BOV ends the week 1.7% higher

On the last day for investors to gain entitlement to Bank of Valletta plc’s final gross dividend of €0.08 per share (net dividend of €0.052), BOV’s equity edged 0.6% higher to €2.44 after hitting an intra-day high of €2.46. Activity remained high with over 50,000 shares changing hands today. The gains in the Bank’s share price during the past two sessions helped the equity end the week 1.7% higher mainly on lack of further supply at the €2.40 level and sustained demand for the shares. During the past five trading sessions, a total of 357,271 BOV shares changed hands on the market. BOV’s equity turns ex-dividend as from next Monday. The final dividend of €0.052 will be paid on 17 December following approval at the Bank’s next Annual General Meeting scheduled to be held on Friday 16 December.

On the other hand, HSBC Bank Malta plc slipped 1.9% lower this week to the €2.65 level as the equity failed to recover from the declines registered in the mid-week session. Similarly all other large cap equities, namely International Hotel Investments plc (-4.3%), Malta International Airport plc (-5%) and GO plc (-4.7%), closed the week in negative territory with MIA ranking as the worst performer of the week. The airport operator’s equity plunged 5% during the past five sessions after the Company announced that it will be offering a 100% refund on its landing fees to all airlines during the winter schedule (November 2011 to March 2012). A spokesman of MIA subsequently stated that this initiative will result in a decline in revenue totalling €1.3 million.

This morning, GO plc published its Interim Statement explaining that during the first nine months of 2011 it continued to grow its customer connections whilst maintaining a robust operating performance from its local operations resulting in a healthy level of profitability and cash generation despite the current challenging economic climate and an increasingly competitive market. The Directors made reference to the €22.2 million loss incurred by GO in the first six months of 2011 from its indirect investment in the Greek telecommunications company Forthnet. However, the announcement failed to provide any indications with respect to Forthnet’s performance during Q3 and its upcoming Extraordinary General Meeting called to approve a €30 million rights issue.

Grand Harbour Marina plc also published its Interim Statement this morning revealing a 12.8% rise in berthing revenues from the marina in Malta to €1.67 million during the first nine months of 2011. The announcement also confirmed that the company entered into a Memorandum of Understanding for the sale of a second 30-metre super-yacht berth. Progress was also reported at the Turkish IC Cesme Marina (in which GHM has a 45% beneficial ownership) which reported increased occupancy levels in the marina whilst maintaining full-occupancy of its landside retail units.

Next week a further 9 companies with a December year end are expected to publish their respective Interim Statements. HSBC Bank Malta plc, Malta International Airport plc and Medserv plc are among the companies that will be updating the market on their respect Q3 performances.

Next Monday marks the opening of subscriptions for the new Malta Government Stocks. Two new MGS’s are available for subscription by the General Public for amounts up to €100,000 (nominal). These are the 4.25% MGS 2017 (III) and the 5.2% MGS 2031 (I) for a total aggregate amount of €100 million with an over-allotment option of another €44 million. Subscriptions close on Wednesday 16 November. Application forms available from http://rizzofarrugia.com/news-events/2011/pricing-of-new-stocks-mgs11/.