Share prices of the 3 local banks decline

The declines in the share prices of all the three local banks this morning sent the MSE Share Index down 0.6% to 2,965.854 points despite the 2.6% rise in the share price of GO plc.

The equity of Lombard Bank Malta plc continued on its downward path for the third consecutive day as the bank’s share price shed 2.1% to a new 76-month low of €2.30 on volumes of 5,872 shares. The recent decline in Lombard’s equity is possibly a result of the sharp drop in profits registered at Maltapost plc during the first half of their financial year. MaltaPost is a subsidiary of Lombard Bank.

Increased activity was registered the equity of Bank of Valletta plc as all outstanding bids at the €2.10 level were satisfied. A total of 71,506 shares traded today across 22 deals. The equity of BOV closed the day marginally lower at €2.10.

On the other hand, only 8,910 HSBC Bank Malta plc shares traded with the price dropping back to the 2012 low of €2.50. Last Friday, 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 which in turn was lifted by the recovery in 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.

The only positive performer today was GO plc. GO’s share price continued to recover from the all-time low and advanced by 2.6% to €0.78 on lower volumes amounting to 5,333 shares. During the Annual General Meeting held last week, GO announced that the transfer of properties 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.

No activity was registered in FIMBank plc shares following the publication of the Interim Statement yesterday. FIMBank provided an update on its operational performance and announced that the due diligence process by Burgan Bank on FIMBank is progressing but no developments could be reported at this stage.

Similarly, 6pm Holdings plc stated that during the first few months of 2012, profits were satisfactory and monthly targets were reached with all companies within the Group delivering positive results. 6pm also indicated that they anticipate that the results obtained during the first few months of 2012 will be maintained throughout the rest of the year and this will help in reversing the negative profitability trend experienced in past years.

Further Interim Statements are expected to be issued by various companies by close of business tomorrow.

On the local bond market, the Rizzo Farrugia MGS Index again eased lower to 990.181 points as the Central Bank of Malta revised the bid prices downwards despite a further drop in Eurozone yields. The German 10-year bund yield eased to 1.423% after the news hit the market of the disappointing results of the Spanish bond auction. Spanish ten-year yields climbed to 6.32% after the auction.