Mark Watkinson, HSBC Bank Malta’s Chief Executive Officer (pictured above), during the bank’s Annual General Meeting held this week said that Malta has the opportunity to become a major trade hub.
“With the third largest port in the Mediterranean and an unrivalled geographic position that allows it to act as a bridge between the EU and North Africa, the potential is very positive. In support of this vision, during the year under review, HSBC launched the €50 million “Malta Trade for Growth” Fund, designed to meet the aspirations of Maltese companies to find new export markets and to look for more competitive overseas suppliers,” said Mr Watkinson.
Mr Watkinson described 2013 as a year of considerable challenges, during which HSBC Bank Malta has delivered a set of resilient results that compare favourably with the sector. Principal headwinds faced included the continued uncertainty in the Eurozone, significant regulatory changes and subdued local economic growth. Despite this backdrop, HSBC Malta has performed remarkably well and delivered a profit before taxation of €90m for the year ended 31December 2013.
“This is a tribute to the hard work of our team on the ground as all three main business lines, Retail Banking and Wealth Management, Commercial Banking and Global Banking and Markets, were profitable during the year under review. We continue to invest in our business to ensure its long term sustainability and strive to provide the highest level of service to our customers and community,” said Mr Watkinson.
The bank’s available-for-sale investments portfolio remains well diversified and conservatively positioned. HSBC Malta’s liquidity position is strong, well capitalized and optimally positioned to support the Maltese economy.
The Bank’s Chief Financial Officer, Josephine Magri, also addressed the shareholders and provided a detailed analysis of the 2013 financial results.
The AGM confirmed the Directors appointed by the majority shareholder HSBC Europe BV: Mr Sonny Portelli (Chairman), Mr Mark Watkinson (Chief Executive Officer), Mr Ranjit Gokarn, Mr Brian Robertson, Dr Philip Farrugia Randon and Professor Andrew Muscat. Mr John Bonello, Mr James Dunbar Cousin and Ms Caroline Zammit Testaferrata Moroni Viani were elected as non-Executive Directors.
A final ordinary gross dividend of 5.2 cent per share was announced, to be paid on 25 April 2014.
The meeting approved a board recommendation for a bonus share issue of one new share for every nine shares presently held by registered shareholders as at close of trading on the Malta Stock Exchange on 29 April 2014. The bonus shares will be available for trading by the shareholders at the opening of business on 30 April 2014.
In respect of this, the shareholders approved an increase of the Bank’s issued share capital of 32,431,380 fully paid ordinary shares at a 30c per share nominal value against the debit of an equivalent amount of €9,729,414 to the Bank’s retained earnings account.
All the ordinary resolutions presented during the meeting were approved by the shareholders in accordance with the company’s Memorandum and Articles of Association. The audited accounts for the year ended 31 December 2013 were approved. The shareholders also approved the re-appointment of KPMG as auditors and the maximum annual remuneration of the non-executive Directors.