Daily Market Highlights (24.03.10)

  • MSE Share Index closes lower for the fifth successive session. Index drops marginally lower to 3,567.773 points as declines in GO and Lombard Bank offset gains in Grand Harbour Marina, Middlesea Insurance and minimal increases in the share prices of BOV and IHI. Meanwhile HSBC and MaltaPost close unchanged. On the bond market, the new bond issues of Premier Capital plc and International Hotel Investments plc and Premier Capital close due to over-subscription. Download a copy of today’s Equity Market Summary.
  • BOV edges minimally higher to close at the €3.261 level on volumes of just over 10,400 shares. Few other bids remaining unsatisfied at the closing price whilst lowest offers now placed at the €3.27 level.
  • Meanwhile HSBC trades unchanged at the €3.28 level on a miniscule trade of just 224 shares. Other bids in the market at the last traded price whilst lowest offers still pitched at the €3.379 level. The Bank is scheduled to hold its Annual General Meeting on 8 April 2010.
  • A single trade of 2,000 GO shares transacted at the €2.184 level, representing a 0.3% decline from yesterday’s closing level. Offers already placed below the last closing price at €2.179 with best bids still pitched at the €2.01 level. The telecoms Group recently published its 2009 financial statements which showed a 4.5% decline in turnover to €123.7 million as the Group was negatively effected by the international economic climate, the increased competition and by the impact of regulation. On the other hand, GO stated that it was positively impacted by the results of the BM Group, the data centre operation in which GO acquired a 60% shareholding in April 2009. GO’s results were also negatively impacted by the investment in Forthnet. Forthnet managed to reduce its loss during 2009 and announced a pre-tax loss of €40.5 million (2008: loss of €54.6 million). The GO Group incurred a pre-tax loss of €3.2 million (2008: Profit of €0.3 million) resulting in loss per share of €0.066 (2008: +€0.02). GO recommended the payment of a final net dividend of €0.10 per share to those shareholders as at close of trading on Tuesday 13 April 2010. Further details available here.
  • Lombard’s share price slumps 3.2% to close at the €3.00 level on three trades amounting to 2,320 shares. Best bids now placed at €2.99 whilst further offers remain unsatisfied at the closing price. The Lombard Group recently announced its 2009 full-year results showing an 8.6% drop in pre-tax profits to €12.9 million mainly due to lower net impairment gains than in the previous financial year. Further details available here.
  • Grand Harbour Marina jumps 2.6% to a fresh 2010 high of €1.97 on a single trade of 5,000 shares. Lowest offers now pitched at the €1.98 level with highest best at €1.87.
  • Middlesea Insurance edges 1.4% higher to regain the €0.73 level on a single trade of 4,000 shares. The insurance company recently held an Extraordinary General Meeting during which shareholders approved a number of changes to the memorandum and articles of association to reflect the new shareholding structure following the November 2009 Rights Issue. Middlesea is scheduled to hold its Annual General Meeting on 9 June 2010.
  • A single trade of 1,400 MaltaPost shares transacted at the €0.75 level, unchanged from the previous close. Offers of over 20,000 shares remaining unsatisfied at the closing price with highest bids at the €0.72 level.
  • This morning IHI announced the closure of its €25 million 6.25% bond issue due to over-subscription. These bonds were raised to fund the redemption of the €11.6 million 5% convertible bonds issued in 2000 and due to mature on 29 May 2010 and to fully repay an outstanding loan amounting to €12 million with an international bank. The allocation policy is expected in the coming days. Equity edges minimally higher to close at the €0.801 level on low volumes of 4,187 shares.
  • Premier Capital plc also announced this morning the closure of its bond issue due to over-subscription. In view of the strong demand for the bonds, the company exercised its over-allotment option and increased the amount of the 10-year bond issue to a maximum of €25 million. The allocation policy should be published by Thursday 1 April. Premier Capital plc is the development licensee of McDonald’s in Malta, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia and the €25 million bond issue was raised principally for financing the expansion and development programme over the coming 2 years. The Premier Group intends to acquire 8 new McDonald’s restaurants in Malta and the Baltic states while a number of existing McDonald’s outlets are intended to be remodelled through conversion into hybrid restaurants and McCafes.

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