Daily Market Highlights (30.03.2020)

MSE Equity Price Index drops by 18% in March


Following the gains registered in the previous three trading sessions, the MSE Equity Price Index today dropped by 1.51% to 3,795.727 points as various companies trended lower including MIA, Farsons, IHI and HSBC. On the other hand, three shares closed the day in positive territory whilst another three ended unchanged. During the month of March, the local equity index shed 18% largely reflecting the sharp losses in IHI (-30.5%), MIA (-27.6%), RS2 (-22.6%), FIMBank (-22.4%) and BOV (-18.1%). Download today’s Equity Market Summary.

Malta International Airport plc partly erased some of last week’s rally as it slipped by 4.6% to the €4.96 level after hitting a high of €5.50 and partially recovering from an intra-day low of €4.80 (-7.7%). A total of 29,420 shares changed hands having a market value of €0.15 million.

Also among the large companies, International Hotel Investments plc and HSBC Bank Malta plc shed 6.1% and 2.2% to €0.535 and €0.90 respectively albeit on light volumes. Last Saturday, IHI issued an announcement providing further updates on its operations and also reassuring stakeholders on its debt obligations and the Group’s strength and stability. In this respect, IHI noted that its swift response in reducing costs as well as the varying schemes adopted by the various governments of the countries in which it has a presence are all contributing towards the preservation of financial resources. IHI noted that it has also been in touch with its funding banks in Malta and internationally. To varying degrees, all banks have agreed or are in advanced discussions with IHI to defer payment of capital and, in some cases, also interest. The company also explained that it has sufficient resources and funds to maintain all its payment obligations including bond interest payments as they arise through the course of the year. Meanwhile, it remained focused on continuing with its work on various projects oversees including new upcoming Corinthia hotels located in Rome, Doha, Bucharest, Moscow and Brussels.

A single deal of just 700 shares forced the equity of Simonds Farsons Cisk plc to drop by 7.5% to the €9.25 level.

Medserv plc slipped by 4% to the €0.96 level on just 1,200 shares.

In the property segment, Plaza Centres plc (€0.94), Trident Estates plc (€1.28) and Main Street Complex plc (€0.498) all closed the day lower albeit on trivial volumes.

Conversely, Malita Investments plc rebounded by 1.3% to the €0.78 level across 17,000 shares.

PG plc was the best performing equity today as it surged by 6.3% to regain the €1.70 level across 7,400 shares.

Lombard Bank Malta plc rallied by 5% back to the €2.10 level on a total of 2,440 shares.

Within the same sector, Bank of Valletta plc maintained the €0.86 level across 68,662 shares.

RS2 Software plc retained the €1.92 level after recovering from an intra-day low of €1.87 (-2.6%) on encouraging activity totalling 62,000 shares having a market value of €0.12 million.

GO plc also ended unchanged at its fourteen-month low of €3.90 after failing to hold on to an intra-day high of €3.98 (+2.1%). A total of 10,060 shares traded.

The RF MGS Index trended higher for the third consecutive day as it added a further 0.08% to 1,133.405 points. Despite today’s gain, the index still ended the month of March 1.84% lower as movements in the prices of Malta Government Stocks were mostly impacted by the volatile trends in Spanish and Italian government bond yields.

Various announcements were published by a number of issuers across the local corporate bond market. Virtu Finance plc explained that despite the recent termination of the lease of the ‘HSC Maria Dolores’ (which operated the Spain-Morocco route), it is already in receipt of enquiries from other third-party operators potentially interested in chartering the vessel, and discussions have already commenced with a view to resume operations at the opportune moment. Moreover, the contract for the lease of the ‘HSC Jean de la Valette’ (operating the Trinidad-Tobago route) has been renewed by a further six months up to 30 December 2020.

Mediterranean Investments Holding plc issued an announcement providing an update on its operations and also reassuring stakeholders of its continued strength and stability. In this respect, MIH explained that ‘Palm City’ continues to remain operational with an occupancy of 50% generating similar levels of EBITDA and operating profit as in 2019. Nevertheless, MIH has taken measures to reduce operating costs while the overall property is maintained in pristine conditions. MIH also added that it has sufficient funds to maintain all its payment obligations, not least the payments of bond interest as they arise throughout the course of the year.

Corinthia Finance plc also issued a similar announcement reassuring stakeholders of its continued strength and stability. In this respect, Corinthia explained that following the early redemption of the €7.5 million 6% bonds 2019/2022 in October 2019, it also has the necessary funds in place to continue honouring its debt obligations and servicing costs on the €40 million 4.25% bonds maturing in 2026. Corinthia also made reference to the sale of the ‘Panorama Hotel Prague’ which took place on 26 August 2019 as a result of which, the amount of €20 million were transferred to a reserve account for the purpose of redeeming part of the 4.25% bonds maturing in 2026.