BOV’s Q1 net profit below expectations

This afternoon Bank of Valletta plc published its Interim Directors’ Statement covering the first three months of their 2010/11 financial year. During the period from 1 October to 31 December 2010, the BOV Group registered a net profit in line with that reported in the comparable quarter during the previous financial year. However the Directors noted that the Group’s for the period under review is below expectations mainly due to the fair value mark downs incurred following the widening of spreads on the back of the uncertainty surrounding the Eurozone sovereign debt. Further details available at

During the trading session this morning, the local equity market closed in positive territory but the MSE Share Index still ended the first week of February in negative territory with a 0.3% decline to 3,865.625 points. This was mainly due to the decline in the share prices of International Hotel Investments plc (-2.1%), Malta International Airport plc (-4.4%) and GO plc (-0.5%) which outweighed Bank of Valletta plc’s 1% weekly rise and gains in Plaza Centres plc (+11.3%), MaltaPost plc (+4%), Lombard Bank Malta plc (+1.4%) and Middlesea Insurance plc (+1%).

BOV’s share price added a further 0.3% today to regain the €3.13 level on increasing volumes of 23,651 shares. Meanwhile HSBC Bank Malta plc closed unchanged at the €3.50 level after temporarily reaching an intra-day high of €3.52. High volumes of almost 40,000 shares also traded in HSBC following the Bank’s announcement that its Board of Directors is scheduled to meet on 18 February to consider and approve the Group‘s 2010 financial statements and also consider a declaration of a final dividend.

The share price of Lombard Bank Malta plc continued to edge higher and advanced by a further 0.3% this morning to reach the €3.00 level on increased volumes of over 22,500 shares. Lombard Bank is due to publish its full-year results publication on 10 March. Meanwhile no trading took place in Lombard’s subsidiary MaltaPost with bids of 20,000 shares at the all-time high of €1.05 and lowest offers in the market at €1.07.

Plaza Centres plc recovered most of the drop registered two weeks ago as its share price climbed 11.3% on a single trade of 3,000 shares. GO plc also recouped some of yesterday’s 0.7% drop to regain the €1.92 level on volumes of 5,000 shares. Malta International Airport traded again at the €1.75 level with a total of 17,370 shares changing hands today. This afternoon, MIA announced a 14.9% increase in passenger movements during January 2011.

Crimsonwing plc today also announced that it achieved excellent progress across all its business units during the three months ended 31 December 2010 as demand for the Group’s solutions, especially in Microsoft Dynamics and E-Business, increased resulting in new client additions. Crimsonwing reported a 25% growth in revenue to €10.7 million during the first three quarters of the current financial year with earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) also rising by 31% to €707,205 between 1 April and 31 December 2010.

On the local bond market, the Rizzo Farrugia MGS Index ended the week minimally higher at 982.639 points as the benchmark 10-year Eurozone yield eased to the 3.23% level following comments made by the European Central Bank’s President Jean-Claude Trichet. Yesterday the ECB announced that it kept its intervention rate at the historic low of 1%. During the press conference shortly after the meeting, Mr. Trichet indicated that although the inflation rate is currently above the 2% target, the ECB has no intentions of raising rates any time soon.

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