BOV & FIMBank edge further higher

The share price of Bank of Valletta plc trended higher for the third consecutive session on sustained volumes since turning ex-bonus on Tuesday. The Bank’s equity edged another 1.4% higher to close at the €2.25 level (equivalent to €2.50 pre-bonus) for the first time since May 2011 across twelve trades totalling 45,771 shares.

Likewise, FIMBank’s share price registered its third consecutive daily increase with another 5% rise to a new 33-month high of US$1.05 across five trades totalling 38,705 shares. Following, the uplift in the three most recent trading sessions in the local market, FIMBank shares rank as the best performing equity since the start of 2013 with a 31.3% jump ahead of the Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) scheduled to be held on 31 January. During the meeting shareholders will be asked to approve a number of resolutions in connection with a joint-offer by Burgan Bank and United Gulf Bank which will ultimately result in the two entities becoming major shareholders of the trade specialist. In The Business Times published today, FIMBank President Margrith Lütschg-Emmenegger explains how the new shareholders will enable FIMBank to expand its operations by entering new markets and also servicing larger clients.

On the other hand, the shares of Malta International Airport plc trended lower for the second successive session with a 1.1% drop back to the €1.76 level on low volumes of 3,200 shares. The airport operator is shortly expected to publish the traffic results for 2012 which should show the third consecutive annual passenger record. MIA will probably also issue its forecast for 2013.

Yesterday’s uplift in Lombard Bank Malta plc’s share price was short-lived as two deals amounting to 5,800 shares were this morning transacted at the €1.86 level representing a 7% drop from the previous close.

In the small cap segment, Crimsonwing plc’s share price eased a further 1.6% back to the €0.54 level on a single trade of 15,000 shares.

Similarly, MaltaPost plc’s equity shed 1% to close at the €0.97 level on a deal of 2,286 shares. This morning, the Malta Stock Exchange announced that 1,528,949 new shares of the postal operator have been admitted to the Official List of the Malta Stock Exchange following the recent scrip dividend issue, representing a high take-up of 81.85%. This afternoon MaltaPost revealed that, subject to regulatory approval, the new subsidiary to be set-up to undertake insurance activities, will act as an agent of Middlesea Insurance plc.

On the bond market, the Rizzo Farrugia MGS Index edged higher for the tenth consecutive session with a further increase to 1,010.576 points in contrast to yesterday’s downgrade of Malta’s credit rating as well as this morning’s rise in Eurozone yields. Yesterday, the S&P downgrade Malta’s credit rating from ‘A-‘ to ‘BBB+’ citing a rising debt burden and the fact that Malta still hasn’t approved a Budget for 2013. The benchmark 10-year German Bund yields started moving higher again to just below the 1.55% level following strong demand at a Spanish bond auction which eased concerns on Spain’s ability to raise funds to refinance its debt and in turn softened demand for ‘safe-haven’ assets.