Monthly Round up Report for December 2020: MSE index ends December on a positive note

The building of the Malta Stock Exchange in Valletta. (source: Wikimedia Commons/Frank Vincentz)

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The MSE Equity Total Return Index appreciated by 11.43 per cent in December, closing the year 11.9 per cent lower at 8,471.335 points. Turnover totalled to €6.8 million and was spread across 24 equities, of which 21 gained ground and only one closed in negative territory.

Malta International Airport plc (MIA) shares swayed from a monthly high of €6.25 and a low of €5.80, to ultimately close six per cent higher at €6.20 – resulting in a 10.1 per cent decline for 2021. The local airport operator’s shares witnessed 105 trades of 86,380 shares in December.

Traffic results for the month of November registered a 91.9 per cent drop in passenger movements, when compared to the same month in 2019. As the aviation industry continued to grapple with the challenges brought by COVID-19, including travel restrictions and low consumer confidence, daily average passenger movements dropped from 16,439 in November 2019 to just 1,327 last November.

The quietest day for the airport since the airport’s reopening to commercial operations in July 2020 was November 24, with only one passenger flight. Amsterdam Schiphol together with Rome Fiumicino, Frankfurt International Airport, Istanbul Airport, and London Heathrow were November’s most popular airports, accounting for just over 16,500 passenger movements for the month.

While passenger traffic continued to register staggering drops, the blow dealt to cargo and mail was not as devastating, given the importance of keeping supply chains running amid the crisis. Last month, cargo and mail through MIA registered a decrease of 16.2 per cent to stand at 1,459 tonnes.

Bank of Valletta plc shares added on to the previous month’s 6.8 per cent gain, having increased by 1.1 per cent, to close the year 10.4 per cent lower at €0.95. The equity was active on 150 deals of just under 1.2 million shares.

Meanwhile, HSBC Bank Malta plc shares advanced by 12.5 per cent in December, as 65 transactions of 264,624 shares were negotiated, closing €0.10 higher at €0.90 – down by 30.8 per cent in 2020.

FIMBank plc shares appreciated by 66.7 per cent, as 811,506 shares changed ownership across 35 deals, to close $0.20 higher at $0.50 – registering a 16.7 per cent loss in 2020.

Lombard Bank Malta plc shares ended the year in positive territory, having appreciated by 22.9 per cent in December, tallying to a 3.5 per cent gain for the year. The banking equity was executed across 20 transactions of 46,418 shares, closing at €2.36.

Lombard’s subsidiary MaltaPost plc, registered a 20.9 per cent rally in December, and closed 2020 1.5 per cent higher. The local postal services operator’s shares were negotiated over 24 deals of 347,045 shares, and closed at €1.33 – despite having traded at a monthly low of €1.06.

The telecommunications services provider GO plc, experienced an 18 per cent increase in its share price, as 211,188 shares changed hands across 55 transactions, to close €0.54 higher at €3.54 – down by 16.9 per cent in 2020.

Meanwhile, BMIT Technologies plc (BMIT) shares advanced by 1.3 per cent over 67 trades of 895,431 shares, closing the year 7.3 per cent lower at €0.482. BMIT announced that as at end of quarter three of 2020, the company generated revenues of €17.9 million, a growth of 6.1 per cent over the comparative period last year. This resulted in an EBITDA of €7.9 million up to the end of this same quarter – an increase of 4 per cent over last year. The group maintained a strong cash position while honouring its commitments towards its stakeholders, including the timely payment of a dividend to shareholders earlier this year.

As all major investments, including the Żejtun Data Centre development, are being re-evaluated from a strategic perspective, in view of the realities brought about by the pandemic, several consolidation and growth opportunities are being explored in order to achieve further growth. Such initiatives include the consideration of deployment of new products and services, including a further diversification of the company’s solutions portfolio, as well as assessing the possibility of tapping into new markets. 

BMIT has entered into a share purchase and subscription agreement with EBO Ltd. The purchase price and the subscription price, totalling €1.542 million, were respectively paid by BMIT to the seller and EBO on the date of execution of the agreement.

EBO is a technology company focused on the provision of Artificial Intelligence solutions in the Healthcare, iGaming and Financial Services sectors. EBO delivers its solutions through AI driven Virtual Agents in an omni-channel environment that allows more-personalised customer conversations, improving self-service, and offering predictive models to augment existing business processes.

Harvest Technology plc shares increased by 1.4 per cent in December, as 30 trades of 64,550 shares were concluded, closing at €1.48. The equity has registered a 1.3 per cent decline from its IPO price in January 2020. On a year-to-date basis, the company has outperformed its 2020 forecast and, as at September 30, 2020, generated a profit before tax of €2.9 million, against the €2.4 million forecast for the first nine months of 2020.

The company added that the second half of 2021 is expected to witness significant improvement. For the financial year ending December 31, 2021, the company projects revenue in the region of €19.5 million – against the €18.3 million projected for the period reported in the registration document. Similarly, profit before tax is projected at €4 million, as opposed to the €3.4 million projected in the prospectus, while earnings per share are projected at €0.11 – €0.097 was projected in the prospectus. EBITDA margins are projected to increase to 25 per cent, whereas the increase to 23.9 per cent was projected in the prospectus.

A dividend per share of €0.06 per annum is also expected to be maintained in 2021. However, the board clarified that no firm commitment is being made at this juncture in this respect, and will consider the distribution of additional dividends as and when appropriate.

RS2 Software plc shares closed December unchanged at €2, as 95,242 shares changed ownership across 51 deals. The I.T. services provider’s shares recorded a 6.5 per cent decline in 2020.

In the same sector, Loqus Holdings plc shares increased by 52.3 per cent in December – up from €0.065 to €0.099, as three deals of 12,009 shares were negotiated. The equity registered a 53.5 per cent gain in 2020.

International Hotel Investments plc shares advanced by 15.2 per cent over 24 transactions of 148,484 shares, closing the year 13.3 per cent lower at €0.72.

The investments and insurance services provider Mapfre Middlesea plc (Mapfre), erased November’s 3.1 per cent loss, having appreciated by 28.8 per cent in December. Mapfre shares were active on 14 trades of 26,685 shares, and closed the year 13.9 per cent higher at €2.46.

In the property management sector, MIDI plc shares increased by 24.4 per cent across 14 deals of 77,312 shares, closing at €0.448 – down by 17 per cent in 2020. MIDI announced that as part of a corporate restructuring exercise, two of its subsidiary companies, Tigné Point Marketing Limited and Tigné Contracting Limited, are to be amalgamated by a merger by acquisition. The proposed merger by acquisition shall be preceded by a transfer by the company of its entire shareholding in Tigné Point Marketing Limited to Tigné Contracting Limited. Upon the proposed merger by acquisition taking effect, Tigné Contracting Limited as the acquiring company shall succeed to all the assets, rights, liabilities and obligations of Tigné Point Marketing Limited, which in turn shall cease to exist. The proposed merger by acquisition shall not have any effect on the company’s shareholding in Tigné Contracting Limited and the company shall continue to hold the majority of the ordinary shares in Tigné Contracting Limited.

Malta Properties Company plc shares increased by 1.6 per cent, across 68 transactions of nearly 1.8 million shares, closing at €0.50 – closing the year 20.6 per cent in the red.

In the same sector, Malita Investments plc shares closed December unchanged at €0.90, despite having traded at a monthly high of €0.95 and a low of €0.88. The equity witnessed 13 deals of 128,600 shares.

Trident Estates plc shares advanced by 9.9 per cent, across 15 transactions of 32,738 shares, closing at €1.66 – up by 7.1 per cent in 2020.

PG plc shares appreciated by €0.10 or 5.3 per cent, as 45 trades of 163,445 shares were negotiated, to close the year 8.7 per cent higher at €2. The retail and supermarkets owner approved the company’s unaudited financial statements and interim directors’ report for the six months ended October 31, 2020. The group registered a turnover of €60.9 million compared to €58.1 million in the same period last year, representing a growth of 4.8 per cent. An increase in turnover was registered in both Pama and Pavi, reflecting their continued popularity.

The overall gross profit earned by the group during the first six months of this financial year amounted to €9.6 million, as compared to €9.7 million in October 2019. Meanwhile, the operating profit registered as at October 31, 2020 was €7.9 million when compared to the €8.1 million in October 2019 – a slight reduction of 2.5 per cent, whilst the profit before tax was €7.2 million, as compared to €7.3 million of the previous year. After deducting finance costs and taxation, the group registered a profit after tax of €5.1 million, compared to the previous year’s figure of €5.3 million.

The cash generated from operating activities during this financial period amounted to €9.4 million, whilst cash used in investing activities was limited to €0.9 million. Bank borrowings, net of cash in hand, continued to be reduced and as at October 31, 2020 stood at €9.4 million. The group’s liquidity position remained healthy, and as a result the directors resolved to retain the same interim dividend payout as last year amounting to €2 million, in respect of the first six months of this financial year ending April 31, 2021. These dividends were paid on December 10, 2020 to all ordinary shareholders on the books of the group as at December 3, 2020.

Tigne’ Mall plc shares gained ground by 13.3 per cent, as 173,500 shares changed ownership across 17 trades, closing €0.10 higher at €0.85 – down by 5.6 per cent for the year.

In the same sector, Plaza Centres plc shares advanced by six per cent across eight transactions of 101,030 shares, to close the year three per cent lower at €0.98. The company reported that as part of the share buy-back, it has received seven different offers from shareholders totalling 2,738,125 shares. The lowest offer received by the company was for 750,000 shares at a price of €0.91 each. In line with the terms announced, these shares were traded on the MSE for value on December 9, 2020.

Meanwhile, Main Street Complex plc shares increased by 11.1 per cent as two deals of 16,000 shares were negotiated, closing at €0.50 – registering a 16.7 per cent loss for 2020.

The oil and gas logistics services provider Medserv plc, recorded a 45 per cent rally in its share price in December – tallying to a 28.2 per cent loss for the year. The equity witnessed 60 trades of 1.2 million in December, and closed at €0.79.

Santumas Shareholdings plc shares were the only losers for the month, having declined by 6.7 per cent, over a sole transaction of 500 shares, closing at €1.39 – registering a 1.4 per cent loss for 2020.

The food and beverage supplier Simonds Farsons Cisk plc, recorded a 7.6 per cent gain, as 9,291 shares were negotiated over 19 deals, to close €0.55 higher at €7.80 – down by 32.2 per cent for the year.

Grand Harbour Marina plc shares were not active in December. The equity ended the year at a 27.3 per cent gain.

In the corporate bond market, 65 issues were active, of which 34 appreciated and 14 fell, amounting to a turnover of €6.7 million. The 5% Mediterranean Investments Holding plc Unsecured € 2022 was the best performer, having advanced by 4.7 per cent, closing at €99.50. Meanwhile, the 5.75% Medserv plc Unsecured USD 2026 headed the list of losers, having declined by 4.3 per cent, to close at €94.99.

In the sovereign debt market, turnover totalled to €13.3 million, spread across 22 issues, of which 13 increased, whilst seven decreased. The long-dated 1.50% MGS 2045 (I) FI Nov 20 was the most liquid issue, having witnessed a turnover of €4.3 million, closing 11.4 per cent higher at €118.50.

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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