ECB increases rates in line with expectations
Today, the European Central Bank raised its key interest rates by a further 50 basis points with the ECB deposit facility going up to 3%, the highest level since 2008. The ECB’s Governing Council stated that inflation is still projected to remain too high and will proceed with data-dependent decisions as will be necessary in future meetings. The Governing Council also made it clear that it is monetary closely the ongoing market tensions and stands ready to respond to preserve financial and price stability in the eurozone.
The RF MGS Index erased all of yesterday’s losses as it surged by 1.4% to 885.824 points, the sharpest daily uplift in three years, reflecting the heightened volatility across sovereign bond markets over the past days. Today, the German 10-year bund yield ranged from a high of 2.29% to a low of 2.21%, but remains significantly below the 2.75% level as at the start of March. Overnight, Credit Suisse announced that it had secured support funding from the Swiss National Bank, which helped in restoring some of the investor confidence across international financial markets.
The MSE Equity Price Index eased by 0.17% to 3,628.817 points reflecting declines in five equities. Meanwhile, two other equities closed unchanged and Bank of Valletta plc was today’s only positive performing equity as it gained 1.1% to the €0.92 level on a single trade of 25,000 shares. Download today’s Equity Market Summary.
APS Bank plc was today’s most actively traded equity as it shed 0.8% to the €0.62 level across volumes totalling 66,000 shares.
HSBC Bank Malta plc erased yesterday’s gain as it retracted by 1% to the €1.03 level on a single trade of 2,963 shares.
Within the same sector, Lombard Bank Malta plc plunged by 7% to the €0.93 level, albeit on trivial volumes.
A single trade of 2,090 shares pulled the share price of Malta Properties Company plc 1.8% lower to the €0.442 level. Earlier this week, MPC published the 2022 financial results showing an improvement in rental income to €4.15 million compared to €3.58 million in 2021, reflecting the new rental income from the Ta’ Xbiex property acquired in March 2022 as well as the handover of the Zejtun Complex to GO plc. As a result, operating profit improved by 31.7% to €2.74 million. Meanwhile, the financial performance was impacted by higher finance costs and a marginal fair value loss on property compared to the €2.22 million fair value gain in the previous year. As at the end of 2022, shareholders’ funds amounted to €55.6 million equivalent to a net asset value of €0.549 per share. The Board of Directors declared a final net dividend of €0.013 (2021: €0.012) per share to shareholders as at close of trading on 13 April 2023.
Also in the property sector, AX Real Estate plc eased by 0.4% to the €0.48 level across three deals totalling 16,700 shares.
Malta International Airport plc traded flat at the €5.65 level on two deals totalling 4,600 shares.
GO plc held its 9-month high of €3.18 on one trade of 600 shares. Yesterday, GO published the 2022 financial results. Total Group revenue increased by 10.8% to a record of €214.6 million (2021: €193.7 million) reflecting growth across all three operating segments. EBITDA increased by 11.1% to €81.4 million compared to €73.2 million in 2021. Operating profit (‘EBIT’) surged by 20.7% to €28.4 million resulting in an improved EBIT margin of 13.2% compared to 12.1% in 2021. Net profit attributable to GO’s shareholders for 2022 amounted to €11.6 million (2021: €9.91 million) which translates into a return on average equity of 12.2% (2021: 9.33%). The Directors of GO are recommending the payment of an unchanged final net dividend of €0.09 per share. Coupled with the interim net dividend of €0.06 (2021: €0.07) per share paid in September 2022, the total net dividend for the year amounts to €0.15 per share which is 6.3% lower than the previous year. The final net dividend is payable on 15 May 2023 to all shareholders as at the close of trading on 5 April 2023 subject to shareholders’ approval at the upcoming Annual General Meeting scheduled for 11 May 2023.
Today, Malita Investments plc published the 2022 financial results. Revenue and operating income were marginally higher than the previous year but the financial performance was boosted by the fair value gain of investment property of €2.85 million, compared to a fair value loss of €27.8 million in 2021. Overall, Malita posted a net profit of €8.78 million. The Directors are recommending the payment of an unchanged final net dividend of €0.0142 per share to all shareholders as at the close of trading on Friday 24 March 2023. The dividend will be paid on Thursday 11 May 2023 subject to shareholders’ approval at the upcoming Annual General Meeting scheduled to be held on Thursday 27 April 2023. Coupled with the interim net dividend of €0.0112 per share, the total net dividend for the 2022 financial year amounts to €0.0254 per share, unchanged from the prior year.
The Malta Stock Exchange announced that 1,101,290 new MaltaPost plc ordinary shares have been admitted to the Official List of the Malta Stock Exchange following the recent scrip dividend issue at an attribution price of €1.094 per share, representing a high take-up of 80%. Following this scrip dividend, the total number of shares in issue increased to 38,756,010 shares. Furthermore, in line with the share split approved during the latest MaltaPost plc Annual General Meeting held on 16 February 2023, shareholders as at close of trading today will also be allotted one new share for every one share held (two for one share split). As a result, every one (1) share having a nominal value of €0.25 will be split into two (2) shares, each with a nominal value of €0.125.
This report contains public information only and is not to be construed as investment advice or an offer to buy or sell any securities. Information contained herein is based on data obtained from sources considered to be reliable, but no representations or guarantees are made with regard to the accuracy of the data. Stock markets are volatile and subject to fluctuations which cannot be reasonably foreseen. Past performance is not necessarily indicative of future results. Rizzo, Farrugia & Co. (Stockbrokers) Limited is a company licensed to undertake investment services in Malta by the MFSA under the Investment Services Act, Cap. 370 of the Laws of Malta and a member of the Malta Stock Exchange.