Spain's Logista in government deal to distribute vaccine -report

MADRID, Dec 23 (Reuters) - Spanish distribution company Grupo Logista has reached an agreement with the Health Ministry to distribute the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine against the coronavirus, business newspaper El Economista reported on Wednesday.

Logista, whose reported agreement covers distribution at a state level and in regions such as Madrid, Castilla-La Mancha and the Basque Country, is also negotiating with several other regions, the newspaper said, citing sources close to the company.

Logista officials were not immediately available for comment, while a health ministry spokeswoman said that Pfizer itself was in charge of the distribution of its vaccine in Spain and declined to further comment on the report.

Asked to comment on the report, a spokesman for the Madrid region declined to reveal the name of the company or provide any details of the agreement, citing security reasons.

Officials in Castilla-La Mancha and the Basque Country were not immediately available.

Shares in Logista were up by 3.9% after the news while Spain’s leading blue chip index Ibex-35 was up 0.67%.

“This is good news for Logista as it highlights the group’s strong positioning in the pharma business in Spain,” Spanish investment firm Alantra said in a note to clients citing the company’s distribution network and its cold-chain preservation capabilities.

According to El Economista, the contract involves transportation from airports to storage centres chosen by each region, while each region will be responsible for delivering the vaccine to vaccination centres.

The government has said an inoculation campaign against the coronavirus will start on Sunday, without revealing the exact number of doses it would initially receive. The first delivery is scheduled for Saturday. (Reporting by Jesús Aguado and Emma Pinedo; editing by Andrei Khalip and Jason Neely)