Daily review (07.03.2024)

APS generates record profit in 2023


The MSE Equity Price Index eased by 0.08% to 3,822.369 points as the declines in six equities offset the gains in MIA and Malita. Meanwhile, four other equities closed unchanged as the overall trading activity in local equities amounted to €0.14 million. Download today’s Equity Market Summary.

APS Bank plc traded flat at the €0.55 level across seven deals totalling 22,801 shares. Today, APS published the 2023 financial results. Net interest income increased by 13.1% to €73.6 million principally driven by the continued expansion of the Group’s loan book. Excluding movements of financial instruments, non-interest income remained virtually unchanged at €8.7 million as the increase in net fees and commission income was dented by lower income from foreign exchange activities and other income. However, the Group performance was boosted by fair value movements of financial instruments totalling €3.1 million. Meanwhile, the financial performance was dented by a net impairment loss of €3.5 million principally related to a credit charge on an international syndicated loan. Overall, the APS Group reported a record profit before tax of €30.2 million which is nearly double the €15.7 million figure of 2022. The net profit attributable to equity holders amounted to €19.8 million (equivalent to €0.052 per share), which translates into a return on average shareholders’ funds of 7.6%. Total assets increased by 17.6% (or €549 million) to €3.66 billion principally composed of ‘Loans and advances to customers’ of €2.69 billion. Shareholders’ funds as at 31 December 2023 amounted to €273.1 million, which translates into a net asset value per share of €0.723. The Directors of APS are recommending the payment of a final net dividend of €0.015 per share to shareholders as at close of trading on 5 April 2024, subject to regulatory and AGM approvals. Shareholders will have the option to receive the dividend either in cash or in new ordinary shares at an attribution price of €0.55 per share. Coupled with the net interim dividend of €0.0056 per share that was paid in October 2023, the total net dividend attributable for the 2023 financial year amounts to €0.0206 per share, which represents a payout ratio of 39%.

Also in the banking sector, Bank of Valletta plc held the €1.36 level across six trades totalling 19,250 shares.

Malta Properties Company plc traded flat at the €0.30 level on two deals totalling 6,256 shares.

Tigné Mall plc kept the €0.82 level on muted activity.

Malta International Airport plc reversed yesterday’s decline as it surged by 5.4% to the €5.90 level across two trades totalling 860 shares.

Malita Investments plc climbed by 0.4% to the €0.492 level on trivial volumes.

A single trade of 1,695 shares pulled the share price of International Hotel Investments plc 4% lower to the €0.48 level. Today, IHI announced that it has leased out the 550-room hotel in Prague to Czech Inns, which will begin to operate the hotel as of 1 April 2024. The Company stated that the decision to lease out the Prague Hotel aligns with its strategy to focus on ultra-luxury operations whilst seeking other brands and solutions for its upscale and mid-market hotels.

GO plc shed 0.6% to the €3.12 level on a single trade of 2,000 shares.

AX Real Estate plc moved 2% lower to the €0.50 level as 75,000 shares changed hands.

Also in the property sector, Hili Properties plc shed 3.5% to the €0.193 level over five deals amounting to 212,800 shares.

MedservRegis plc fell by 4.1% to the €0.71 level on one trade of 3,000 shares.

HSBC Bank Malta plc decreased by 1.4% to the €1.42 level across three deals totalling 4,500 shares.

The RF MGS Index rose by 0.13% to a fresh one-month high of 895.199 points. Today, the ECB decided to hold its interest rates unchanged but acknowledged that inflation is declining at a faster-than-expected pace. In this respect, the ECB revised downwards the 2024 eurozone inflation forecast to 2.3% from earlier estimates of 2.7% and the 2025 projection to 2.0% compared to a previous forecast of 2.1%. Furthermore, economic growth projections were also revised downwards to 0.6% for 2024 as subdued economic activity is anticipated. Nonetheless, the economic growth is expected to improve in the next two years at 1.5% and 1.6% respectively, supported initially by consumption and then also by investment.


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.