Middlesea Insurance worst performer of the week

The share price of Middlesea Insurance plc dropped 6.3% this week to close at its lowest level since 18 June 2010. Since the publication of the 2010 financial statements on 15 March 2010, Middlesea’s equity tumbled by 10% as profits before tax and the impairment charge taken in 2009 decreased by 25.7% from €8.7 million in 2009 to €6.4 million. Middlesea also failed to declare a dividend following the steep losses suffered in recent years. However at the Annual General Meeting scheduled to be held on 3 May 2011, the Directors will be recommending the offsetting of all the accumulated losses against the issued share capital and share premium account of the Company to enable Middlesea to be in a position to pay dividends in the future.

The MSE Share Index closed this shortened week 0.4% lower. The local equity market has closed in the red for the ninth successive week. In contrast to overseas equity markets, the local market has failed to recover from the sell-off caused by the developments in Libya and Japan.

Fresh demand for shares of Bank of Valletta plc during the final stages of this morning’s session helped the equity to regain the €2.95 level and close the week 1.2% higher. On the other hand, the share price of HSBC Bank Malta plc shed 0.5% today to end the week 0.3% higher at €2.93.

Malta International Airport plc closed the day unchanged at the €1.77 level despite trading ex-dividend. Volumes increased to almost 15,000 shares. Next week the airport operator will be publishing the March statistics which should reveal further movements related to the evacuation from Libya.

International Hotel Investments plc is shortly expected to publish its 2010 financial statements. The equity of IHI failed to trade this morning with offers placed below the last traded price of €0.83 and highest bids at €0.711.

On the bond market, the Rizzo Farrugia MGS Index continued to edge lower on further gains in eurozone yields. The European Central Bank will be meeting on Thursday 7 April 2011.