Lombard Bank at 52-week high of €3.06

The share price of Lombard Bank Malta plc gained 1.7% to a 52-week high of €3.06 after the share price had traded at the €3.01 level since the publication of the full-year results on 10 March. Lombard shares are still trading with the entitlement to the full-year dividend of €0.115 gross per share. This will be payable to those shareholders as at close of trading on Thursday 24 March. Over 15,000 shares traded today with no further shares on offer at the €3.06 level.

HSBC Bank Malta plc also closed the day higher as the equity gained 1.1% to €2.90 on continued low volumes of 7,000 shares. The gains registered by HSBC and Lombard helped the MSE Share Index advance by 0.36% to 3,506.904 points.

Bank of Valletta plc maintained the €2.95 level on increasing volumes of over 12,500 shares. Further shares are being offered at this level with highest bids at €2.90.

Medserv plc published its 2010 financial statements yesterday evening. Revenue dropped 33.2% to €11.7 million as a result of the postponement of offshore work caused by political and economic factors as well as the Gulf of Mexico incident. The decline in turnover had a direct effect on the Group’s profitability.  Medserv reported a net profit for the year of only €118,850 as opposed to the €2.8 million generated in 2009. Given the significantly lower level of profitability during 2010, the Board of Directors did not recommend the payment of a dividend to shareholders. In the Preliminary Statement, the Directors explained that the Group suspended its operations in the Misurata Free Zone in Libya due to the political unrest prevailing in the country. The Directors stated that to date they are not aware of any losses to the assets situated in the Misurata base. Moreover, no provision has been taken in the 2010 financial statements since the Directors cannot confidently make an estimate of the financial effects arising from the present events in Libya which are still unfolding on the future performance and financial position of Medserv Misurata. On the other hand, the Malta base is experiencing increased business as equipment and materials are being relocated, at least temporarily, to Malta. Moreover, the base at the Malta Freeport is also providing significant volumes of logistical and support services to off-shore platforms located in North Africa within the parameters of the present UN and EU sanctions.

On the bond market, the Rizzo Farrugia MGS Index dropped to a 21-month low of 975.585 points as 10-year Eurozone yields continued to recover in anticipation of an increase in interest rates next month. Although the indicative bid price of the 19-year paper dropped to 101.18%, the price on the secondary market advanced by 50 basis points to 102.50%.