Lombard share drops to a fresh 7-year low

The share price of Lombard Bank Malta plc slid a further 2.4% during this morning’s session to close at yet another new 7-year low of €2.05 on low volumes of 2,300 shares ahead of this afternoon’s interim results publication. The financials for the first six months of the year revealed a 36.5% plunge in the profitability of the Lombard Group. This follows a 6.5% drop in net interest income to €6.8 million reflecting the Bank’s prudent and cautious approach which yields low returns as well as the adverse effects of the changes in the tariffs imposed by the Universal Postal Union (UPU) on MaltaPost plc’s financials. Moreover, the half-year figures of the Lombard Group were also adversely impacted by the non-occurrence of a gain on the sale of investments of €1.2 million that took place last year as well as an increase in loan impairments to €0.46 million in line with the Bank’s provisioning policy in the prevailing challenging circumstances.

On the other hand, Bank of Valletta plc’s equity advanced by a further 0.9% to reach another 5-month high of €2.20 across eight trades totalling 10,431 shares. Since reaching a 34-month low of €2.00 on 20 July 2012, the Bank’s equity has recovered by 10% on total volumes amounting to over 240,000 shares which represent less than 0.1% of the Bank’s total share capital.

All other active equities traded unchanged during today’s session. HSBC Bank Malta plc held on to the €2.64 level across 4,352 shares with GO plc shares maintaining the €1.00 level on a small deal of 300 shares. Similarly, low volumes of 2,000 shares were transacted in Malita Investments plc at the €0.52 level. Meanwhile higher volumes were transacted in RS2 Software plc with over 61,200 shares changing hands at the €0.50 level.

On the bond market, the Rizzo Farrugia MGS Index edged 0.1% higher to 997.257 points as eurozone yields slipped back to around the 1.40% level after Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel stated that it will not be possible for Greece to deviate from the targets set by the bailout. Moreover, although Ms Merkel said she would be willing to discuss with her Greek counterpart, no decisions will be taken during tomorrow’s meeting as any potential action will only be taken after a full review of Greece’s financial situation by officials of Europe and the International Monetary Fund.

Locally, as yields dropped, the Central Bank of Malta Stockbroker raised its bid prices with new record prices established for the 5.10% MGS 2029 at 103.67% (compared to the July 2012 offer price of 101%) and the 5.20% MGS 2031 at 102.98%.