Monthly Round up Report for April 2022

Last Updated on Wednesday, 4 May, 2022 at 11:58 am by Andre Camilleri

The MSE Equity Total Return Index returned to positive territory, as it ended the month 3.1% higher at 7,796.076 points. A total of 26 equities were active, seven of which headed north while another 12 closed in the opposite direction. The total monthly turnover increased by €0.5m when compared to the previous month, to €2.7m.

Malta International Airport plc (MIA) shares gained 5.3%, as 54 trades of 115,754 shares were negotiated, closing €0.30 higher at €5.95.

MIA announced its traffic results for the first three months of the year. The company welcomed 316,713 passengers in March, with this number bringing the traffic for the first quarter up to nearly 673,000 passenger movements. This quarterly total was 44.1% below the traffic handled by the airport during the same period in 2019.

The number of seats available on flights to and from Malta remained 35.4% below pre-pandemic levels, while the seat load factor averaged at 65.5% for the first quarter of the year. This was 10.2% below 2019 levels.

MIA’s market leaderboard for the first three months of the year saw the Italian market occupy the top spot, with just under 125,000 passenger movements registered. The United Kingdom followed with nearly 119,000 passenger movements, while France, Germany and Poland registered a cumulative total of 174,838 passenger movements.

International Hotel Investments plc shares advanced by €0.205 or 34% across 27 deals of 203,718 shares, to close at €0.805 as the company announced that it has entered in a preliminary term sheet with the United Development Company of Qatar (UDC) to assess a possible subscription for shares in the company. Subject to the attainment of all necessary approvals, a satisfactory completion of a due diligence process and satisfactory negotiation and completion of all requisite definitive agreements, UDC will subscribe to 100,000,000 new shares to be issued by the company at a subscription price of €1.22 per share. Furthermore, UDC will be granted with an option to subscribe to an additional 200,000,000 new shares within one year at a price of €1.28 per share.

UDC is the owner and developer of the Pearl in Doha, Qatar, consisting of a luxury residential, commercial, social and hospitality development. UDC is a listed company whose main shareholder is the Pension Fund of Qatar.

During the IHI’s AGM, which is going to be held on June 9, 2022 the company shall be seeking the consent of shareholders to make disclosures of information to UDC. The company will also ask shareholders to authorise its directors to issue and allot up to 300,000,000 new shares.

The financial statements for 2021 released last week clearly show that the company is on the road to recovery from the impact of the pandemic. The company is now forecasting that the 2022 financial results will surpass last year’s results, as the year-to-date performance confirms budgets are being achieved.

During the month, the company reported the financial performance for 2021. These results were again impacted by Covid-19, this time for the full 12-month period compared to a nine-month period the year before. In the second half of the year, following vaccinations and the relaxation of restrictions and limitations, all the company’s businesses performed better, in particular instances matching the performance of 2019 month-on-month. Total revenue for the year under review increased to €129.3m from €91.9m in 2020, an increase of 41%.

On the strength of the increased revenue, the group recorded a gain in operating results before depreciation and fair value of €26.5m, an increase of €30.3m from the €3.8m registered in 2020. Despite the positive increase in turnover, the company registered a loss after tax of €27.5m.

The group registered a profit on total comprehensive income of €65m in 2021, against a loss of €123.9m registered in 2020. The share of profit of total comprehensive income attributable to the shareholders of IHI amounted to €21.5m for the year under review.  The corresponding figure for 2020 was a loss of €97.8m.

At December 31, 2021 the group reported a working capital surplus of €53.6m relative to a negative working capital of €9.5m reported in 2020. A significant part of this positive shift is attributable to the new funds collected on a bond which was successfully launched and concluded in December 2021.

Bank of Valletta plc was active over 101 deals of 509,260 shares and closed April unchanged at €0.77.

HSBC Bank Malta plc shares declined for the fourth consecutive month this year, having decreased by 6% since the previous month and 15% from a year-to date perspective. A total of 47 deals of 247,943 shares were executed, closing at €0.78.

Likewise, FIMBank plc shares remained in negative territory, having declined by 17.6 %, as 313,616 shares changed ownership across 21 trades, to close at $0.206.

The board of FIMBank plc met on April 13, 2022 and approved the bank’s annual report and financial statements for the financial year ended December 31, 2021. During 2021, the group’s net operating revenues rose by 6% to $41.2m, while there was only a marginal increase of 4% in operating expenses, to reach $40.5m.

The group’s net interest margin felt the impact of a persistently low global interest environment. As a result, net interest income dropped by 13% to $24.9m. This decrease was fully offset by the net fee and commission income, which increased by 21%, from $9.0m to $10.8m, together with a $3.0m gain from trading assets.

At the end of the financial year, the group’s total consolidated assets stood at $1.79bn, down by 2.5%, or $45.6m, when compared to 2020. The group’s consolidated liabilities stood at $1.56bn, reflecting a 2.3% drop, equivalent to $36.4m, from the previous year.

In November 2021, the bank decided to close the Hellenic Branch in Greece, a process which was concluded in February 2022. This decision complements the overarching strategy of simplifying and reducing complexities, allowing the group to focus on consolidating its position in specific target markets. Meanwhile, a Greek helpdesk has been set up in Malta in order to continue providing existing clients with a high level of service.

The bank’s AGM will be held remotely on June 14, 2022.

Meanwhile, Loqus Holdings plc registered a 71% gain, fully erasing the previous two months’ loss. The equity was active on six transactions of 48,679 shares, and closed €0.079 higher at €0.19.

Lombard Bank Malta plc remained unchanged at the €1.85 level. Twelve deals of 46,760 shares were executed.

The board of Lombard has approved the annual report and financial statements for the financial year ended December 31, 2021.

The bank registered a profit before tax of €12.6m, a 21.8% increase over 2020. The group’s net interest income at €19.6m was 3.6% higher than the previous year. The increase in credit activity compensated for pressure on interest rates, especially in treasury operations. New lines of business also contributed to an increase of 10% in net fee and commission income. The decrease in other operating income was due to a one-off transaction in 2020. 

The bank’s cost efficiency ratio was 60.8%, while that of the group stood at 81.9%. Though operating costs remained well under control, increased fees and costs associated with obligations to satisfy regulatory requirements, and the enhancement of the compliance function, all contributed to a higher cost-base.

The insurance and investments services provider Mapfre Middlesea plc, registered a 5.6% loss in April – adding on to the 2.7% decline in March. The equity was active on 14 transactions of 10,098 shares, to close €0.12 lower at €2.02.

LifeStar Insurance plc closed the month unchanged at €0.45. Two trades involving 999 shares were executed.

The telecommunications provider, GO plc joined the positive movers with a 3.8% change in share price. A total of 105,809 shares exchanged ownership across 49 deals.

GO’s board approved the annual report and consolidated financial statements for the financial year ended December 31, 2021. These will be submitted for the approval of the shareholders at the forthcoming AGM scheduled to be held remotely on May 25, 2022.

In the property sector, AX Real Estate plc was the only positive performer, and ended the month in positive territory. The equity was up by €0.02 or 3.5% ending April at €0.60. This was the outcome of nine transactions of 73,845 shares.

AX announced that during the board meeting held on April 4, 2022 the board resolved to approve the audited financial statements for the year ended October 31, 2021.

The profit after tax for the year amounted to €20,011,987 when compared to €157,797 for the year 2020. During the year under review, the AX Group went through a re-organisation exercise, with the ultimate aim of consolidating the main property letting activities of the AX Group into one newly-formed division under AX Real Estate plc, and thus forming the Estates Group.

The company received dividends of €17 million from its subsidiaries. The company recognised an increase in the fair value of its investment property, the warehouses at Hardrocks Business Park and the Falcon House offices of €3,824,451.

On the other hand, VBL plc, Santumas Shareholdings plc and Trident Estates plc all joined the list of fallers as a result of trivial volume. VBL plc was down by 1.6% whilst Santumas Shareholdings plc declined by 1% to ultimately close the month at €0.25 and €1.09, respectively. Trident Estates plc took a greater fall, with the share price dropping 4.1% to the €1.40 level. 

Trident Estates plc announced that it is scheduled to meet on May 27, 2022 to consider and approve the annual financial statements of the company for the financial year ending December 31, 2021 and to recommend a final dividend at the forthcoming AGM which will be held remotely on June 24, 2022.

Malta Properties Company plc shares extended March’s 1.9% loss, having declined by 1% per cent in April across 15 transactions of 109,042 shares, to close at €0.505.

Hili Properties plc remained at the €0.24 level after eight deals involving 104,120 shares were executed. The equity is down by 11% from a year to date perspective.

The company announced that it has acquired a 7,863 sqm shopping centre in Riga, Latvia, built on 21,580 sqm of land, for a net price of €20m. The property is situated in one of Riga’s most densely populated residential areas. The shopping centre has been operational for fifteen years and has the benefit of an anchor tenant, as well as other successful retail operators. The acquisition has been structured as a share sale pursuant to which a subsidiary of the company incorporated in Latvia (SIA “Premier Estates Ltd”) acquired 100% of the issued share capital of SIA “SC Stirnu”, incorporated in Latvia. SIA Stirnu is the owner of the said shopping centre. This asset in Latvia, increases the company’s portfolio from €135m to €155m and extends the total leasable square meters to 98,000 square meters across 24 properties.

The company also announced that on March 31, 2022 it completed the promise of sale and purchase agreement dated August 25, 2015 pursuant to which it promised to acquire 100% of the issued share capital of Harbour (APM) Investments Limited, as owner of the 92,000sqm parcel of land comprising a number of sites at Benghajsa, Malta. This acquisition increases the company’s portfolio from €155m to €180m.

The company registered a consolidated profit after tax of €3.2m. The financial analysis summary (FAS) published in June 2021 contained a projected consolidated profit after tax of €1.5m. The improvement in the reported results is primarily attributable to higher increase in the value of properties owned by the group, when compared to those projected in the FAS.

The net movements in fair value reported in the financial statements amount to €2.1m, whereas the comparable amount in the FAS was €1m. The difference of €1.1m mainly relates to higher fair values on properties in Malta and properties in the Baltics, classified as held for sale.

Joining the list of non-movers were M&Z plc and PG plc. The equities ended the month at €0.75 and €2.24 respectively. During the final week of April, M&Z plc published the audited financial statements for the year ended December 31, 2021. The company announced that although it faced a number of challenges during 2021, including the implications of Brexit and the additional costs faced due to import/export duties, the company still managed to close the year with an increase of 5.2% in revenue, and 21.5% in profit after tax.

RS2 Software plc ordinary shares were the only positive movers in April in the IT services sector. The ordinary shares advanced by 3.1%, as 40,756 shares exchanged hands across 10 deals.

The board of the RS2 Software plc approved the financial statements for the year ended December 31, 2021. The board resolved that these financial statements be submitted for the approval of the shareholders at the forthcoming AGM, which is scheduled to be held remotely on June 27, 2022.

During 2021 the company registered revenues from its principal activities of €24.5m, up from €23.8m in 2020, and a profit after tax of €3.5m compared to €3.6m in 2020. The group generated revenues of €38.7m, compared to €26.8m for the group’s consolidated activities and registered a profit after tax of €3.3m when compared to a loss after tax of €6m in 2020.

The group’s total assets amounted to €47.6m in 2021 against €38.1m in 2020. Its current assets exceeded its current liabilities by €7.5m in 2021, whilst the current liabilities exceeded its current assets by €9.1m in 2020.

Harvest Technology plc eased by 0.7% as a result of three transactions of 5,050 shares. The equity ultimately ended the month at €1.49. Likewise, BMIT Technologies plc slid by 5.9% to the €0.48 level. This was the outcome of 425,522 shares exchanging hands across 25 transactions.

BMIT’s board approved the annual report and consolidated financial statements for the financial year ended December 31, 2021. These will be submitted for the approval of the shareholders at the forthcoming AGM scheduled to be held remotely on May 24, 2022.

MedservRegis plc was the worst performing equity in April, having declined by 21.4% to €0.70. This was the outcome of a single trade involving 71,713 shares. On the other hand, the equity has advanced 7.7% since January. 

The company announced that it was not in a position to publish its annual financial report for the financial year ended December 31, 2021 by April 30, 2022 and expects that it will be in a position to publish the annual financial report on June 15, 2022. The delay resulted in the suspension of trading in the company’s listed securities by the MSE with effectfrom May 2, 2022 – the first trading day following the deadline for submission of the financial information in question in terms of the applicable MFSA policy, until such time as such financial information is published by the company in accordance with capital market rules requirements.

The share-for-share exchange transaction announced on June 25, 2021 significantly increased the complexity of the group, and with continued COVID-19 infections amongst key accounting staff members, the preparation and the audit of the financial statements is taking longer than originally anticipated.

The board and audit committee are in regular contact with KPMG and have confirmed that the audit is progressing without any issues.

Simonds Farsons Cisk plc partially recovered March’s loss, as eight deals of 11,320 shares pushed the share price 3.1% higher. The equity ended the month at €8.25.

The company announced that it shall be meeting on May 25, 2022 to consider and approve its audited financial statements for the financial year ended January 31, 2022 and to recommend a final dividend at the forthcoming AGM which shall be held remotely on June 23, 2022.

 A sole transaction pushed MaltaPost plc into the red, recording a 1% decline to finish the month at €1.09.

Six trades of 48,627 Malita Investments plc dragged the share price to €0.75, down by 5.1%. Meanwhile, Tigne’ Mall plc was active on 12 trades of 47,950 shares though ended the month unchanged at €0.70.

The AGM of Tigne Mall plc will be held remotely on June 17, 2022. The company announced that its board approved the audited financial statements for the year ended December 31, 2021. In spite of a challenging first half of the year due to Covid-19 related lockdowns, the company still managed to perform significantly better than 2020. Revenues rose by 23% to almost €6.7m, while EBIDTA increased by 27% to €6.1m. Profit after tax tallied to €2.8m.

The directors of the company recommend the payment of a final net dividend of €750,000 or €0.0133.

The board of Grand Harbour Marina plc (GHM) has approved the financial statements for the period ended December 31, 2021 which will be submitted for the approval of the shareholders at the forthcoming AGM.

Revenue in 2021 contracted by €0.5m when compared to 2019 and 2020, as the company suffered numerous cancellations on superyacht visitors and lower superyacht seasonal bookings during the winter period, due to uncertainty of lockdowns and Covid restrictions.

The company registered EBITDA of €1.6m, hence €0.4m lower than 2020. With net finance costs of €0.8m, the company achieved a €0.11m profit after tax when compared to €0.47m in 2020. GHM paid no dividends during the year. The market capitalisation of GHM on the MSE on April 18, 2022 fell by €0.8m from the prior year, to €12.40m.

The directors of MIDI plc presented their annual report and audited financial statements for the year ended December 31, 2021. The group managed to register a profit after tax of €0.6m compared to a loss after tax of €2.1m registered during 2020. When compared to 2020, revenues increased by €0.2m to €2.8m. The board continues to adopt a cautious approach in not recommending a dividend payment in respect of the year ended December 31, 2021. This decision was taken in light of the perceived current uncertainties in order to preserve the group’s cash resources, enabling it to manage liquidity demands over the coming months.

Plaza Centres plc approved its consolidated financial statements for the year ended December 31, 2021.

The group generated revenue of €2.5m, a decrease of 8.1% when compared to €2.8m in 2020. The sale of Tigne’ Place Commercial Property in September 2020 automatically contributed to a reduction in the consolidated revenue, when compared to previous year. Revenue generated by the parent company during 2021 amounted to €2.5m, an improvement of 17.2% when compared to previous year’s revenue of €2.1m.  Similarly, the group’s earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) decreased by 15.5% from €1.9m in 2020 to €1.6m in 2021, whilst the EBITDA of the company increased by 13.1%, from €1.4m in 2020 to €1.6m in 2021.

The group’s profit before tax for 2021 increased by 13.7% to €0.9m, from €0.8m in 2020. Taxation increased from €0.29 in 2020 to €0.34m in 2021. The group’s profit after tax increased to €0.52 in 2020 to €0.46 in 2021. The group’s operating costs amounted to €1.4m in 2020 compared to €1.5m in 2021, whilst the cost to income ratio increased to 56.1%, from 54.8% in 2020.

Main Street Shopping Complex plc published their annual financial report for 2021. Revenues for the year increased to €0.6m, up from €0.5m in 2020. Profit after tax increased by 67.3% to €0.2m, versus €0.1m in 2020. The directors recommended a net final dividend of €0.2m.

The MSE Corporate Bonds Total Return Index gained ground as it gained 1.1% to 1,146.844 points, as a result of 71 active issues. The 6% Pendergardens Developments plc Secured € 2022 Series II was the most liquid bond, as it registered €1.34m in turnover.

The MSE MGS Total Return Index returned to negative territory after losing 2.4%, ending the month at 1,004.879 points. Out of the 17 active issues, the 5.25% MGS 2030 (I) generated the most turnover, totalling €1.4m, ending the month at €128.40.

In the Prospects MTF market, 13 issues were active. The 4.75% KA Finance plc Secured Callable Bonds 2026-2029 was the most liquid, as it generated a total monthly turnover of €58,064.

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: 2122 4410, or email info@jesmondmizzi.com

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In 1994, the Malta Business Weekly became the first newspaper fully dedicated to business. Today this newspaper is a leader in business and financial news. Together with the launch of the MBW newspaper, the company started organising various business breakfasts to discuss various current issues that were targeting the business community in Malta.