BOV closes lower for the second successive day

Bank of Valletta plc’s equity sustained a loss of a further 3.7% this morning following yesterday’s decline of 1.6%. The share price of BOV had traded up to a new 2010 closing high of €3.81 last Friday but dipped by 5.2% to €3.61 during the past two sessions on a sudden bout of selling pressure. Following last week’s Annual General Meeting, the Bank effected the dividend payment of €0.104 per share. Meanwhile those shareholders as at close of trading on 7 January 2011 will be entitled to the 1 for 5 bonus share issue.

The loss suffered by BOV together with the decline of 0.2% in the share price of HSBC Bank Malta plc forced the MSE Share Index to close 0.8% lower from yesterday’s nine-month high.

The share price of International Hotel Investments plc added on to yesterday’s 17.6% increase with a rise of a further 1.2% today to €0.88. The sharp increase in IHI’s equity over the past two trading sessions was in reaction to the Company Announcement issued on Friday afternoon. IHI informed the market that in anticipation of the new public offering and listing of the company’s shares on a major international stock exchange, senior executives of the company are currently meeting international institutional and high net worth investors. IHI’s objective is to conclude share participation agreements at a price superior to the nominal value of €1.00 per share in order to raise additional capital to take advantage of current acquisition and development opportunities in key cities.

The highest trading activity on the equity market today was in Medserv plc. This equity had been inactive since 8 November but this morning a total of 25,640 shares traded at the €4.27 level, marginally below its all-time high of €4.30 reached earlier this year.

High volumes were also registered in Malta International Airport plc and MaltaPost plc. The equity of the airport operator regained the €1.65 level on activity of 15,832 shares with MaltaPost advancing by 2.2% to regain the 2010 high of €0.95 and only minimally below its all-time high of €0.968. Just over 20,000 shares traded today with further bids remaining outstanding at the closing level.

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