Increased volumes in HSBC before turning ex-dividend

Increased trading activity took place in HSBC Bank Malta plc shares on the last day the equity traded with the entitlement to the final gross dividend of €0.072 per share. Just over 67,200 shares traded across six deals with the share price easing 0.6% lower to the €2.62 level.

Meanwhile Bank of Valletta plc’s equity maintained its recent upturn with another 0.4% rise during this morning’s session to close at the €2.159 level on volumes of 4,355 shares.

The only other active equity, MaltaPost plc, held on to the €0.91 level across four trades totalling 4,155 shares.

This morning, FIMBank plc published its 2011 full-year results revealing a 35.3% increase in profitability to USD9.1 million. The Directors recommended a net dividend of USD0.02 (2010: USD0.0248) and a 1 for 25 bonus issue to all shareholders as at close of trading on 3 April. Shareholders will have the option to take the dividend either in cash or in new shares. Both the dividend and the bonus shares will be settled on 21 May 2012 subject to shareholder approval at the upcoming Annual General Meeting scheduled to be held on 10 May 2012.

Meanwhile, this afternoon, FIMBank issued another announcement with respect to the potential transfer of 38.8% of its share capital from the largest shareholder, Massaleh Investments K.S.C.C. to Burgan Bank. Subsequently, Burgan Bank intends to inject new equity which will increase its potential holding to over 50% thereby initiating a Mandatory bid for the remaining shares. All of this is still subject to the necessary approvals.

On the bond market, the Rizzo Farrugia MGS Index closed lower for the eighth consecutive day to a new 3-month low of 985.458 points. Today’s downturn reflects the marginal uptick in the benchmark Eurozone yields as ‘safe-haven’ demand slows down following news of improved sentiment with respect to the German economy and expectations of similar data, expected to be published later on this afternoon, with respect to the US economy.

Meanwhile, this morning Bank of Valletta plc announced the issue of the second series of Notes under its €125 million Debt Issuance Programme. The first tranche of this second series will encompass €40 million of Notes carrying a coupon of 4.25% and maturing in 2019. Further details will be available next Tuesday 20 March.