FIMBank and Plaza issue results

Today, FIMBank plc issued its 2010 full-year results showing a significant improvement in profitability from US$2.6 million in 2009 to US$6.7 million in 2010 as the Group cautiously renewed its appetite for business during the year helped by the improvement in emerging market conditions and a steady pick-up in trade flows. The Directors recommended a final net dividend of US$0.0248 per share (2009: US$0.0156) to all shareholders as at closing of trading on 25 March. As in previous years, this dividend may be taken either in cash or in shares at a price to be announced in due course. Further details available at https://rizzofarrugia.com/news-events/2011/full-year-results-fim01/. The publication of the financial results of FIMBank failed to generate any trades in its shares. The equity last traded at US$0.90 and lowest offers are placed at the level of US$0.93. In the results announcement, the Group also revealed a group restructuring exercise through the creation of a new holding company. Further details in this respect will be announced in due course.

Meanwhile yesterday afternoon, Plaza Centres plc also published its 2010 financials. The 3.1% growth in revenue to over €2 million was eroded by higher operating costs, depreciation and net interest expense. Overall, the Company reported a net profit of €832,700 in line with the previous year’s profitability of €836,783. Despite maintaining last year’s profitability, the recommended final net dividend of €0.075 per share (gross: €0.116) is 10.5% below the 2009 dividend of €0.084 per share as the payout ratio was reduced from 95% in 2009 to 85% in 2010. Shareholders as at close of trading on 25 March will be entitled to this dividend. Further details on results available at https://rizzofarrugia.com/news-events/2011/full-year-results-pzc02/. The market reacted positively to the results as the equity jumped 18.4% to €1.80 – its highest level foe the past 10 years.

Elsewhere on the local equity market, Bank of Valletta plc eased 0.7% to a fresh 4-month low of €2.899 on volumes of just over 37,100 shares. BOV ended the week 3% lower following a downgrade in its credit rating to ‘BBB+’ by Fitch Ratings earlier this week. Meanwhile HSBC Bank Malta plc edged 0.3% higher to regain the €2.96 level on a small deal of 500 shares despite turning ex-dividend. HSBC’s equity closed the week 0.7% lower.

MaltaPost plc was active for the first time this week with its share price edging 1.2% higher to €1.052 on volumes of 13,432 shares.

Overall, the MSE Share Index closed in positive territory for the first time in eleven sessions. Nonetheless, the Share Index still closed the week 1% lower at 3,573.925 points. Malta Government Stock prices declined sharply today as the benchmark Eurozone yield jumped to 3.32% following yesterday’s comments by the European Central Bank President revealing a possible interest rate increase in April due to increasing concerns on inflation expectations. The Rizzo Farrugia MGS Index dropped 0.4% this morning to a new 20-month low of 975.608 points representing a total decline of 0.7% over the week. The bid prices of both new MGS’s were set today at a level below the recent offer prices by the Treasury.

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