MSE Share Index drops 1.2% in November

During today’s trading session on the Malta Stock Exchange, the MSE Share Index eased by 0.2% following declines in 3 of the 4 active equities. HSBC Bank Malta plc edged minimally higher from yesterday’s 29-month low while Bank of Valletta plc, GO plc and Malta International Airport plc all registered declines. During the month of November which came to an end today, the MSE Share Index dropped 1.2% to 3,115.499 points as four of the five largest equities traded lower.

The share prices of the two large banks performed negatively on fragile investor sentiment. Following the initial positive reaction to Bank of Valletta plc’s full-year results which showed a 34.3% drop in profitability to €42.1 million, the equity eased lower to close the month at the €2.50 level representing a 2% drop from the October close. The share price of HSBC Bank Malta plc tumbled 4.1% during the month of November to €2.581 after the Bank announced that it will be incurring a one-off charge of up to €10 million relating to restructuring measures, particularly voluntary retirement schemes. The Bank added that such measures are being undertaken in anticipation of a challenging 2012.

GO plc registered the fifth consecutive monthly decline with a loss of a further 4.8%. The equity ended the month at its all-time low of €1.00 on the back of further uncertainty related to the indirect investment in the Greek telecommunications company, Forthnet. Yesterday GO made an announcement referring to the transfer of Forthnet’s shares to the ‘Under Surveillance’ segment on the Athens Stock Exchange following the goodwill impairments totalling €56.9 million incurred by Forthnet in its financial statements between 2010 and the first six months of 2011. Further details available at http://rizzofarrugia.com/news-events/2011/forthet-shares-under-surveillance-go18/.

The share price of Malta International Airport plc also dropped 4% this month to €1.68 as the positive sentiment created by the further growth in passenger traffic was somewhat offset by the news that the airport operator will waive all landing fees during the winter schedule (spanning from November to March) resulting in a drop in revenue of circa €1.3 million.

On the other hand, International Hotel Investments plc registered gains for the third consecutive month with a rise of a further 4.2%. Demand for the equity was sustained during the month as the Group’s operations in Libya gradually pick-up following the successful end to the political uprising. Moreover, in the latest Interim Statement, the Directors also announced that its other properties across Europe continued to report an improved performance.

FIMBank plc also rebounded this month with a 6.9% increase to the US$0.77 level. This follows the publication of the Interim Statement on 15 November in which the Directors reported good growth across its new factoring joint-ventures.