them quickly enough.
So, it's a very sad situation, but it is one in which that has sort of woken and shaken the continent. And from an Aspen perspective, we've got
two objectives. One is we'd like to build our capacities and capabilities up to sort of one person, one syringe for Africa. So, that would be
capacities beyond a billion sort of COVID doses.
And then we'd like to more broadly capacitate the continent where we've got other facilities as well, so that we never again are left at the back of
the queue. But a very important injection for us, more of influence of people who we hope will help ultimately get the technology transfers that
we require to be able to look after this continent.
CHATTERLEY: There was so much in there, important information. I think the statistic that you gave, and we agree, 99 percent of vaccines are imported,
and you get to a crisis like this, and people restricting supplies, whether that's India or the United States, and suddenly Africa is left far, far
To your point, though, Stephen about technology transfers, we had the World Bank President on the show, talking about vaccine manufacturing hubs
actually having places that do have the scientific capabilities and the credentials already to acquire those patents and to manufacture vaccines.
Are you one of those people, if you were given the patent, could you start from scratch and produce COVID-19 vaccines?
SAAD: Sure. And my view on that is, you know, when one has technology, we have to respect their technology, and so I'm very comfortable to pay for it
and the drugs -- but what you really need as a transfer, a technology transfer to really get to speed.
So, if you really want to help people quick, you need to get to speed. We would be -- we are participants and we'd be recipients of a transfer of
that intellectual property, so that you could get it to speed, but certainly your points are valid and the W.H.O. and many others are talking
about setting up hubs like this.
And I think these are going to be important, but you've also got to be careful, they don't end up like, you know white elephants like some of
these sort of post-World Cup soccer stadiums or rugby stadiums. You've got to be able to keep these factories warm and keep the technologies warm.
And so there's quite a bit that one needs to think about because by the time you rush in and put in a certain technology for COVID vaccine, maybe
COVID is over, and then what do you do?
So, it's very important it is integrated into a strategic business plan beyond COVID only.
CHATTERLEY: Talk to me about supplies that you can produce now as a result of this investment, what we're looking at, at this stage, and where you
anticipate they will grow?
SAAD: So right now, we could produce about 300 million doses. By the end of the year, we'll be up to closer to 450 million doses, and we want over
the next two years, get that up to a billion doses.
So that's -- and when we put in, we know, we really built and paid for most of the infrastructure. So, it's really a little -- it's not massive CapEx
required, because it will be adding machinery. But once again, we want to know that that machinery can be utilized more broadly, and that's where
being part of Africa now is going to be important, that Africa draws together, because Africa has got a lot of people, well over a billion
And this is a consumer product, you know, one person, one vaccine, whatever it might be, or two vaccines. So, Africa has a lot of demand, and if we
work together and try and place that demand with that through our own facilities, our own capacity together with technology partners, we are in a
position to keep our factories busy sustainably.
Aspen has an added advantage in that we are one of the largest suppliers of anesthetics globally, and those also go into a similar facility, and
require vials and prefilled syringes and similar technology. S, we would maybe be able to take those technologies we have in anesthetics, and put it
more broadly across the African continent as well.
CHATTERLEY: Yes. It is one world and we all have to start acting like it.
Stephen, thank you so much for coming on the show and talking to us about what you're doing. Thank you to you and your team as well and come back
soon, and we'll talk about progress.
Stephen Saad there, the CEO of Aspen Pharmacare. Sir, thank you so much for your time.
All right, and finally on FIRST MOVE, it's time to strike up the band.
[VIDEO CLIP PLAYS]
CHATTERLEY: Yes, football is coming home, we hope. The Royal Coldstream Guards were invited by the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall to
Clarence House to show their support for the England team. The semifinal against Denmark kicks off in a few hours' time and I wish both sides the
best of luck. I just wish England a little bit more luck. Sorry.
That's it for the show. It's been a long time.
If you've missed any of our interviews today, they will be on my Twitter and Instagram pages. You could search for @jchatterleyCNN as always.
"Marketplace Asia" is next. I will see you tomorrow.