MSE Share Index ends week marginally higher

The MSE Share Index ended this week marginally higher at 2,978.843 points following gains in the share prices of GO plc and Malta International Airport plc. GO plc ended the week 3.9% higher despite this morning’s 1.3% decline following a positive reaction to last Wednesday’s Annual General Meeting and the announcement regarding the transfer of properties which will result in a gain of €11.4 million in the income statement during 2012. During the Annual General Meeting, GO also announced that it set up a new holding company for the various properties it owns and will be seeking advice on the best way to extract value from such properties.

MIA’s share price also closed in positive territory this week with a 0.6% increase to the €1.73 level – a new 3-month high. The airport operator also held its Annual General Meeting this week. During the meeting shareholders approved all the items on the agenda including the final net dividend of €0.04 per share which will now be paid on 25 May 2012.

HSBC Bank Malta plc recovered by 2% this morning to regain the €2.55 and closed the week unchanged. Shortly after the close of this morning’s trading session, HSBC published its Interim Directors’ Statement covering the performance since the start of the year. The statement revealed that the HSBC Malta Group returned a solid performance mainly due to the improved profitability in the life insurance business following the recovery across international financial markets. The Directors reiterated that the bank remains highly liquid with a strong loan to deposit ratio and capital ratios well above regulatory requirements.

Similarly, International Hotel Investments plc issued its Interim Directors Statement to update investors on the Group’s performance during the first three months of the year. The IHI Group also reported improvements in performance mainly due to the recovery in the Tripoli Hotel as well as the London Hotel. The Directors explained that the improved results were registered in the first quarter of 2012 despite the difficult economic conditions in the markets in which the Group operates. A total of 59,847 shares traded today with the price holding on to €0.82.

On the local bond market front, the Rizzo Farrugia MGS Index edged marginally higher to 990.773 points somewhat reflecting the drop in yields to a new all-time low of 1.497% following the uncertainty created by the election results in France and Greece as well as the nationalisation of Spain’s third largest bank which fell into financial difficulties.