The MSE Equity Price Index rose for the first time in six sessions as it rebounded by 0.36% to 3,907.665 points. The gains in BOV, HSBC, RS2 and MIDI outweighed the declines in MPC, MIA and Plaza whilst GO and Lombard both traded unchanged. Meanwhile, trading activity eased to €0.09 million.

RS2 Software plc headed 1.1% higher as it rose to the €1.82 level across 5,400 shares. On Monday, RS2 announced that last Friday the Listing Authority granted regulatory approval in respect of an offer of up to 28,571,400 preference shares at an offer price of €1.75. Half of the preference shares are being reserved for subscription by financial intermediaries through an intermediaries’ offer whilst the remaining half will be made available for subscription by holders of ordinary shares in RS2 (as at close of trading on 17 February 2021), RS2 employees and the general public.

Subscription agreements with respect to the intermediaries’ offer close on 17 March 2021, whilst the offer period during which preferred applicants and the general public may subscribe for the preference shares shall be between 3 March and 30 March 2021 or such earlier date in case of oversubscription.  The prospectus will be available as from Tuesday.

In the retail banking sector, Bank of Valletta plc climbed by 1.5% to recapture the €0.93 level across 1,000 shares whilst HSBC Bank Malta plc rose by 2.2% to the €0.935 level as 13,366 shares changed hands. HSBC is scheduled to publish its full-year results tomorrow. Meanwhile, Lombard Bank Malta plc traded flat at the €2.00 level across a single trade of 2,514 shares.

MIDI plc added 1.9% to the €0.43 level as 7,500 shares changed hands. Last week, MIDI announced that it submitted a revised Masterplan for the restoration and redevelopment of Manoel Island to the Planning Authority (“PA”) for its consideration and a fresh Environment Impact Assessment (“EIA”) to the Environmental and Resources Authority (“ERA”).

In this respect, MIDI explained that additional site investigations carried out over the past 24 months have revealed that a part of the Manoel Island site previously earmarked for development is of archaeological importance. The revised Masterplan takes into consideration these findings and envisages a reduction in development volumes from the previously approved 127,000 sqm to 95,000 sqm.

Following the submission of this revised Masterplan, a period of public consultation will now commence with both the PA and ERA, whilst the works which were suspended by MIDI during December 2020 will remain suspended until a final decision is taken by the PA.

Elsewhere, GO plc traded flat at the €3.32 level across 3,100 shares.

In the property sector, single trades of 24,333 shares and 6,300 shares forced Malta Properties plc (-4.4%) and Plaza Centres plc (-1.1%) lower to €0.535 and €0.91 respectively.

Meanwhile, Malta International Airport plc failed to hold onto an intra-day high of €6.10 (+0.8%) as it ended the day -0.8% lower at the €6.00 level across 4,570 shares. MIA will be publishing its 2020 annual financial statements on Wednesday.

The RF MGS Index lost a further 0.14% as it slid to a fresh 20-week low at 1,111.444 points as a result of a further increase in yields amid prospects of rising inflation.

Meanwhile, yesterday German Chancellor Angela Merkel told the leadership of her Christian Democratic party that she aims to develop a plan that will pave the way for a cautious reopening, even as infection rates tick up due to the spread of new COVID-19 variants in Germany. Chancellor Merkel identified three areas for easing, namely schools, private gatherings and restaurants which all started a tentative reopening in many German states as from today. Similarly, UK PM Boris Johnson said he will be outlining plans to lift the coronavirus lockdown in England today during a parliamentary sitting. PM Johnson is said to be prioritising the return of schools and outdoor activities over the reopening of stores, bars and restaurants.

Today, Mediterranean Investments Holding plc announced that during the month of February 2021 it purchased a total of 50,000 nominal 6% Bonds 2021 from its bondholders. The bonds that have been purchased are being cancelled.

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