MSE index down 35 per cent in 2008

This week the Malta Stock Exchange Index closed at 3,208.215 points, at a gain of 0.36% over last week.  This week trading took place only twice due to the holidays in relation to the New Year.  During 2008 the Index lost 35.03%. During the week, seven equities were negotiated, with four closing in positive territory, one closing in negative territory and two remaining stable. Go plc was the only equity with a negative performance as the share price dropped by 4.26% to Eur1.752 while Fimbank plc gained most territory with its share price increasing by 6.96% to $1.476.

During this week 169 deals were registered on the stock exchange for a turnover of over Eur20.6 million.  In the equity market 64 transactions were carried out for a total value of Eur293,696.  In the corporate bond market 45 transactions for a total value of over Eur3 million were executed. While in the government bond market 46 transactions were executed for a value of over Eur5.1 million.  Fourteen transactions were carried out in the Treasury Bills market for a value of over Eur12.2 million.    

During this week Bank of Valletta plc appreciated by 1.05% to Eur3.47 as 17,488 shares were negotiated across 17 deals for a total value of Eur60,595.  During this year Bank of Valletta was the most negotiated equity by value as over Eur11.9 million were negotiated over 2.4 million shares across 2,598 deals.  During 2008, the share price of Bank of Valletta plc dropped by 48.80%.  

During the Annual General Meeting, held on December,17, 2008, shareholders of Bank of Valletta plc approved a gross dividend of Eur0.0675 per share amounting to a total of Eur9 million. When taken together with the gross interim dividend paid on May, 28, shareholders would have received a total gross dividend for the year of Eur0.2025 per share.  Shareholders present also approved an increase in the nominal and paid up value of the ordinary shares from Eur0.75 to Eur1 per share, which increase is to be funded by a capitalisation of reserves amounting to Eur33.33 million, and a bonus issue to shareholders of one share for every five shares held effective on January 15, 2009. 

During the financial year which ended 30 September 2008, the BOV Group generated a pre-tax profit of Eur40.6 million, which is 60% lower than that of last year. This was mainly due to the unrealised fair value markdowns totalling Eur41 million, of which Eur14 million arose in the last two weeks of the financial year.

During this week, the share price of HSBC Bank Malta plc remained stable at Eur2.70 as 16,602 shares were negotiated across 16 deals for a total value of Eur44,940.  In 2008, the share price of HSBC Bank Malta plc dropped by 42.05% as over 2.2 million shares were negotiated across 2,089 deals for a total value of over Eur8.3 million.

For the six months to June, 30, 2008, HSBC Bank Malta plc has registered a profit of EUR46.6 million. This figure translated into a decrease in profits of EUR12.4 million or 21.1%. Last year’s profit for the same period was EUR59 million.  However, the Bank paid a gross interim dividend for the period of Eur0.119 per share.

Later in the year, in an Interim Directors’ Statement HSBC Bank Malta plc stated that despite challenging global and local market conditions, core income and profitability levels at the Bank remained satisfactory for the period 1 July 2008 to 30 September 2008.  As at 30 September 2008, both customers’ deposits and customers’ loans increased in line with expectations over the prior September end. During this period there was no deterioration in the quality of the lending portfolio whilst liquidity and capital ratios remained strong and ahead of regulatory requirements.  These trends have been sustained into the fourth quarter of 2008.

Alan Richards, Director and Chief Executive Officer said that the Bank is financially sound, liquid and has a conservative balance sheet policy with relatively low reliance on funding from the wholesale markets and that it has limited investments in corporate securities.  He also stated that although the banking system in Malta is in good shape, the consequences of a pronounced world economic slow down is bound to leave its mark on the local economy.

As mentioned earlier Fimbank plc was the best performer during this week with an increase of 6.96% in its share price which closed the year at $1.476, as 140,300 shares were negotiated across 9 deals for a total value of Eur144,448.  During the past year Fimbank plc saw its share price decrease by 15.37% as over 6.3 million shares for a total value of over Eur7.8 million were negotiated across 589 deals.

For the half year ended 30 June 2008. The FIMBank Group posted a profit after tax of USD 23.81 million, a significant increase over the USD 3.46 million registered for the same period in 2007. The disposal of shares in Global Trade Finance Ltd in March 2008 contributed to a consolidated profit on disposal of USD 29.15 million. Group Net Interest Income increased by 42% to USD 7.0 million, whilst Group Net Operating Income grew from USD 12.22 million to USD 47.30 million. Net Fee and Commission Income increased by 64% to USD 10.05 million, being largely the result of improved performance both at Bank and London Forfaiting Company Ltd. The company also announced the payment of an extraordinary dividend of USD 4,397, 685 (i.e. USD 0.03290924 per ordinary share) by means of a scrip issue to Members on the Register at the Central Securities Depository of the Malta Stock Exchange as at the close of trading on 5 September 2008.

The share price of Lombard Bank Malta plc remained stable at Eur3.00 as 3,344 shares for a total value of Eur9,907 was negotiated across three deals during this week.  During 2008, the share price of Lombard Bank Malta plc dropped by 16.96% as a total value of over Eur7.3 million was negotiated as 802,124 shares changed hands across 234 deals.

As mentioned above the share price of Go plc dropped by 4.26% to Eur1.752.  This was the result of 5,290 shares changing hands across seven deals for a total value of Eur9,355.

RS2 Software plc was a positive performer during this week as its share price increased by 6.67% when 21,100 shares were negotiated across four deals for a total value of Eur16,430.  The equity closed the year at Eur0.80.

The share price of Maltapost plc appreciated by 0.99% to Eur0.818 as 9,909 shares were negotiated across eight deals for a total value of Eur8,018. This increase enhanced the yearly gain of Maltapost to 63.6 per cent, which resulted as the best performer of 2008.

In all four listed companies ended the year with a positive performance. Besides Maltapost plc, Grand Harbour Marina plc, Plaza Centres plc, and San Tumas Shareholding plc all ended 2008 up 13.34 per cent, 10.83 per cent and 6.46 per cent respectively.

All other equities lost in value in what was a very negative year in the global equity markets. This is how the share price of the rest of the equities quoted on the MSE performed in 2008.

Globalcapital plc was the worst performer this year as its share price dropped by 64.46 per cent. Datatrak Holdings plc lost 37.70% as its share price dropped from €0.305 to €0.19. The share price of Middlesea Insurance plc fell by 33.65%. Another bad performance was by Simonds Farsons Cisk plc, which fell by 25.84%.

International Hotel Investments plc saw its share price drop by 13.94% whereas the share price of Malta International Airport plc fell by 22.24%. 

The share price of Crimsonwing plc dropped marginally as it lost 0.60% to €0.497. and Medserv plc lost only 2.51% as the equity closed the year at the price €3.997.

Finally, the share price of 6pm Holdings plc fell by 4.11% ending 2008 at the price  GBP 0.70.

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This article which was compiled by Jesmond Mizzi Financial Services Limited (JMFS) does not intend to give investment advice and the contents therein should not be construed as such.  JMFS is licensed to conduct investment services by the MFSA.  The directors or related parties, including the company, and their clients are likely to have an interest in securities mentioned in this article.  For further information contact JMFS at 67/3, South Street, Valletta or on Tel: 21224410 or email [email protected].