Home Money Politicians should have fought much harder to keep Arm in Britain, says ALEX BRUMMER

Politicians should have fought much harder to keep Arm in Britain, says ALEX BRUMMER

by Elijah
0 comment
Tech Gem: Arm Forecasts Q4 Sales and Profits Well Above Expectations Amid Growing Licensing and Royalty Revenue Thanks to Its AI Skills

The emergence of Arm Holdings as a champion of Artificial Intelligence shows that Britain is capable of producing high-tech winners.

The shame is that Theresa May’s government succumbed to the pleas of SoftBank son Masayoshi in 2016 and Downing Street headlines failed to persuade Arm to list in London when it floated again last year.

Now, all the loot is going to New York and SoftBank, following a stunning update on Arm’s prospects.

As a brilliant designer of smart chips, the opportunities for Arm were always promising.

This is one of the reasons why US chipmaker Nvidia, which now has a market value of £1.4bn, wanted Arm’s coding skills and was a key investor when it went public.

Tech Gem: Arm Forecasts Q4 Sales and Profits Well Above Expectations Amid Growing Licensing and Royalty Revenue Thanks to Its AI Skills

Arm forecast latest quarter sales and profits well above expectations amid rising licensing and royalty revenues thanks to its artificial intelligence skills.

CEO Rene Haas says it is benefiting from the “profound opportunity” presented by the demand for new AI applications required by the technology industry.

Arm is largely no longer a one-trick pony with most of its revenue derived from chips built into smartphones.

AI abilities mean that Arm-licensed processors are increasingly used with Nvidia graphics and devices such as mobile phones and laptops.

The stock market’s response to Arm’s optimistic progress was notable, with shares soaring 60 percent in late trading.

Its shares have more than doubled from the price at the time of the September IPO, when SoftBank took 90 percent of the shares.

Masayoshi Son will be pleased with how he managed to get Arm and its intellectual property, developed in Cambridge, out of the UK and buy back a 25 per cent stake in the Saudi-backed Vision Fund before the IPO.

Much of the R&D and development of the Arm architecture is still located in Cambridge. But the effective headquarters has moved to the US and the temptation of Silicon Valley will likely be a skills vacuum as chip developers move closer to the market.

Pale British politicians should hang their heads in shame for not fighting harder for trend-setting AI that could have fueled a technological revolution.

life lines

Arm is the one who got away. But no thanks to former chancellor George Osborne, who favored a sale to Pfizer, life sciences pioneer AstraZeneca remains firmly planted in the UK.

In 2021, chief executive Pascal Soriot, a pandemic hero, felt alienated enough to choose Ireland over the UK for a £285m investment in a plant.

So it’s great that he’s changing his mind. He argues that the environment for big pharma in the UK has improved, pointing to investment-friendly tax policies (are you listening CBI?) and a better climate within the NHS for clinical trials.

Soriot always saw Brexit as an opportunity to use the NHS as a test bed and for an improved MHRA (the UK medical regulator) to get ahead of the sclerotic European regulator.

Astra shares fell in late trading despite a rebound in sales last quarter.

The disappointment was due to higher-than-expected R&D spending and lower drug prices in emerging markets.

In my book, both are good events.

The oncology drug portfolio continues to outperform most of its peers with sales of Tagrisso for lung cancer treatment up 9 percent, Calquence, a leukemia drug, up 23 percent and Imfinzi, a drug for the gallbladder, which increased by a whopping 55 percent.

Astra also continues to do well in China, where many UK companies have encountered banana skins.

With a market value of £151bn, it competes with Shell for the top spot in the FTSE 100. Phew!

Talk loud

Unilever’s new boss, Dutchman Hein Schumacher, is surprisingly honest about how performance needs to improve.

Its focus on innovation, as the cutting-edge consumer products group focuses on 30 brands, is auspicious.

Further share buybacks worth £1.3bn will be welcomed. Its inability to confront geopolitical realities is more disappointing.

Unilever remains in Russia despite its war against Ukraine and Western values.

And he has failed to confront the board of directors of ice cream brand Ben & Jerry’s over its calls for a permanent ceasefire in Gaza.

Cheer up, please.

You may also like