7th July | David Borg

Business in Malta

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7th July | David Borg

Business in Malta

Malta is an ideal destination for both business and pleasure. Steeped in history and with a rich cultural and architectural heritage, Malta has been at the centre of historical and political events that transcend the minute footprint of this tiny archipelago.

As an island nation we cannot discount the huge influence that the British have left during the almost 200 years of colonisation until achieving independence in 1964. Malta remains an active member of the commonwealth and therefore, notwithstanding and regardless of the nature with which the UK will Brexit, both countries have and will continue to have and nurture a special relationship when it comes to co-operation and collaboration in economic and political spheres.

Malta has a hybrid legal framework which arguably has adopted a ‘best in breed’ approach. In fact, Malta’s legal system applies Roman Law principles to civil proceedings whilst Anglo Saxon principles are the clear influence when it comes to regulating commercial activity. Of course, since acceding to EU membership, Malta has and continues to adopt and integrate EU directives into domestic code.

Whilst the geo-strategic importance is no longer as relevant in todays ‘connected’ world, Malta still delivers growth in economic terms that far surpass countries of a similar size and with limited resources.

The key drivers of performance are capacity and commitment. Malta has very little capacity where it comes to actual footprint however, the island makes up for this dearth in square metres by sheer commitment coupled with energy, resilience and a degree of ingenuity.

Due to our size the contact between industry and the various regulators and legislators is frequent. Provided this is channelled in the right and transparent manner, this helps the country convert ingenuity into action by often being the first to react to market segments by providing the legal framework and also, in many cases, a sandbox environment from where to launch new initiatives and services. A particular success story is the remote gaming sector, where Malta took the plunge to regulate what was previously an uncharted industry with a view to introducing order and where the consumer was afforded prominence and protection without stifling the creativity that is part and parcel of this highly innovative, tech driven sector. The result is that today, Malta is the home of some of the largest and most prolific operators in this industry.

Apart from providing the legal framework, the professional sector together with the competent authorities and government have also invested heavily in developing the right infrastructure both in terms of it but also when it comes to human resources. Significant investment has been made into developing the right training to support and supply the gaming sector with anything from programmers to lawyers and tax professionals and Malta today has a highly skilled pool of personnel that are employed across various strata within gaming operations.

The same approach can also be seen in, for example, the aviation sector which government has identified as being a growth sector, in-line with its light touch, high value-add manufacturing policy. Lufthansa Technik, a joint venture between Lufthansa and Airmalta have set up an MRO facility at the Malta Aviation Park just off the main airport and today this is considered as being a centre of excellence with regards maintenance of Airbus short and long haul aircraft.

These are but a small example of success stories that have contributed towards Malta’s unprecedented year on year growth in economic terms. This year will write its own story in view of the global Covid pandemic but yet again the interaction between government, regulated bodies and industry has come to the fore in the recently announced economic stimulus package that seeks to breathe some fresh impetus into the local economy by providing a clear strategic direction, committing tangible resource that combine fiscal, infra-structural investment and support measures that continue to build on Malta’s reputation as a resourceful, resilient and creative hub for innovation.

Some of the key areas that have been earmarked for focus include:

  • AI (artificial intelligence): AI together with robotics are clear examples of Malta’s forward-thinking strategy. AI can replace certain menial tasks that are currently performed almost exclusively by human intervention. This will allow resources to be retrained and upscaled as part of the drive for businesses to re-engineer processes and make them more resilient to shocks such as Covid.
  • Innovation and digital innovation: a mainstay of the country’s economic regeneration, material investment will be made in upgrading the Kordin Innovation Park.
  • Life-sciences: further, major investment will be made to extend and further upgrade the life sciences park and welcome new operators in this sector to join the stable of medical-tech and R&D companies.
  • Industrial park for SME’s: the construction of a new industrial park for SME’s to give more prominence to this staple of the Maltese economy.

An interesting package of incentives that include subsidised rent, soft loans, export guarantees, training grants and tax credits will also complement the incentives taken by government in the areas indicated above.

The eco system to deliver opportunities is in place and the commitment by government towards providing investment and support measures to qualifying entities can only facilitate the speed and minimise the cost with which players can access existing or new markets. Apart from operators in the sectors mentioned above there is also space for private equity and venture capital firms to capitalise on the wealth of intellectual property that exists on the island that requires guidance and mentoring to scale up their business and broaden their horizons.

ARQ’s unique offering

What set’s us apart is our team of 100 experienced professionals encompassing different disciplines – accountants, lawyers, tax specialists and economists – who work closely in a synchronised manner to deliver innovative solutions that drive our clients’ growth and success.

Every person’s situation and requirements are as unique as our individual service offering, so we invite you to schedule a half hour free consultation with one of our founding partners, David Borg, where you can have questions answered and explore any opportunities that exist for you in Malta.


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