Regulator suspends trading in Fort Cambridge bonds

Gap Developments to convene AGM to publish financial statements for 2011

Fort Cambridge is at the heart of Tigné's mega-complex boom. Photo reproduced with permission.
Fort Cambridge is at the heart of Tigné's mega-complex boom. Photo reproduced with permission.

The Malta Financial Services Authority has suspended trading in Gap Developmernts plc's 7% 2013 bonds, after the development company failed to publish its financial statements within the listing rules' time-frames.

GAP, which is developing the Fort Cambridge apartments in Tigné, Sliema, is to hold its annual general meeting on Thursday, 2 August, to approve its financial statements for the year ended 31 December 2011 and reappoint auditors Ernst & Young.

The suspension of trading, in line with a recent circular published by the same authority, is valid for a period of 10 working days.

GAP is 75% owned by tuna-farming magnate Charles Azzopardi's Tigné Skies Limited, while his minority partner is Fort Cambridge developer George Muscat, of Gap Holdings.

In 2010 the company declared €23.2 million in inflows of funds from second-stage deposits from preliminary agreements for its Fort Cambridge development. The group however registered a pre-tax loss of €6.9 million after providing for an extraordinary loss of €6.6 million.

Completion of the 341 freehold apartments was last scheduled for the first quarter of 2012.

Recent failures by a number of listed companies to publish their financial statements within the timeline set by listing rules have raised the need to have in place a published policy which deals with such delays, the MFSA recently announced.

The regulator now requires the Malta Stock Exchange to suspend the trading of financial instruments admitted to trading, when issuers fail to publish annual audited and interim financial statements or interim directors' statements.

"This policy ensures that investors can trade when they have the information they need to properly assess the financial position of the company in which they have invested and protects potential investors who were considering making an investment without the required updated information on the issuer's financial situation," the MFSA said.

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Charles Abela
While this new strategy of publicizing the names of the listed companies which do not submit their returns in time, this may be too little too late. There will be cases when the horse would have already bolted and existing holders of "paper" would be left with just that, paper.

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