BioNTech to look into possible dividend next year

FRANKFURT, June 22 (Reuters) - BioNTech, the Pfizer partner set to earn billions from their COVID-19 vaccine, said it would consider paying out a dividend next year and that its focus this year was on spending on its pharmaceutical development projects.

BioNTech would not look into a proposal for any dividend before next year’s annual shareholder meeting, Finance Chief Sierk Poetting told shareholders.

“Our strategic priority for 2021 is the reinvestment of capital,” Chief Executive Ugur Sahin said at the virtual annual shareholder meeting, adding that funds would go its development efforts in various therapy areas and technologies.

BioNTech in December became the first Western company to win preliminary approval for its coronavirus vaccine.

Vaccine supply deals lined up for this year alone are worth 12.4 billion euros ($15.1 billion) in revenue for BioNTech, it said in May. It repeated on Tuesday that more supply contracts were on the cards.

CEO Sahin also reiterated that he currently saw no need to change the make-up of the Comirnaty vaccine as it still appears to protect against newly circulating coronavirus variants of concern, which are more contagious than predecessor viruses.

$1 = 0.8190 euros Reporting by Ludwig Burger and Patricia Weiss, editing by Emma Thomasson