The Malta Independent 18 January 2020, Saturday

Monthly Round up Report for December 2019 MSE advances by 6.9% in 2019

Friday, 10 January 2020, 09:58 Last update: about 8 days ago

The MSE Equity Total Return Index increased by a minimal 0.02 per cent in December, closing 2019, 6.853 per cent higher, at 9,615.70 points. Turnover amounted to €3 million, spread across 22 equities, of which gainers and losers tallied at eight and six closed unchanged.

HSBC Bank Malta plc shares were the best performers in December 2019 - gaining 8.3 per cent, however registered the highest loss for 2019 - down by 29 per cent. The banking equity was active across 37 trades of 67,588 shares, and closed the month €0.10 higher at €1.30.

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Bank of Valletta plc (BOV) shares closed the month unchanged at €1.06, despite having reached a monthly high of €1.075, and a low of €1.015. BOV shares were the most liquid, having traded 181 deals of 685,698 shares. The equity fell by 12.3 per cent in 2019.

BOV announced that its US Dollar clearing provider has extended its service to March 31, 2020. For continuity purposes, the bank is close to reaching its final arrangements with other service providers.

The bank issued another announcement with reference to its interim directors' statement dated October 28, 2019. This statement said that "the bank is actively seeking to raise additional Tier 1 Capital by the end of the year which will further strengthen its regulatory capital." The bank stated that such issue is still ongoing and hence, Tier 1 capital shall be issued in 2020.

Moreover, the bank announced that on December 16, 2019, the Court of Appeal upheld the appeals filed by BOV and BOV Asset Management Ltd in a number of cases. Such cases related to an appeal BOV had filed last year, on March 14, 2018, relating to the decision given by the arbiter for financial services in relation to a number of La Valetta Multi Manager Property Fund claims.

Lombard Bank Malta plc shares increased by a marginal 0.9 per cent, as 3,796 shares changed ownership across three transactions, to close at €2.28 - down by 6.6 per cent in 2019. The directors of the bank shall meet on March 23, 2020, to consider, and if deemed fit, approve its audited accounts for 2019. During this meeting, a final dividend declaration shall be considered, which will then be recommended to the bank's Annual General Meeting. The AGM will be held on April 23.

FIMBank plc shares were the only losers in the banking sector, having declined by four per cent over 13 deals of 128,467 shares, closing at $0.60, and registering a 17.2 per cent loss for the year.

Malta International Airport plc shares declined by 3.5 per cent over 51 transactions of 40,381 shares, to close €0.25 lower at €6.90 - advancing by 19 per cent in 2019.

The local airport operator published its traffic results for November. An 8.7 per cent increase in passenger movements was registered when compared to the same month last year. November's growth rate was one of the strongest year-to-date increases, as a result of the airport's strategy of stimulating further traffic growth in the off-peak months.

During November, passenger movements stood at 493,201 on the back of increases in both aircraft movements and seat capacity. Seat load factor for the month was recorded at 78.1 per cent.

November's top markets were Spain, France, Germany, Italy and the UK. The growth rate for both Italy and Spain may be partly due to the introduction of Trieste and Santiago de Compostela routes for the season. The airport also launched two other routes, being Paphos in Cyprus and Nis in Serbia, as part of the winter schedule. In total, these four new routes resulted into over 10,460 passenger movements to November's total traffic.

The telecommunications services provider GO plc¸ registered a 1.9 per cent increase in its share price, as 24 trades of 122,649 shares were negotiated, closing €0.08 higher at €4.26 - up by 7.6 per cent in 2019. GO plc announced that Innovative Software Limited, its fully-owned subsidiary, shall be amalgamated with the company itself through a merger procedure.

GO has executed an agreement with PCCW Global Ltd, which is incorporated in Hong Kong. This company, together with third parties, is working to construct, maintain and commercialise an extension trunk system to a new high-speed fibre optic submarine cable system with branches to a number of countries.

As per agreement, GO shall acquire from PCCW Global Ltd, the title and ownership and/or the indefeasible right of use of submarine and land infrastructure connecting Malta to France and Egypt and the associated operational and maintenance services, subject to the terms and conditions agreed to.

Malta Properties Company plc shares declined by €0.05 or 7.4 per cent across six deals of 7,968 shares, closing at €0.63. GO's spin-off, MPC recorded a 10.5 per cent gain for the year.

Trident Estates plc shares fell by 6.1 per cent in December, however increased by 8.5 per cent in 2019. The equity was negotiated across 11 trades of 51,795 shares in December, and closed at €1.55.

BMIT Technologies plc shares advanced by two per cent across 26 transactions of 198,780 shares, closing at €0.52. The I.T. equity advanced by 6.1 per cent from its Initial Public Offering in late January 2019.

RS2 Software plc shares were the main gainers for 2019, having rallied by 72 per cent. In December, the equity witnessed 25 trades of 125,391 shares, and closed 0.9 per cent lower at €2.14.

Loqus Holdings plc shares were not active in December. The I.T. equity registered a 14 per cent loss in 2019.

The property management company, MIDI plc registered the most significant loss for the month, having declined by 16.3 per cent, as 469,950 shares changed hands across 53 deals, closing at €0.54 - 19.4 per cent in the red for 2019. MIDI announced that the discussions with Tumas Group Company Limited regarding the possibility of a joint venture in relation to the development of Manoel Island have ceased. However, the company remains fully committed to this project and development works shall commence following the issue of the required planning permits.

In the same sector, Malita Investments plc shares closed unchanged at €0.90, despite having traded at a monthly high of €0.93 - up by 2.3 per cent in 2019. The equity was negotiated over eight trades of 51,721 shares in December.

The insurance and investment services provider, Mapfre Middlesea plc recorded a 0.9 per cent increase in its share price, as two deals of 4,529 shares were concluded, closing at €2.16 - registering an 8.5 per cent gain for the year.

Meanwhile, GlobalCapital plc shares closed unchanged at €0.28, as two transactions of 380 shares were executed. The equity declined by 15.7 per cent in 2019.

Grand Harbour Marina plc shares were not active in December. GHM shares recorded a 21.4 per cent loss for the year.

International Hotel Investments plc shares advanced by 3.8 per cent in December and hence appreciated by 33.9 per cent in 2019. The hoteliers' equity was active on 30 deals of 141,761 shares in December, and closed at €0.83.

In December, IHI issued an announcement with respect to the Azure Services Limited restructuring. IHI own half of Golden Sands Resort and Azure Services Limited.  After having successfully sold the lion's share of its timeshare allocation at the Golden Sands Resort, ASL have been planning a strategic restructuring of the business, focusing more on traditional high-end tourism at the resort. Such restructuring requires a review of all operating departments at ASL, including the company's sales and marketing teams.

The remaining half is owned by international investors specialising in resort operations. The shareholders are still committed to the transformation of the Golden Sands Resort into a high-end luxury destination. Moreover, the shareholders have confirmed once again that both ASL and the Golden Sands Resort shall fully honour all timeshare commitments which may arise from obligations entered into with existing members. A specialist team shall be managing member-related services and relations as part of the restructuring process.

The oil and gas logistics services provider, Medserv plc registered a 12 per cent drop in its share price, as 14 transactions of 71,580 shares were negotiated, closing at €1.10 - down by 4.4 per cent in 2019.

Medserv announced that on November 29, it entered into a conditional agreement with AMT S.A. Advanced Maritime Transports to merge the two companies.  AMT shall issue a voluntary bid in cash to acquire the entire issued share capital of the company while the majority shareholders shall transfer their shares in the company to AMT, subject to terms and conditions set out therein.  AMT then intends to launch a voluntary bid to all shareholders of Medserv, whereby a cash consideration of €1.102 per share will be offered to all remaining minority shareholders. This is a Swiss registered company which is an integrated transport and logistics provider with a global reach and strong prominence in the oil and gas sector.

Subject to the transaction being successfully concluded, the new entity will have an operational presence in 26 countries on four continents. It will bring a workforce of approximately 900 employees and a global network of preferred partners. It is intended to accelerate and further supplement the group's growth and internationalisation strategy. AMT, Medserv and METS will become the largest Maltese listed company in terms of global presence.

The company issued an interim report, which highlighted an increase in turnover by 130 per cent to €19.3 million in quarter three 2019, when compared to the same period in 2018. This has improved EBITDA by 113 per cent when compared to the same quarter of 2018, from €1.5 million to €3.2 million. Medserv plc expects to reach an EBITDA of €14.1 million for the entire financial year ending December 31, 2019, resulting into a 93 per cent increase from the amount generated in the previous year. 

MaltaPost plc shares closed unchanged at €1.31, as six trades of 19,842 shares were concluded. The postal services operator registered a 17.1 per cent loss for the year 2019. In December, the company announced that the board approved its audited financial statements for the year ended September 30, 2019. These shall be submitted for approval during the next AGM, to be held on February 26, 2020. The board agreed to recommend for the approval of the AGM, the payment of a final gross dividend of €0.0615 per share. If agreed, such dividend shall be paid on March 20, 2020 to shareholders on the company's share register as at January 27, 2020.

Despite registering a 14 per cent decline in revenue to €34.48 million, there was a reduction in total expenses of 15.9 per cent, as it stood at €31.7 million. An increase of 13 per cent in profit before tax was recorded, as it amounted to €2.98 million.

Tigne Mall plc shares traded flat at €0.90 on five deals of 24,900 shares, recording a 6.7 per cent decline in 2019.

In the same sector, Main Street Complex plc shares were not active in December. The shopping mall's shares marked a 7.7 per cent loss in 2019.

Meanwhile, Plaza Centres plc shares closed the month and year one per cent lower at €1.01. Activity in this equity in December, was spread over 12 trades of 183,000 shares. The company has entered into a preliminary agreement relating to the sale of Tigne' Place. Such agreement is subject to a number of conditions which need to be satisfied before a definite deed of sale is executed, which is scheduled to take place in June 2020.

The retail and supermarkets owner PG plc¸ registered an increase of €0.09 or 5.1 per cent in its share price, closing the year 38.4 per cent higher at €1.84. During December, PG shares were negotiated across 24 transactions of 90,321 shares.

PG announced that the board has approved its unaudited financial statements and interim directors' report for the half-year period ended October 31, 2019. The group registered a 16.8 per cent growth, when compared to the same period last year, as total turnover stood at €58.1 million. Profit before tax increased to €7.3 million, translating into a 32 per cent increase from the previous year's figure. Pama and Pavi supermarkets' operating margins have advanced. This resulted from higher turnover due to enhanced efficiency, as well as from an increase in rentals.

Moreover, profit has improved as sales from franchise operations increased, which typically carry higher margins. One should highlight the fact that the group's main outlet under Zara and Zara Home segment was closed for expansion and refurbishment during the large part of the comparative period ended October 31, 2019. As anticipated by the group, the expansion resulted in a substantial increase in turnover (37.7 per cent) when compared to the equivalent period in 2017, prior to commencement of works.

Simonds Farsons Cisk plc shares closed unchanged at €11.50 over six trades of 1,455 shares. The food and beverage supplier's shares appreciated by 31.4 per cent in 2019.

Santumas Shareholdings plc shares increased by 0.7 per cent, as 5,000 shares changed ownership over two deals. The equity increased by 9.2 per cent in 2019.

In the corporate bond market, turnover amounted to €7.2 million and was spread over 63 issues, of which 32 advanced and 20 fell. The 3.75% Mercury Projects Finance plc Secured 2027 headed the list of gainers, having advanced by 5.4 per cent, to close at €100.10. Meanwhile, the 4.5% Medserv plc Unsecured € 2026 was the worst performer, having declined by two per cent, closing at €99.

In the sovereign debt market, 24 issues were active, of which eight increased, while 15 lost ground. Turnover totalled to €42.9 million. The 2.1% MGS 2039 (I) was the most liquid issue, having witnessed a turnover of €7.9 million, closing 3.7 per cent higher at €130.

 

This article, which was compiled by Jesmond Mizzi Financial Advisors Limited, does not intend to give investment advice and the contents therein should not be construed as such. The Company is licensed to conduct investment services by the MFSA and is a Member of the Malta Stock Exchange and a member of the Atlas Group. The directors or related parties, including the company, and their clients are likely to have an interest in securities mentioned in this article. For further information contact Jesmond Mizzi Financial Advisors Limited at 67, Level 3, South Street, Valletta, or on Tel: 21224410, or email [email protected]


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