Daily Market Highlights (23.04.2021)

MSE Equity Price Index surpasses 4,000 mark


The MSE Equity Price Index posted a three-day winning streak as it climbed by 1.7% to a 10-week high of 4,014.158 points. The gains in Farsons, RS2, Medserv, Lombard and GO outweighed the declines in BMIT, FIMBank, HSBC and PG. Meanwhile, BOV and MIA both traded flat as overall trading activity amounted to €0.17 million. Download today’s Equity Market Summary.

Simonds Farsons Cisk plc closed at a near 13-month high as it surged by 15.6% to the €10.00 level across 805 shares.

Similarly, RS2 Software plc jumped by 8.7% to a 10-week high at the €2.00 level across 12,750 shares. Today, RS2 announced that it received applications for a total amount of 8,989,600 preference shares (for a total value of €15,731,800) in respect of the recent offer of up to 28,571,400 preference shares at an offer price of €1.75 per preference share. All applications were met in full and the new preference shares are expected to be admitted to the Official List of the Malta Stock Exchange by latest 30 April 2021 whilst trading may commence from 3 May 2021.

Medserv plc advanced by 12.2% to a near 1-year high at the €0.83 level across 14,542 shares.

GO plc rose by 2.2% to the €3.72 level as 10,679 shares changed hands. Shareholders as at close of trading today will be entitled to receive a final net dividend of €0.16 per share on Monday 31 May 2021.

GO’s data centre subsidiary – BMIT Technologies plc – dropped by 4.8% to the €0.50 level across 48,100 shares as the equity started trading ex-dividend as from today.

A single trade of 1,190 shares forced PG plc 1.9% lower to the €2.08 level.

Meanwhile, FIMBank plc lost a further 6.5% to a 5½ month low at the USD0.29 level as 40,699 shares changed hands.

Elsewhere, Malta International Airport plc traded unchanged at the €6.20 level across trivial volumes.

In the retail banking sector, Bank of Valletta plc traded flat at the €0.90 level across 44,700 shares whilst HSBC Bank Malta plc shed 1.2% to the €0.85 level across a single deal of 8,000 shares.

Lombard Bank Malta plc gained 8.1% to recapture the €2.00 level across 3,500 shares. Yesterday, Lombard published its 2020 Annual Report showing a slight increase in operating income which, however, was offset by higher costs and expected credit losses. The Bank reported a net profit of €6.64 million and is also recommending the payment of a final net dividend of €0.0195 per share. This is in line with regulatory guidelines and translates in a pay-out ratio of 13%. The dividend is payable on 9 June 2021 to all shareholders as at the close of trading on 26 April 2021 subject to shareholders’ approval at the upcoming Annual General Meeting scheduled to be held remotely on 28 May 2021.

Today, MIDI plc published its 2020 Annual Report showing a substantial drop in revenues to just €2.82 million (€2019: €27.7 million) as the company only had three apartments available for sale. Consequently, MIDI reported a pre-tax loss of €1.6 million. In their commentary to the 2020 Annual Report, the Directors of MIDI explained that the company continued to focus on the Manoel Island project during 2020. Following the discovery of archaeological findings, MIDI prepared a revised Masterplan which envisages a reduction in development volumes from the previously approved 127,000 sqm to 95,000 sqm, as well as an increase in the areas dedicated to open spaces to 192,000 sqm from 175,000 sqm. In addition to the Manoel Island project, MIDI has also been working on its final development at Tigné Point – i.e. the ‘Q3’ residential block. This will consist of 63 apartments and underground car parking. A full development permit was granted by the Planning Authority in April 2020 but this is subject to an appeal.

The RF MGS Index retreated by 0.10% to 1,113.508 points as the European Central Bank (“ECB”) continues with its €1.85 trillion bond-buying program after ECB President Christine Lagarde confirmed yesterday that purchases will be at an elevated pace in the current quarter. Meanwhile, Eurostat figures show that Euro area debt spiked to 98% of GDP as governments increased public deficit to support their economies during the ongoing pandemic. In the US, President Biden is expected to announce a number of tax increases that are aimed at high income earners, which may include doubling the capital gains tax for people earning more than $1 million.

Yesterday, Tigné Mall plc published its 2020 annual report whereby it recorded a 22.1% drop in revenues to €5.44 million as the company’s operations were materially adversely impacted by COVID-19. Overall, Tigné Mall reported a pre-tax profit of €2.16 million compared to €3.58 million in 2019. In their commentary, the Directors noted that although the pandemic will have an impact on its operations and financial performance in 2021, the company is expected to have sufficient liquidity and financial resources to meet its obligations and cash outflows.

Yesterday, LifeStar Holding plc published its 2020 annual report whereby it registered a pre-tax loss of €1.1 million compared to a pre-tax profit of €2.1 million in 2019. In their commentary, the Directors of LifeStar explained that during 2020, the Group continued to undertake restructuring and transformation activity to align its business operations with the new strategy which is designed to permanently resolve various legacy issues. This includes the strengthening of the Group’s capital base via the IPO of LifeStar Insurance and the related Share Exchange Offer, as well as a new subordinated bond to be issued by LifeStar Insurance.