The MSE Equity Price Index closed the day unchanged at just under the 3,640 level today as all six actively traded companies traded flat on light volumes.

The main development on the local Borsa was the publication of an Interim Directors’ Statement by HSBC Bank Malta plc in which the bank provided an update of its performance up to 30 September 2020.

HSBC explained that profits before tax were lower than the same period in 2019 as although Q3 results were better than those achieved in each of the prior two quarters, the bank’s performance continues to be dented by the impact of COVID-19.

HSBC reported that underlying net interest income was relatively stable, but the bank’s revenues were negatively impacted by the losses incurred by the life assurance subsidiary mainly as a result of adverse market movements. Expected credit losses were significantly higher than those reported in the same period last year as the bank assessed the likely impact of COVID-19 on its customers reflecting the economic outlook.

On the other hand, operating expenses have been lower than the same period in 2019 on the back of the bank’s strategic plan aimed at increasing focus on digital banking services, modernising the branch network, and creating operational efficiencies. Compared to December 2019, loans and advances to customers increased, driven by growth in mortgages, but commercial banking balances remained stable. Similarly, customer deposits also increased. As a result, the bank’s liquidity position remained exceptionally strong whilst regulatory capital ratios continued to exceed requirements. During today’s trading session, the share price of HSBC remained at the €0.775 level on a single deal of just 3,600 shares.

Within the same sector, Bank of Valletta plc held on to its three-month high of €0.95 across 7,125 shares. BOV is scheduled to hold its AGM on Thursday 26 November.

Also among the large companies by market value, GO plc (3,002 shares) and Malta International Airport plc (1,849 shares) traded unchanged at €2.90 and €5.25 respectively.

A single deal of 9,395 shares left the equity of Plaza Centres plc at the €0.925 level. Yesterday, Plaza announced that further to the second tender to repurchase up to 1 million shares at any price within a range of €0.90 to €0.95 per share, it received 7 different offers for an aggregate of 3,529,797 shares. The best offer received by the company was for a total of 1 million shares at the price of €0.92 per share. In line with the terms as previously announced, these shares will be traded on the MSE on 19 November.

PG plc also closed the day flat at the €1.88 level across 2,395 shares. The company is due to publish its interim financial results in December.

The RF MGS Index trended lower for the first time in four days as it eased by 0.05% to 1,122.811 points. Positive sentiment continued to largely dominate international financial markets following yesterday’s news that the COVID-19 vaccine developed by US biotechnology company Moderna is 94.5% effective in preventing the virus.

Elsewhere in Europe, Hungary and Poland blocked the European Union’s budget and pandemic-rescue package because the funding is tied to issues related to the rule of law.

On Tuesday, Melite Finance plc announced that the payment of interest in respect of the

€9.25 million 4.85% secured bonds 2028 will be made on or around 23 November 2020. The company also noted that since it was successful in obtaining financing from its local bankers through the Malta Development Bank ‘Covid-19 Guarantee Scheme’ for the purpose of effecting the interest payment due in respect of the bonds, such financing is no longer conditional upon attaining bondholders’ approval for the company’s proposed restructuring plan. Melite Finance added that in due course, it will be providing further information on the convening of a bondholders’ meeting.


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