HSBC Bank Malta plc’s share price reacted negatively to the publication of the financial results last Friday as the equity shed 4.4% to the €3.30 level on volumes of 6,640 shares. Although the HSBC Malta Group registered a 16.7% rise in pre-tax profits to over €83 million, the dividend to shareholders was unchanged over last year as the payout ratio was reduced from 65% to 55%. The final gross dividend of €0.077 per share is payable to those shareholders as at 3 March.
The decline in the share price of HSBC forced the MSE Share Index to register a drop of 0.95% to 3,768.418 points despite the gains registered by Bank of Valletta plc. BOV’s share price recovered by 1.7% to regain the €3.05 level across twelve trades totalling 13,637 shares.
MaltaPost plc eased 2.4% from its all-time high of €1.10 to close lower at the €1.074 level on a single trade of 2,000 shares. Last Friday the postal operator published its Interim Statement in which the Directors confirmed that during the period commencing 1 October 2010 to date, the financial performance of the Company was slightly below that of the corresponding period last year.
Low trading activity also characterised the other active equities. A small deal of 400 shares was transacted in Malta International Airport plc at the €1.77 level, representing a 1.1% increase over the previous close. The airport operator last Friday announced that its Board of Directors is scheduled to meet on 17 March to consider and approve the Group’s 2010 financial statements.
Meanwhile Crimsonwing plc eased 1.1% lower to €0.375 on a single trade of 9,000 shares with the share price of Island Hotels Group Holdings plc also easing to €0.997 across two trades amounting to 600 shares in anticipation of the Group’s full-year results expected to be published later on today.
Most of the attention this morning was focused on the bond market. The price on the secondary market of the 5.25% MGS 2030 (I) advanced by 55 basis points to 102.25% on high activity of €517,200 (nominal) in response to the strong demand in last week’s auctions and the recent decline in eurozone yields. Meanwhile the corporate bond market was characterised by a reaction to the unfolding developments in Libya as the bond prices of Mediterranean Investment Holdings plc and International Hotel Investments plc declined.