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Foreign-owned firms plan for a Malta expansion

Overseas firms see Malta as an attractive investment. Photo: Darrin Zammit Lupi

Overseas firms see Malta as an attractive investment. Photo: Darrin Zammit Lupi

The overwhelming majority of foreign-owned companies based in Malta are very positive about the island’s business prospects and are planning further expansion.

A survey on “Malta’s Attractiveness” was conducted among 90 chief executives of foreign-owned companies by Ernst & Young, a leading private consultancy company.

It showed that while 86 per cent of respondents said they saw the island as being in a position to attract more foreign investment, 58 per cent were planning further expansion, viewing Malta’s current business climate very positively.

For Ronald Attard, country managing partner of Ernst & Young, the results were not surprising as Malta had already managed to attract a lot of investment in the past years, particularly in niche markets such as financial services and iGaming.

“Despite the ongoing negativity surrounding the global economic scenario, the perception of Malta appears to be positive,” he told a conference organised at the Chamber of Commerce.

“A significant majority of respondents believe that Malta is attractive for foreign direct investment in terms of various criteria,” he said.

Overall, respondents in the banking, insurance and other financial services sectors consider Malta to be more attractive for foreign direct investment (FDI) than respondents in the ICT, telecoms, iGaming, manufacturing and pharmaceutical sectors.

The reasons for Malta’s attractiveness include people’s proficiency in English, living standards, quality of life and an attractive tax regime.

On the other hand, rising costs and the small domestic market were cited as problems on the downside.

Company CEOs believe financial services and tourism are the industries that offer most potential growth prospects in Malta, while manufacturing is least popular among investors.

Asked what they considered to be the most attractive criteria when investing in Malta, 85 per cent mentioned the stability of the social climate while another 84 per cent pointed to its favourable corporate taxation regime.

Human resources are also considered to be a crucial investment tool and 86 per cent believed the current legislative framework in their sector encourages key players to set up in Malta.

However, the majority of respondents – 57 per cent – believed the local availability of specialised skills is limited.

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