22 March 2006

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Business Today

La Valette Funds exceed GBP267 million

Valletta Fund Management Limited hosted the 10th Annual General Meeting for shareholders of the La Valette Funds SICAV plc. During the Meeting, Kenneth Farrugia, General Manager of Valletta Fund Management Limited announced that Shareholders’ Funds as at 30 September 2005 stood at GBP227 million, an increase of 21.17% from that registered in the previous year.
Farrugia also announced that as at the 27th February 2006, the combined fund size of the La Valette Funds SICAV plc amounted to GBP267 million.
Looking back at the developments over this 10 year period, the La Valette Funds SICAV plc is the only investment company in Malta to provide investors with a broad range of investment solutions across the main asset classes, namely money market, bonds, equities as well as real estate property through its range of 18 sub-funds. The success of the La Valette Funds SICAV plc is reflected in the value of the assets of the Company as announced as well as the number of shareholder accounts, which exceed 22,000 as at 31st December 2005. These strong results confirm Valletta Fund Management Limited’s beliefs that high quality investment management results in satisfied customers.
Valletta Fund Management Limited has built a very successful track record in managing investment funds, providing investors with a comprehensive range of domestic and international investment solutions designed to meet the various financial needs of investors, be it income, capital growth or a combination of both.
During the Annual General Meeting, the Directors presented the shareholders with the Annual Report and Financial Statements of the Company for the year ending 30 September 2005, which included an informative market report. All of the ordinary resolutions on the agenda were approved by the shareholders present. With respect to the extraordinary resolution, another Meeting shall be convened on the 21st March 2006 to take a fresh vote.
The Annual General Meeting was followed with two presentations delivered by Mr. Edward Rizzo, from Rizzo, Farrugia & Co. (Stockbrokers) Limited and Mark Vella, Head of Marketing at Valletta Fund Management Limited.
With respect to the bond scenario, Rizzo explained how Maltese equities continued to make very good progress during the year ended 30 September 2005 with the Malta Stock Exchange Ordinary Share Index gaining 37%, supported predominantly by improving financial results, a number of corporate actions affecting companies positively and reinforced investor confidence evident through substantially higher trading activity.
Rizzo added that as domestic economic performance remained subdued and with interest rates close to historic lows, domestic bonds rallied throughout the review period. Evidence of persistently wide credit spreads supported bond prices further as Eurozone yields fell to record lows.
During his presentation, Vella provided the shareholders present with a review and outlook of the major international capital markets and how these markets affected the performance of the La Valette Funds. He explained how global equities continued to make good progress for most of the year under review supported by relatively firm global economic growth. However, rising oil prices and concerns over sharp interest rate rises affected the performance of global equities from time to time.
Vella added that all the major bond markets suffered a sharp sell-off in February 2005 and this as a result of concerns that the Fed would increase interest rates more aggressively than initially expected. This came on the back of surprisingly strong economic data in the US. On the other hand, the gilt market had to digest the additional pressure of buoyant growth in the UK economy, which prompted new fears that the Bank of England might have to raise interest rates again. However, bond markets resumed their upward trend in the second quarter of 2005, as these fears did not materialise.
In his concluding remarks, Farrugia announced the launch of a new fund, the La Valette High Yield Fund. He said that Valletta Fund Management Limited continuously strives to recognize the various needs of investors and in fact has launched another innovative product, which is ideal for investors who are willing to accept a higher level of risk with the possibility of earning potential higher total returns, by way of income as well as capital appreciation, through investment in the high yield market. Denominated in Euro, this new Fund seeks to distribute the income derived from the underlying investments every three months, wherein investors may opt to either receive the income or reinvest it in the Fund at no additional fees.
To celebrate the 10th Annual General Meeting, Valletta Fund Management Limited is offering its shareholders a 25% reduction on any up-front charges applicable on investments in the La Valette, Vilhena and Wignacourt Funds. This offer is valid up to the 30th April 2006.

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