Plaza Centres plc - Full-Year Results & Dividend Announcement

Plaza Centres plc published its Preliminary Statement of Results for the year ended 31 December 2006 following a Board of Directors’ meeting held on 20 March 2007.

The Directors recommend a gross dividend of 4c7 per share (net dividend of 3c06 per share) for approval at the Annual General Meeting which is due to be held on 25 April 2007. The net dividend of 3c06 is payable to those shareholders as at close of trading on Wednesday 21 March for settlement on Monday 26 March 2007.

Total operating expenses incorporating marketing costs, maintenance costs and administrative expenses decreased by 25.9% to Lm79,465. Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) during 2006 amounted to Lm576,693, representing a rise of 8.8% compared to the previous year. The EBITDA margin increased to a record level of 87.9% from 83.2% in 2005. The charge for depreciation was virtually unchanged from last year at Lm119,101, resulting in an operating profit of Lm457,592 in 2006 (2005: Lm411,091).
When including net interest receivable of Lm13,825, the pre-tax profit generated by Plaza Centres during 2006 amounted to Lm471,417, which is 10.3% higher than the pre-tax profit of 2005. After accounting for taxation, the Company reported a 12.6% rise in profits to Lm304,552 resulting in earnings per share of 3c24 (2005: 2c87).

The Directors’ recommendation of a gross dividend of 4c7 per share represents a 12.9% increase compared to the dividend distributed in respect of the previous financial year. The dividend cover remains unchanged at 1.06 times with a payout ratio of 94.6%. The Annual General Meeting is scheduled to take place on 25 April 2007 and if approved, the dividend will be paid on 27 April 2007.

As at 31 December 2006, the Company’s total assets amounted to Lm10.2 million with shareholders’ funds of Lm8.1 million. The net asset value per share amounts to Lm0.864. Plaza’s profitability ratios improved to record levels in 2006 with a return on equity of 3.76% (profit after tax divided by average equity) and return on assets of 4.6% (profit before tax divided by average assets). Pre-tax return on equity amounts to 5.8% (2005: 5.65%).

During the year, the Directors reported that the Malta Environment and Planning Authority issued the necessary permit for an extension of the Plaza Commercial Centre. Works on the extension of the shopping complex, which will increase the rentable area by 20% to 12,000m2, commenced in February 2007.

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