5 SEPTEMBER 2001
By Kurt Sansone
The publication of Maltacoms financial statement for the first six months of the year showing a decrease in profits when compared to the same period last year, has hit the average price of Maltacom shares on the Malta Stock Exchange, which dropped to its lowest price in over a year.
The average price on the MSE on Friday dropped to Lm1.517, its lowest in more than a year. The Group announced decreased profits of over 17 per cent but remains hopeful for the coming months.
Meanwhile, in the official Company Announcement the communications group said the results were to a large extent effected by a significant bad debts write-off, amounts which were fully provided for.
The bad debt provision totalled Lm860,000 when the comparative amount last year was LM40,000. However, Maltacom Chairman Maurice Zarb Adami responding to the assertions made by The Malta Financial & Business Times last week, said that the bad debts were not a result of telephone bill payments made at Price Club that were never passed on to the company.
Mr Zarb Adami confirmed that there are no outstanding debts from Price Club relating to collection of telephone bills.
Mr Zarb Adami pointed out that Price Club were entrusted to collect telephone bills from Maltacom clients for a relatively short time, before the agreement was suspended. The chairman insisted that the doubtful debts were fully provided for and so could not have resulted from such a close period to the publication of the financial statement.
Labour MP Anglu Farrugia had raised the Price Club-Maltacom debt allegations in Parliament, however Mr Zarb Adami reaffirmed that the company had denied those allegations.
He added that since the allegations were made, over a month ago, not even one client has come forward with a telephone bill that has been stamped as having been paid at Price Club and the proceeds from which have not been forwarded to Maltacom.
Mr Zarb Adami reiterated Maltacoms promise to investigate any such case if it crops up.