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Page 1

Issue 15 - November 2015

COVER STORY Go to, get more, pay less Timmy Sullivan, Director of NASCO Franchising Ltd on Payless ShoeSource’s world of affordable shoe-making - p.06

FEATURE INTERVIEW

Absolute Quality, Absolute Perfection - p.10

TALKING POINT

Building a national coalition against extremism - p.14

CORPORATE INTERVIEW What’s Next? - p.20

SPECIAL FEATURE: MALTA’S BIB AWARDS 2015

Newspaper Post

Pull-and-keep supplement inside - p.23


Celebrating 100 Years of Aviation in Malta The Palace Hotel, Sliema

Friday 11 December 2015 NETWORKING CONFERENCE TO CELEBRATE 100 YEARS OF AVIATION IN MALTA

TRADE SHOW & EXHIBITION

WORKSHOP


Malta Business Review Issue 12 – August 2015

EDITORIAL

Issue 12 – August 2015

CONTENTS 25 10 FOCUS Promoting Creativity, Breaking New Grounds Interview with Rafael Carrascosa, MD of the Insignia Group of Companies - p.10 FOCUS

COVER STORY

Promoting Creativity, Breaking New Grounds

SPECIAL FEATURE Celebrating Malta’s Entrepreneurs the Year Awards Interview with Rafael Carrascosa, MD ofBest the Insignia Group ofof Companies - p.10 We feature this year’s main protagonists - p.25 SPECIAL FEATURE

Celebrating Malta’s Best Entrepreneurs of the Year Awards

FEATURE The Business Ecocide We feature this year’s of main protagonists - p.25

Melanie Vella interviews highly acclaimed British lawyer Polly Higgins - p.56

FEATURE

The Business of Ecocide Newspaper Post Vella interviews highly acclaimed British lawyer Polly Higgins - p.56 Melanie

25

COVER STORY

Leadership, Professionalism & Dedication Interview with Julia Chatard, Executive

Leadership, Professionalism & Dedication Director with FXDD - p.06 Interview with Julia Chatard, Executive Director with FXDD - p.06

24

Customers, People, Community & Shareholders

We interview the architects behind Mapfre Middlesea, this year’s Overall Winners of Malta Business Awards 2015

28

Leading in the Right Direction

We interview Vera Sant Fournier Design Studio highly acclaimed winners of Malta’s Best-in-Business Design Company

Newspaper Post

MBR Publications Limited

MBR Publications Limited

Publisher Publisher PuBLisher MBR Publications Limited MBRPublications Publications Limited MBR Limited editor

editor editor Martin Vella Martin Vella MartinteChniCaL Vella advisor

06 06 6

Marcelleadvisor D’Argy Smith technical

technical advisor saLes direCtor Marcelle D’Argy Smith Marcelle D’ArgyBrincat Smith Margaret sales director

art & design sales director Margaret Brincat Lea Giancaterino Margaret Brincat advertising sales executive

Call: 9940 6743 or 9926 0163; sales executive Charlotte Email:Munro margaret@mbrpublications.net or admin@mbrpublications.net Charlotte Munro art & design

Jessica Camilleri; Berthrand Pisani art &ContriButors design Antoine Bonello; Jonathan J Borg; Rachel Balzan Demajo; David Cameron; Jessica Camilleri; Berthrand Pisani George advertising Carol; Gwen Gomis; Maarten van Haam;

28 14

28

COVER cover STORY story

66

6

Go to, get Professionalism more, pay less & dedication leadershiP,

MBR interviewed Sullivan – Director of NASCO Franchising Ltd to gain leadershiP, Professionalism & dedication We interview Julia Timmy Chatard, Executive Director with FXDD

INTERVIEW OF THE MONTH focus

Nexia BT; PKF Malta

Print Production 41B, Wayne, TriqLtd; il-Herba, FXDD, Insignia Cards IPPO Malta; Birkirkara, BKR 2322 Printit Nexia BT; PKF Malta teLePhone offices +356 2149 7814 Print Production 41B, Wayne, Triq il-Herba, Printit Birkirkara, BKR 2322

quote of the month offices telePhone No matter what people tell you, words 41B, Wayne, Triq il-Herba, +356 2149ideas 7814 and can change the world.” Birkirkara, BKR 2322 Robin Williams Robin McLaurin Williams (July 21, 1951 – August 11, 2014) telePhone quote ofAmerican the month was an actor and comedian. Starting as a stand+356 2149 “to and fro 7814 we leap, and chase frothyin the midup comedian in San Francisco and the Los Angeles bubbles, the world is fullSan of Francisco’s troubles comedy and 1970s,While he is credited with leading anxious in its sleep, come away, o human child, renaissance. After rising to fame as Mork in the sitcom Mork to the&waters and the wild” Mindy (1978–82), he went on to establish a career in both quote of the month W.B. Yeats: Stolen stand-upThe comedy and Child feature film acting. He was known “to andforfro we leap, and his improvisational skills.chase the frothy

bubbles, While the world is full of troubles and Disclaimer anxious in its sleep, come away, o human child, Disclaimer toAllthe waters and the wild” rights reserved. No part ofpart this work by copyright maymay be All rights reserved. No of thiscovered work covered by copyright reproduced or copiedorand reproduction in whole or part is isstrictly be reproduced copied and reproduction in whole or part strictly W.B. Yeats: The Stolen Child prohibited without written permission of the publisher. AllAllcontent prohibited without written permission of the publisher. content

materialmaterial available on thisonpublication is duly protected byby Maltese available this publication is duly protected Maltese and International Law. No organisation, other publisher and International Law.person, No person, organisation, other publisheroror online web content manager should rely,rely, or on way actact upon online web content manager should or any on any way uponany any part of the of this whether part contents of the contents of publication, this publication, whetherthat thatinformation information is Disclaimer is sourced fromfrom the the website, magazine productwithout without sourced website, magazineor or related related product first obtaining thethe publisher’s The opinions opinions expressed in be obtaining publisher’s consent. consent. The expressed in the Allfirst rights reserved. No part ofare this work the covered byoror copyright may the Malta Business Review those authors contributors, Malta Business Revieware those of the authors contributors, and reproduced copied and reproduction in whole or part is strictly not necessarily those the editor editor or and are are notor necessarily those ofofthe orpublisher. publisher.

prohibited without written permission of the publisher. All content material available on this publication is duly protected by Maltese and International Law. No person, organisation, other publisher or online04 web content manager should rely, or on any way act upon any 04 part of the contents of this publication, whether that information is sourced from the website, magazine or related product without

All About People

David David Schranz, Managing Director, Dakar Software Systems justifies just why Dakar Software deserved winning Malta’s Best-in-Business ICT Company

44

Fostering a Sense of Belonging

Rebecca Bonnici, Managing Director, BELS, talks about excellent programs, quality of teaching and dedication to customer service, as the Best-in-Business Vocational & English Language School Award

FEATURE

Thegrounds Editor visits Absolute Yachts Shipyard’s creative heart in Piacenza to find out 10why creativity, breaking neW site thisPromoting is the most advanced and highly developed yacht manufacturing an exclusive with rafael carrascosa, managing director of the available in Europe today grounds

56

P2M a Pillar of Local Aquaculture

MBR features a private company specialising in aquaculture, Pisciculture Marine de Malte Ltd (P2M), has been operating a fish farm for over 25 years

FEATURE: BUDGET 2015 lists for more funds in 22 kames caPital insignia group of companies malta

Absolute Quality, Absolute Perfection Promoting creativity, breaking neW

insignia group of companies

Anita Aloisio; Maurice Aquilina; David Baker;

sPecial thanks offiCes

34

focus

contributors JaniceStatistics Bartolo; Antoine Bonello; George Office; Nissan Motor Sales;

Printit

We interview Deborah Schembri, Managing Director, STM Malta Trust and Company Management Limited (STMM), who won two highly acclaimed awards during Malta’s BIB Awards

ShoeSource’s of affordable shoe-making insight into PaylessJulia We interview Chatard,world Executive Director with FXDD

1010

Office of the Prime Minister; RE/MAX Carol; Sean Cassar; Charlotte Munro; Anita Aloisio; Maurice Aquilina; David Baker; Malta; Spinola Terrace; STM Group plc; Malcolm J. Naudi; Melanie Vella Janice Bartolo; Antoine Bonello; George The Maltese Chinese Chamber of Commerce; Carol; Sean Cassar; Charlotte Munro; sPecial thanks ProduCtion Malcolm J. Naudi; Melanie Vella FXDD,Print Insignia Cards Ltd; IPPO Malta;

30

Strength & Growth

cover story

Call: 9940 or 9926 0163; Verlee6743 Huvenne; George Mangion; Patrick advertising O’Brien; Grana Pecotic; Gisele Schembri; Email:J margaret@mbrpublications.net or Call: 9940 or 9926 0163; Tonio6743 Schembri; James Vella Clark; charlotte@mbrpublications.net Email: sPeCiaL margaret@mbrpublications.net or thanks contributors Bank of Valletta; Department of charlotte@mbrpublications.net Information; European Research Council; Eurostat; HSBC; Life News; National

30 20

32

an exclusive with rafael carrascosa, managing director of the

kames caPital lists more funds in malcolm J.the naudi interviews stephenfor baines, investment 14 22Finding Right Balance malta manager in the Kames Capital fixed income team An exclusive interview with Finance Minister Prof Edward Scicluna 17

malcolm J. naudi interviews stephen baines, investment Ensuring Sustainable Tourism Growth manager in the Kames Capital fixed income team

Dr Edward Zammit Lewis, Minister for Tourism rationalises why the Budget 2015

sPecial aimsfeature to maintain the momentum of economic growth and fiscal consolidation

TALKING POINT

58

Closing our borders to terrorized refugees gives ISIS a bigger weapon

Award winning journalist Patrick J O’Brien tells us that despite an unprecedented refugee crisis, European nations must not give in to anger and fear and shut their doors for good

registered

25 sPecial celebrating malta’s best entrePreneurs of the feature CORPORATE INTERVIEW year aWards

25 20

26

We interview some of the main award-winning protagonists of this year’s highly successful event celebrating malta’s best entrePreneurs What’s Next? MBEOTYA

REPORT

of the

year Tonio Zarb, aWards Senior Partner at KPMG discusses the 2015 KPMG Biennial Financial

building a better Working World Services Conference held of at the Suite, Hilton We interview some theGrandmaster’s main award-winning protagonists of this

We interview Malta’s Overall Best Entrepreneur year’s highly successful MBEOTYA event of the Year Dr Adrian Attard Trevisan, CEO of AAT Research SPECIAL FEATURE: MALTA’S BIB AWARDS 2015

60

One Belt, One Road: China Unleashes its World Economic Plan

Anatole Baldacchino chronicles and debates the 15th Forum of the “Internet Media” of China and the consensus reached, known as the “Zhanjiang declaration”

building a better Working World 3026 strong leadershiP and teamWork 23

30

We interview Malta’s Overall Best Entrepreneur of the Year

Malta’s Best-in-Business Awards 2015 Diane Izzo, CEO, Dizz Group, reflects back on her Dr remarkable Adrian Attard Trevisan, CEO Research A special take featuring the protagonists ofAAT the highly first edition of recent achievement as DizzofGroup were successful proclaimed Malta’sBest Best-in-Business Awards held at the Verdala Malta’s Entrepreneurial Company of the YearPalace, Buskett

strong leadershiP and teamWork

Diane Izzo, CEO, Dizz Group, reflects back on her OUR GOLD our gold PARTNERS Partners recent remarkable achievement as Dizz Group were proclaimed Malta’s Best Entrepreneurial Company of the Year

24

our gold Partners

28

The cold blooded and despicable terrorist attacks on Charlie Hebdo in Paris last January should have signaled a clear wake up call that France and mainland Europe weren’t immune to acts of violence motivated by a warped interpretation of Islam. As with 9/11 and other acts of terrorism, the multiple attacks that killed more than 120 people in the French capital will and should lead to an inquest into whether internal security and intelligence in place were adequate. In his comments, French President Francois Hollande went farther, describing the attacks as an “act of war” and promising that France would use “all means anywhere, inside or outside the country” to defeat Islamic State. For all of us, those words were reminiscent of President George W. Bush’s declaration after 9/11, that the U.S. would act if the Taliban government in Afghanistan didn’t end its support for Al Qaeda and other terrorists. Separated by fourteen years, the attacks in the United States and France are part of the same war. As world leaders bicker on a response, it’s important to be clear-eyed about the nature of this conflict Hollande’s words also recall President Obama’s pledge more than a year ago that the U.S. and its allies “will degrade, and ultimately destroy” Islamic State. So far that effort has consisted of airstrikes, a failed attempt to organize and train “moderate” forces opposed to Islamic State and, giving opportunities to Russia to exploit the situation and augment its military presence in the region. Such calls are understandable. It is of course frustrating and troubling that the U.S. and its allies have had such difficulty combating Islamic State, Al Qaeda and other radical Muslim groups despite clear military superiority. Yet the reality is that Americans and Europeans are reluctant to be drawn back into full-scale war in the Middle East, wars to which they are not fully committed, which often require years of sacrifice and which they often do not win. The “War on terror” has always been a misnomer. Terror is a tactic, not an enemy. This is a war against religious zealots: Islamic extremists associated on 9/11/01 with Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaeda network and on 11/13/15 with the Islamic State, which grew out of al-Qaeda in Iraq. But as 9/11 and subsequent attacks elsewhere have shown, even small groups of fanatics can inflict horrific damage and instill even wider fear. This is a war in which civilians are on the front lines. Concertgoers at a music hall. Fans outside a soccer game. Diners at a cafe. It is a war that, if we are not careful, threatens to undermine civil liberties, compassion for refugees, religious freedom and other values that define Western society. It is a war in which there is nothing to negotiate. As USA Today’s Editor www.maltabusinessreview.net

05


Malta Business Review Issue 12 – August 2015

EDITORIAL

Issue 12 – August 2015

CONTENTS 25 10 FOCUS Promoting Creativity, Breaking New Grounds Interview with Rafael Carrascosa, MD of the Insignia Group of Companies - p.10 FOCUS

COVER STORY

Promoting Creativity, Breaking New Grounds

SPECIAL FEATURE Celebrating Malta’s Entrepreneurs the Year Awards Interview with Rafael Carrascosa, MD ofBest the Insignia Group ofof Companies - p.10 We feature this year’s main protagonists - p.25 SPECIAL FEATURE

Celebrating Malta’s Best Entrepreneurs of the Year Awards

FEATURE The Business Ecocide We feature this year’s of main protagonists - p.25

Melanie Vella interviews highly acclaimed British lawyer Polly Higgins - p.56

FEATURE

The Business of Ecocide Newspaper Post Vella interviews highly acclaimed British lawyer Polly Higgins - p.56 Melanie

25

COVER STORY

Leadership, Professionalism & Dedication Interview with Julia Chatard, Executive

Leadership, Professionalism & Dedication Director with FXDD - p.06 Interview with Julia Chatard, Executive Director with FXDD - p.06

24

Customers, People, Community & Shareholders

We interview the architects behind Mapfre Middlesea, this year’s Overall Winners of Malta Business Awards 2015

28

Leading in the Right Direction

We interview Vera Sant Fournier Design Studio highly acclaimed winners of Malta’s Best-in-Business Design Company

Newspaper Post

MBR Publications Limited

MBR Publications Limited

Publisher Publisher PuBLisher MBR Publications Limited MBRPublications Publications Limited MBR Limited editor

editor editor Martin Vella Martin Vella MartinteChniCaL Vella advisor

06 06 6

Marcelleadvisor D’Argy Smith technical

technical advisor saLes direCtor Marcelle D’Argy Smith Marcelle D’ArgyBrincat Smith Margaret sales director

art & design sales director Margaret Brincat Lea Giancaterino Margaret Brincat advertising sales executive

Call: 9940 6743 or 9926 0163; sales executive Charlotte Email:Munro margaret@mbrpublications.net or admin@mbrpublications.net Charlotte Munro art & design

Jessica Camilleri; Berthrand Pisani art &ContriButors design Antoine Bonello; Jonathan J Borg; Rachel Balzan Demajo; David Cameron; Jessica Camilleri; Berthrand Pisani George advertising Carol; Gwen Gomis; Maarten van Haam;

28 14

28

COVER cover STORY story

66

6

Go to, get Professionalism more, pay less & dedication leadershiP,

MBR interviewed Sullivan – Director of NASCO Franchising Ltd to gain leadershiP, Professionalism & dedication We interview Julia Timmy Chatard, Executive Director with FXDD

INTERVIEW OF THE MONTH focus

Nexia BT; PKF Malta

Print Production 41B, Wayne, TriqLtd; il-Herba, FXDD, Insignia Cards IPPO Malta; Birkirkara, BKR 2322 Printit Nexia BT; PKF Malta teLePhone offices +356 2149 7814 Print Production 41B, Wayne, Triq il-Herba, Printit Birkirkara, BKR 2322

quote of the month offices telePhone No matter what people tell you, words 41B, Wayne, Triq il-Herba, +356 2149ideas 7814 and can change the world.” Birkirkara, BKR 2322 Robin Williams Robin McLaurin Williams (July 21, 1951 – August 11, 2014) telePhone quote ofAmerican the month was an actor and comedian. Starting as a stand+356 2149 “to and fro 7814 we leap, and chase frothyin the midup comedian in San Francisco and the Los Angeles bubbles, the world is fullSan of Francisco’s troubles comedy and 1970s,While he is credited with leading anxious in its sleep, come away, o human child, renaissance. After rising to fame as Mork in the sitcom Mork to the&waters and the wild” Mindy (1978–82), he went on to establish a career in both quote of the month W.B. Yeats: Stolen stand-upThe comedy and Child feature film acting. He was known “to andforfro we leap, and his improvisational skills.chase the frothy

bubbles, While the world is full of troubles and Disclaimer anxious in its sleep, come away, o human child, Disclaimer toAllthe waters and the wild” rights reserved. No part ofpart this work by copyright maymay be All rights reserved. No of thiscovered work covered by copyright reproduced or copiedorand reproduction in whole or part is isstrictly be reproduced copied and reproduction in whole or part strictly W.B. Yeats: The Stolen Child prohibited without written permission of the publisher. AllAllcontent prohibited without written permission of the publisher. content

materialmaterial available on thisonpublication is duly protected byby Maltese available this publication is duly protected Maltese and International Law. No organisation, other publisher and International Law.person, No person, organisation, other publisheroror online web content manager should rely,rely, or on way actact upon online web content manager should or any on any way uponany any part of the of this whether part contents of the contents of publication, this publication, whetherthat thatinformation information is Disclaimer is sourced fromfrom the the website, magazine productwithout without sourced website, magazineor or related related product first obtaining thethe publisher’s The opinions opinions expressed in be obtaining publisher’s consent. consent. The expressed in the Allfirst rights reserved. No part ofare this work the covered byoror copyright may the Malta Business Review those authors contributors, Malta Business Revieware those of the authors contributors, and reproduced copied and reproduction in whole or part is strictly not necessarily those the editor editor or and are are notor necessarily those ofofthe orpublisher. publisher.

prohibited without written permission of the publisher. All content material available on this publication is duly protected by Maltese and International Law. No person, organisation, other publisher or online04 web content manager should rely, or on any way act upon any 04 part of the contents of this publication, whether that information is sourced from the website, magazine or related product without

All About People

David David Schranz, Managing Director, Dakar Software Systems justifies just why Dakar Software deserved winning Malta’s Best-in-Business ICT Company

44

Fostering a Sense of Belonging

Rebecca Bonnici, Managing Director, BELS, talks about excellent programs, quality of teaching and dedication to customer service, as the Best-in-Business Vocational & English Language School Award

FEATURE

Thegrounds Editor visits Absolute Yachts Shipyard’s creative heart in Piacenza to find out 10why creativity, breaking neW site thisPromoting is the most advanced and highly developed yacht manufacturing an exclusive with rafael carrascosa, managing director of the available in Europe today grounds

56

P2M a Pillar of Local Aquaculture

MBR features a private company specialising in aquaculture, Pisciculture Marine de Malte Ltd (P2M), has been operating a fish farm for over 25 years

FEATURE: BUDGET 2015 lists for more funds in 22 kames caPital insignia group of companies malta

Absolute Quality, Absolute Perfection Promoting creativity, breaking neW

insignia group of companies

Anita Aloisio; Maurice Aquilina; David Baker;

sPecial thanks offiCes

34

focus

contributors JaniceStatistics Bartolo; Antoine Bonello; George Office; Nissan Motor Sales;

Printit

We interview Deborah Schembri, Managing Director, STM Malta Trust and Company Management Limited (STMM), who won two highly acclaimed awards during Malta’s BIB Awards

ShoeSource’s of affordable shoe-making insight into PaylessJulia We interview Chatard,world Executive Director with FXDD

1010

Office of the Prime Minister; RE/MAX Carol; Sean Cassar; Charlotte Munro; Anita Aloisio; Maurice Aquilina; David Baker; Malta; Spinola Terrace; STM Group plc; Malcolm J. Naudi; Melanie Vella Janice Bartolo; Antoine Bonello; George The Maltese Chinese Chamber of Commerce; Carol; Sean Cassar; Charlotte Munro; sPecial thanks ProduCtion Malcolm J. Naudi; Melanie Vella FXDD,Print Insignia Cards Ltd; IPPO Malta;

30

Strength & Growth

cover story

Call: 9940 or 9926 0163; Verlee6743 Huvenne; George Mangion; Patrick advertising O’Brien; Grana Pecotic; Gisele Schembri; Email:J margaret@mbrpublications.net or Call: 9940 or 9926 0163; Tonio6743 Schembri; James Vella Clark; charlotte@mbrpublications.net Email: sPeCiaL margaret@mbrpublications.net or thanks contributors Bank of Valletta; Department of charlotte@mbrpublications.net Information; European Research Council; Eurostat; HSBC; Life News; National

30 20

32

an exclusive with rafael carrascosa, managing director of the

kames caPital lists more funds in malcolm J.the naudi interviews stephenfor baines, investment 14 22Finding Right Balance malta manager in the Kames Capital fixed income team An exclusive interview with Finance Minister Prof Edward Scicluna 17

malcolm J. naudi interviews stephen baines, investment Ensuring Sustainable Tourism Growth manager in the Kames Capital fixed income team

Dr Edward Zammit Lewis, Minister for Tourism rationalises why the Budget 2015

sPecial aimsfeature to maintain the momentum of economic growth and fiscal consolidation

TALKING POINT

58

Closing our borders to terrorized refugees gives ISIS a bigger weapon

Award winning journalist Patrick J O’Brien tells us that despite an unprecedented refugee crisis, European nations must not give in to anger and fear and shut their doors for good

registered

25 sPecial celebrating malta’s best entrePreneurs of the feature CORPORATE INTERVIEW year aWards

25 20

26

We interview some of the main award-winning protagonists of this year’s highly successful event celebrating malta’s best entrePreneurs What’s Next? MBEOTYA

REPORT

of the

year Tonio Zarb, aWards Senior Partner at KPMG discusses the 2015 KPMG Biennial Financial

building a better Working World Services Conference held of at the Suite, Hilton We interview some theGrandmaster’s main award-winning protagonists of this

We interview Malta’s Overall Best Entrepreneur year’s highly successful MBEOTYA event of the Year Dr Adrian Attard Trevisan, CEO of AAT Research SPECIAL FEATURE: MALTA’S BIB AWARDS 2015

60

One Belt, One Road: China Unleashes its World Economic Plan

Anatole Baldacchino chronicles and debates the 15th Forum of the “Internet Media” of China and the consensus reached, known as the “Zhanjiang declaration”

building a better Working World 3026 strong leadershiP and teamWork 23

30

We interview Malta’s Overall Best Entrepreneur of the Year

Malta’s Best-in-Business Awards 2015 Diane Izzo, CEO, Dizz Group, reflects back on her Dr remarkable Adrian Attard Trevisan, CEO Research A special take featuring the protagonists ofAAT the highly first edition of recent achievement as DizzofGroup were successful proclaimed Malta’sBest Best-in-Business Awards held at the Verdala Malta’s Entrepreneurial Company of the YearPalace, Buskett

strong leadershiP and teamWork

Diane Izzo, CEO, Dizz Group, reflects back on her OUR GOLD our gold PARTNERS Partners recent remarkable achievement as Dizz Group were proclaimed Malta’s Best Entrepreneurial Company of the Year

24

our gold Partners

28

The cold blooded and despicable terrorist attacks on Charlie Hebdo in Paris last January should have signaled a clear wake up call that France and mainland Europe weren’t immune to acts of violence motivated by a warped interpretation of Islam. As with 9/11 and other acts of terrorism, the multiple attacks that killed more than 120 people in the French capital will and should lead to an inquest into whether internal security and intelligence in place were adequate. In his comments, French President Francois Hollande went farther, describing the attacks as an “act of war” and promising that France would use “all means anywhere, inside or outside the country” to defeat Islamic State. For all of us, those words were reminiscent of President George W. Bush’s declaration after 9/11, that the U.S. would act if the Taliban government in Afghanistan didn’t end its support for Al Qaeda and other terrorists. Separated by fourteen years, the attacks in the United States and France are part of the same war. As world leaders bicker on a response, it’s important to be clear-eyed about the nature of this conflict Hollande’s words also recall President Obama’s pledge more than a year ago that the U.S. and its allies “will degrade, and ultimately destroy” Islamic State. So far that effort has consisted of airstrikes, a failed attempt to organize and train “moderate” forces opposed to Islamic State and, giving opportunities to Russia to exploit the situation and augment its military presence in the region. Such calls are understandable. It is of course frustrating and troubling that the U.S. and its allies have had such difficulty combating Islamic State, Al Qaeda and other radical Muslim groups despite clear military superiority. Yet the reality is that Americans and Europeans are reluctant to be drawn back into full-scale war in the Middle East, wars to which they are not fully committed, which often require years of sacrifice and which they often do not win. The “War on terror” has always been a misnomer. Terror is a tactic, not an enemy. This is a war against religious zealots: Islamic extremists associated on 9/11/01 with Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaeda network and on 11/13/15 with the Islamic State, which grew out of al-Qaeda in Iraq. But as 9/11 and subsequent attacks elsewhere have shown, even small groups of fanatics can inflict horrific damage and instill even wider fear. This is a war in which civilians are on the front lines. Concertgoers at a music hall. Fans outside a soccer game. Diners at a cafe. It is a war that, if we are not careful, threatens to undermine civil liberties, compassion for refugees, religious freedom and other values that define Western society. It is a war in which there is nothing to negotiate. As USA Today’s Editor www.maltabusinessreview.net

05


Malta Business Review

COVER STORY

Go to, get more, pay less

By Martin Vella

Are you looking to invest in inexpensive boots, or are you already on the hunt for the perfect Fall shoe, or do you want to give your children the latest Disney or Star Wars inspired shoes this Christmas? Then you need only focus on Payless ShoeSource, the new shoe brand to know. Inspired by a family’s rich shoe-making heritage, Payless ShoeSource provide a wide range shoes for men, women and children of all ages. MBR interviewed Timmy Sullivan – Director of NASCO Franchising Ltd. to gain insight into Payless Shoesource’s world of affordable shoe-making. MBR: What can you tell us about Payless ShoeSource? TS: Payless ShoeSource is the largest specialty family footwear retailer in the Western Hemisphere, offering a wide range of shoes and accessory items at affordable prices for every member of the family. The company’s mission is simple: To be the go to, get more, pay less shoe store for our target customers. Payless has more than 4,400 stores in more than 30 countries, and we are very excited to be the franchisee for Malta, which is the first store to open in Europe! The first shop is due to open in Hamrun, at Daniels Shopping Complex, on the 5th December 2015. This will be the first Payless ShoeSource on the Matlese Islands, so watch out for the grand opening and new stores coming to other areas during 2016! MBR: What is Payless’ formula for success? TS: Payless’ formula for success is a powerful combination of trend-right styles at value prices, wrapped up in a convenient, engaging shopping experience. Over the years, Payless Shoesource has become widely known as being the “go-to” shoe store, that budget-conscious women can count on to be there for them and their family. Payless is always there helping them look good every step of the way. Payless strive to offer the latest styles that allow every woman and family to look fabulous…without spending a fortune. MBR: In three words, how would you describe the brand? TS: Go To, Get More, Pay Less! … why pay more, when you can Payless?

06

MBR: Tell us about how Payless ShoeSource produce their designs and what motivates the designs (inspiration)? TS: Payless connects with customers who desire on-trend product at value prices. Payless pays attention to what their customers need and want by listening to their feedback, understanding their needs and designing collections that continue to capture fashion for all the family.

Go To, Get More, Pay Less! … why pay more, when you can Payless? MBR: How does Payless stand out from its other competitors? TS: Payless differentiates itself from the competition with its unique self-selection layout, which allows customers to conveniently (and quickly) shop and find shoes in their size. Payless always strives to deliver the best value possible to its customers, so we will always be offering prices as low as possible, to really stand out against competition and to keep our customers satisfied! MBR: What is the profile of your target audience in Malta? TS: Payless targeted customer is budgetconscious women and their family whom we want to help look good every step of the way without having to spend a fortune. Payless offers budget-conscious (and underserved) families, mothers, juniors, and style-conscious women outstanding value on basics, on-trend and special occasion (and size) footwear.

MBR: Can you take us through your various brand categories? TS: Payless offer a variety of family-friendly brands at every price point, each with the same goal: to build an emotional connection with our customer. The Payless’ brands add an element of exclusivity to the products, as well as validate our position as an on-trend footwear company. Payless features a wellknown portfolio of brands including including American Eagle, Comfort Plus by Predictions, Fioni, Smartfit, and designer label Christian Siriano for Payless. From young professionals to busy mothers, Payless have learned that “style savvy” customers love fashion, which is why we offer on-trend, affordable shoes and accessories that suit any style. MBR: What are the special customer service facilities/initiatives in Payless stores compared to other footwear stores in Malta? TS: Our unique self-selection layout, which allows customers to conveniently shop and find shoes in their size, including: • Sales persons provide a complimentary foot measuring service just for kids. We offer this special service in every store as a way to accommodate children and their growing feet. Some benefits of measuring kids’ feet include: • proper size and fit • easy on/off • wiggle room for toes • development of healthy, happy feet •

Because children are always growing, we recommend measuring kids’ feet every 2-3 months so their feet stay in top shape, every step of the way.

SMILES program where sales persons explain the promotion, measure kids’ feet, offer assistance in shopping aisles, and suggest shoes and accessories for every occasion and need.


COVER STORY

Malta Business Review

Did you know…

• Since opening their first franchise location in 2009, Payless has successfully expanded its global footprint in over 4,400 stores in more than 30 countries. • A cornerstone of the Payless strategy is to expand into new markets and become the brand that resonates with consumers around the globe. We want to become the go to, get more, pay less shoe storefor budget- conscious shoppers around the world. Franchise partnerships will continue to play a significant role in our company as we aggressively grow our brand, both in terms of retail sales and store count. • Payless ShoeSource is the largest specialty family footwear retailer in the Western Hemisphere, offering a

MBR: Can you outline the key highlights of the marketing strategy that Payless will opt to fight the competition in Malta? TS: Firstly, marketing with understanding of holidays, pay period cycles, and spending patterns and local tastes/preferences that impact conversion, while we continue to gain better understanding and insights on the Maltese market and consumer.

wide range of shoes and accessory items at affordable prices for every member of the family. The company’s mission is simple: To be the go to, get more, pay less shoe store for our target customers. Payless has more than 4,400 stores in more than 30 countries and was founded in 1956 in Topeka, Kansas where its global headquarters remains today. Payless is a portfolio company of Golden Gate Capital and Blum Capital.

• As the Payless brand continues to grow globally through franchise partnerships, the corporate Franchise

team will also be focused on ensuring product assortment and depth at franchise stores to meet the needs of international consumers.

• Between FY2012 and FY2014 nearly 100 new Payless franchise stores were opened across the globe. In 2015, we are operating in more than 30 countries through 7 partnerships

Payless Franchising Global Presence Over 325 stores 7 Partners 19 Countries throughout the world

Secondly, to identify strongest media vehicles to support offers and promotions with timely, relevant, and impactful messaging. MBR

All Rights Reserved | © Copyright 2015

Europe

Africa 18 stores in 4 countries (Libya, Ghana, Morocco, and Egypt)

•1 store in 1 country (Malta)

www.maltabusinessreview.net

07


Malta Business Review

BIB AWARDS

Malta’s Best IN BUSINESS

Official winners list Malta’s Best in Business Arts & Culture Award - European Centre for Culture & Arts Malta’s Best in Business ICT Company Award - Dakar Software Limited Malta’s Best in Business Technology Company Award - Handson Systems Malta’s Best in Business Law Firm Award - Acumum Legal & Advisory 01

Malta’s Best in Business iGaming Company Award - CSL Data Centre Services

BIB AWARDS

Awards

Malta Business Review

BIB

2015

18

Malta’s Best in Business Online & Web Design Company - Casasoft Ltd

MALTA TRUST & COMPANY MANAGEMENT LIMITED.

Malta’s Best in Business Finance Company Award - Credorax Group Malta’s Best in Business Architect & Engineering Award – - ACT_N Studios Malta’s Best in Business Trust & Fiduciary Company - STM Malta Trust & Management Ltd Malta’s Best in Business Corporate Company - Corporate Solutions Limited

20

Malta’s Best in Business Fashion Designer Award - Nilara Ltd. Malta’s Best in Business Retail Company Award – Verve Boutique

23

03

Malta’s Best in Business SME Company Award – HungryCow/Thirsty Cow

22

Malta’s Best in Business Insurance Company Award – Mapfre Middlesea Malta’s Best in Business Vocational & English Language School – Bels Malta

21

Malta’s Best in Business Industry Company Award – Mirya Limited Malta’s Best in Business Manufacturing Company Award – Construct Furniture Malta’s Best in Business Food & Beverage Company Award – Ta’ Frenc Restaurant Malta’s Best in Business Entertainment Company Award – Yada Dance Company Malta’s Best in Business Design Company –Vera Sant Fournier Interior Design

04

Malta’s Best in Business Pension Provider Company Award – STM Malta’s Trust & Management Ltd Malta’s Best in Business Start-up Company Award– Food Solutions ltd

07

Malta’s Best in Business Overall Winner – Mapfre Middlesea

06

Malta’s Best in Business Chairman’s Value Award – Design Hub Malta

24

10 09

29 05

08

13

12

30 11

28

14

31

32

01 Talocan Ltd 03 Acumum Legal & Advisory 04 European Centre of Culture & Art 05 Credorax Group 06 DHL International 07 Handson System 08 Vera Sant Fournier 09 Credorax Group 10 Ekaterina Camilleri Markina 11 Lilly Lou Bridal Designer 12 Representative for the 13 Nicole Zaprou & Erandi Tusku 14 The Mixologist 15 The Yada Dance Company 16 Margaret Brincat, Martin Vella MBR Publications Ltd & HE The President of Malta Marie Louise Coleiro Preca 17 Mr & Mrs Kenneth Micallef Bank of Valletta 18 Nilara 20 Dakar Software 22 Design Hub Malta 23 The Yada Dance Company 24 Casasoft Ltd 28 FirePlay Malta 29 STM Malta Trust & Management Ltd 30 Mr & Mrs John Paul Abela Bank of Valletta 31 Verve Boutique 32 Acumum Legal & Advisory 33 Western Union Business Solutions 34 Mirya Ltd 35 EEC-ITIS Malta Tourism and Languages Institute 34

17 15

16 33

35

Mirya Limited mirya@maltanet.net

08

www.maltabusinessreview.net

09


Malta Business Review

BIB AWARDS

Malta’s Best IN BUSINESS

Official winners list Malta’s Best in Business Arts & Culture Award - European Centre for Culture & Arts Malta’s Best in Business ICT Company Award - Dakar Software Limited Malta’s Best in Business Technology Company Award - Handson Systems Malta’s Best in Business Law Firm Award - Acumum Legal & Advisory 01

Malta’s Best in Business iGaming Company Award - CSL Data Centre Services

BIB AWARDS

Awards

Malta Business Review

BIB

2015

18

Malta’s Best in Business Online & Web Design Company - Casasoft Ltd

MALTA TRUST & COMPANY MANAGEMENT LIMITED.

Malta’s Best in Business Finance Company Award - Credorax Group Malta’s Best in Business Architect & Engineering Award – - ACT_N Studios Malta’s Best in Business Trust & Fiduciary Company - STM Malta Trust & Management Ltd Malta’s Best in Business Corporate Company - Corporate Solutions Limited

20

Malta’s Best in Business Fashion Designer Award - Nilara Ltd. Malta’s Best in Business Retail Company Award – Verve Boutique

23

03

Malta’s Best in Business SME Company Award – HungryCow/Thirsty Cow

22

Malta’s Best in Business Insurance Company Award – Mapfre Middlesea Malta’s Best in Business Vocational & English Language School – Bels Malta

21

Malta’s Best in Business Industry Company Award – Mirya Limited Malta’s Best in Business Manufacturing Company Award – Construct Furniture Malta’s Best in Business Food & Beverage Company Award – Ta’ Frenc Restaurant Malta’s Best in Business Entertainment Company Award – Yada Dance Company Malta’s Best in Business Design Company –Vera Sant Fournier Interior Design

04

Malta’s Best in Business Pension Provider Company Award – STM Malta’s Trust & Management Ltd Malta’s Best in Business Start-up Company Award– Food Solutions ltd

07

Malta’s Best in Business Overall Winner – Mapfre Middlesea

06

Malta’s Best in Business Chairman’s Value Award – Design Hub Malta

24

10 09

29 05

08

13

12

30 11

28

14

31

32

01 Talocan Ltd 03 Acumum Legal & Advisory 04 European Centre of Culture & Art 05 Credorax Group 06 DHL International 07 Handson System 08 Vera Sant Fournier 09 Credorax Group 10 Ekaterina Camilleri Markina 11 Lilly Lou Bridal Designer 12 Representative for the 13 Nicole Zaprou & Erandi Tusku 14 The Mixologist 15 The Yada Dance Company 16 Margaret Brincat, Martin Vella MBR Publications Ltd & HE The President of Malta Marie Louise Coleiro Preca 17 Mr & Mrs Kenneth Micallef Bank of Valletta 18 Nilara 20 Dakar Software 22 Design Hub Malta 23 The Yada Dance Company 24 Casasoft Ltd 28 FirePlay Malta 29 STM Malta Trust & Management Ltd 30 Mr & Mrs John Paul Abela Bank of Valletta 31 Verve Boutique 32 Acumum Legal & Advisory 33 Western Union Business Solutions 34 Mirya Ltd 35 EEC-ITIS Malta Tourism and Languages Institute 34

17 15

16 33

35

Mirya Limited mirya@maltanet.net

08

www.maltabusinessreview.net

09


Malta Business Review

INTERVIEW OF THE MONTH

INTERVIEW OF THE MONTH aggressive line with models offering unparalleled characteristics. Absolute’s range focuses on three main lines, the Flybridge yacht, the HardTop and the revolutionary Navetta. Models range from 40 to 72ft in length. Absolute realised that following the financial crises, yachts needed to be innovative and original. New models are introduced every year and all current designs are fresh and not older than three years. This was only possible with the investment incurred new designs and technology, and it is this aspect which puts Absolute on a different level than most other boat builders.

Sig. Cesare Mastroianni during Dealer Meeting at Cannes

“ We believe that without listening you cannot say, without knowing you cannot make”

I do admit that boats and yachting have fascinated me in the past but I have never been keen to indulge in leisure yachts, let alone fly-bridge motoryachts, I was more than pleased when I received an invitation from Boatcare Trading Limited to visit and discover the Absolute Shipyard to interview Mr. Cesare Mastroianni, Sales Manager of Absolute Yachts. What I saw with my eyes and experienced in the field of pleasure boating and Yacht design during my brief stopover in shipyard’s creative heart in Piacenza left me enthralled, impressed and drawn to learn more about Absolute Company’s story.

Background

CM: The first answer relates to the name, because the Absolute name was selected by the founders for a specific reason. They came from previous background experience in the original yacht building company that was Gobbi. In those days, they were the leaders of manufacturing and design, very proudly part of the team. When the boatyard was sold to another company, Azimut, the name was changed from Gobbi to Atlantis. Not only the name was changed, but also the management of the company, who were all substituted with new managers coming from different proficiencies, such as the car industry, and other similar backgrounds. Young, and ambitious designers and technicians felt constricted into a frame work that was not flexible enough to support their abilities and creativity, so they decided to come out from that reality and establish their own company, branding the name Absolute; highlighting that they are now absolutely free, to express their 10

This is the most advanced and highly developed manufacturing site available in Europe today MBR: So what are the benefits?

On arriving at Piacenza together with Kenneth Azzopardi, Director of Boatcare Trading Ltd, who are the exclusive agents and dealers for Absolute Yachts in Malta, I was prepared to learn and enjoy myself, and not expecting much to wonder about. At its state-of-the-art shipyard in Piacenza, Italy, Absolute creates hand-laid solid-fiberglass hulls and adds in the proprietary Integrated Structural System (ISS), a combined construct of parts made of composite sandwich and plywood including interior bulkheads, that is bonded to the inside of the hull to provide additional stiffness and strength as well as reduce sound. The result is a solid platform on which to build an interior. Here I could not help but notice how the sustained efforts, teamwork, attention to detail and customer focus are the keys of the Absolute Yachts shipyard’s success. The professional shipyard set-up and operations give a hint about Absolute Yachts attention to detail, comfort and safety. Such are the Absolute motoryachts and powerboats undisputed qualities of handiness and sportsmanship, which are hallmarks of Absolute engineering and craftsmanship, that guarantee pleasure of cruising, navigating and respecting the sea, and on-board safety. The engineering on many of them is incredible.

MBR: What is unique about Absolute Yachts? How do you stand out from competition?

Another main aspect in Absolute yachts’ building methods is the approach towards designs. These are all done internally and the full process, including the architectural aspects of decoration and engineering, are fully developed in-house. Absolute has over twenty people working in the different areas of the construction and fabrication of new products. The factory has a unique boat building process called the ISS where every part of the boat comes together in one integrated and solid build.

intensions, their ideas, and the tag line of the advertisement in that period was Absolute freedom of expression. This was the meaning of the company. Starting from that motivation and from that experience, they decided to develop a range of products with innovation and the novelties as the first fingerprint of the whole matter. As soon as Volvo Penta proposed the IPS-System, Absolute started developing a full range of yachts, specifically designed for IPS, instantly foreseeing that the IPS is the future, offering lots of unmatched advantages. The IPS drives enable the designers to provide much better space volume in the accommodation areas of the boat. The IPS drives also offer unmatched performance, requiring smaller engines with drastic improvements on fuel consumption and servicing costs. Furthermore, thanks to independent PODS and joystick controls, the IPS drives offer unparalleled maneuverability and new inexperienced buyers are now able dock their yacht with greater ease. Subsequently, Volvo Penta introduced even

more features such as the electronic integration with the navigation system, and not to mention the fuel economy and the ecological antipollution impact due to the better performance of the engines. This was one key element of the brand’s success and thanks to the lack of constraints previously imposed by conventional shaft systems, Absolute were able to design boats with special features. The personal taste and creativity of the designers, particularly Sergio Imaggini, allowed the company to develop a design for yachts with an attractive, charming allure for that period. The brand became popular in demand. The sales performances were very positive in all the Mediterranean area, from Turkey to Spain, including Greece, Croatia, Italy and France. During the financial crisis in 2008 and 2009, while most boat builders were reducing their investments and costs, Absolute’s management took a different approach and instead of standing by, the company decided to increase investments. In just under four years, Absolute completely renewed the model range and by 2013, they had a completely new and

CM: Flexibility, because we are able to modify our activities in any time without the necessity to pass to external consultants. Quality, because we have a full control in all the steps in all the stages from the design to the manufacturing. Cost effectiveness, because everything is managed in-house. The same people that develop the decisions for the setup of the new models, develop also the technical documents and procedures that are shared with the suppliers, and they are also the same people that go into the workshops to control the assembly in the factory. It is similar to an old craftsman’s approach, where everything is a one-man band, but we actually have a team and not only that, but also we use state-of-the-art three dimensional software, including all the other tools that we find technologically advanced, and which we are allowed to use nowadays MBR: You have mentioned quality. Can you tell us what Absolute Yachts do to deliver on quality and what is the unique selling proposition? CM: Just to complete the picture, the ultimate focus is this manufacturing area that was developed in 2007, which implements the technological features mentioned. For instance, we have an automated warehouse, including geothermal systems for heating and humidity control in the workshop, and this has

a clear, clean environment which is sunlit and very ecological-friendly, since we have almost zero impact in the environment. All these things together make Absolute a unique manufacturing shipyard in Europe today. This is the most advanced and highly developed manufacturing site available in Europe today and that is why it stands out. We are also highly committed to the quality objectives. Of course, many manufacturers say the same, but we can demonstrate how quality is implemented here. Firstly, the choice of the components and the raw materials that we adopt in our manufacturing are the best products available in the market. We not only choose the best brands, but also choose the most ideal models, when choosing whatever goes into our yachts. This is not the only quantifiable measure adopted. We also have what we call our special method to assemble the yachts – The ISS Integrated Structural System. Usually boat manufacturers prepare the structure, consisting of the hull, flooring, and the deck, separately. Then, they usually fit all the furniture and install the components into the boat. When the process is completed the deck is put on top and the boat is sealed. We follow a different approach. We manufacture the hull while manufacturing the deck and the interior structure, which is made by marine wood, which is assembled similar to a groove-andtongue method, so you have the interiors of the boat without the outer hull and superstructure. These wood pieces are bonded together with special glues and fixings. When the skeletons and pieces are joined and completed they form a solid structure just like a human skeleton - rigid and sub-consistent. They are then crane lifted and fitted into the hull before anything else is inserted. Following this, the deck is fitted on top and everything bonds into one rigid structure. At this moment, the boat’s structure is completed and the yacht is ready to be launched in the water, without engines, but floating, consistent and firm. Only at the point, we install the engines, tanks, electrical systems and other parts or accessories by means of the big edge of the cockpit. The way all the components come in, is the same way the components could come out in case of big faults. This is something extremely rare in modern yachts. And it can easily be appreciated by getting into our engine rooms. Our building methods also enable our yachts to not only be more rigid, but also lighter than other brands make, and you can feel this rigidity just by walking anywhere on the boat, where you can feel the rigidity with no quivering or throbs that you experience as the typical vibration you feel on other brands. When cruising one rarely hears any creaks, demonstrating there is no structural movement of the boat. Thirdly, the sound proofing methods conceived create a superior performance sound barrier from the engine room to the tiers. Last but not least, is that all

Malta Business Review

the structure is prepared on ground by automated control machines that drills and cuts all the pieces. So all the routings for the wirings, plumbing and all the other grooves for installation of the components are predesigned and fabricated. All this process is designed before manufacturing hull number one of any new model in 3-D, from the handles of the door to the lighting in the ceiling, thus resulting by having the first unit with the same build quality and finishing of any other boat number in the line. There is no improvisation, since everything is already prepared, documented in detail, with all the drawings for every phase of the installation. The installers would then just need to follow these detailed documents all throughout the production line. The boat is perfectly balanced and immaculately conceived to perform. For instance we just showcased boat number one of the Navetta 52 model, in the Cannes Yachting Festival. Nobody could guess that this was boat number one as everything was done perfectly, the first time round, whereas other manufacturers would usually need to build four or five boats to achieve the optimum quality desired. The Navetta 52 was firstly launched in water at the beginning of July this year. The first drawing on the paper was made in October. This was possible for the reason thanks to our building methods and the inhouse integration process. The team is young; with people in the technical office who are between 28 and 40 years of age, so everybody is computer-savvy and technically astute. They are also very technologically shrewd. At the same time, in the company there is the President, Mr. Gobbi, who is more than 70 years old, and who has been playing a principal role, having started at the nethermost involvement in the industry, since the beginning of the 1960s. So we have modernity, coupled with young people and expert leaders in this sector. MBR All Rights Reserved | © Copyright 2015

Absolute Yacht assembly line

11


Malta Business Review

INTERVIEW OF THE MONTH

INTERVIEW OF THE MONTH aggressive line with models offering unparalleled characteristics. Absolute’s range focuses on three main lines, the Flybridge yacht, the HardTop and the revolutionary Navetta. Models range from 40 to 72ft in length. Absolute realised that following the financial crises, yachts needed to be innovative and original. New models are introduced every year and all current designs are fresh and not older than three years. This was only possible with the investment incurred new designs and technology, and it is this aspect which puts Absolute on a different level than most other boat builders.

Sig. Cesare Mastroianni during Dealer Meeting at Cannes

“ We believe that without listening you cannot say, without knowing you cannot make”

I do admit that boats and yachting have fascinated me in the past but I have never been keen to indulge in leisure yachts, let alone fly-bridge motoryachts, I was more than pleased when I received an invitation from Boatcare Trading Limited to visit and discover the Absolute Shipyard to interview Mr. Cesare Mastroianni, Sales Manager of Absolute Yachts. What I saw with my eyes and experienced in the field of pleasure boating and Yacht design during my brief stopover in shipyard’s creative heart in Piacenza left me enthralled, impressed and drawn to learn more about Absolute Company’s story.

Background

CM: The first answer relates to the name, because the Absolute name was selected by the founders for a specific reason. They came from previous background experience in the original yacht building company that was Gobbi. In those days, they were the leaders of manufacturing and design, very proudly part of the team. When the boatyard was sold to another company, Azimut, the name was changed from Gobbi to Atlantis. Not only the name was changed, but also the management of the company, who were all substituted with new managers coming from different proficiencies, such as the car industry, and other similar backgrounds. Young, and ambitious designers and technicians felt constricted into a frame work that was not flexible enough to support their abilities and creativity, so they decided to come out from that reality and establish their own company, branding the name Absolute; highlighting that they are now absolutely free, to express their 10

This is the most advanced and highly developed manufacturing site available in Europe today MBR: So what are the benefits?

On arriving at Piacenza together with Kenneth Azzopardi, Director of Boatcare Trading Ltd, who are the exclusive agents and dealers for Absolute Yachts in Malta, I was prepared to learn and enjoy myself, and not expecting much to wonder about. At its state-of-the-art shipyard in Piacenza, Italy, Absolute creates hand-laid solid-fiberglass hulls and adds in the proprietary Integrated Structural System (ISS), a combined construct of parts made of composite sandwich and plywood including interior bulkheads, that is bonded to the inside of the hull to provide additional stiffness and strength as well as reduce sound. The result is a solid platform on which to build an interior. Here I could not help but notice how the sustained efforts, teamwork, attention to detail and customer focus are the keys of the Absolute Yachts shipyard’s success. The professional shipyard set-up and operations give a hint about Absolute Yachts attention to detail, comfort and safety. Such are the Absolute motoryachts and powerboats undisputed qualities of handiness and sportsmanship, which are hallmarks of Absolute engineering and craftsmanship, that guarantee pleasure of cruising, navigating and respecting the sea, and on-board safety. The engineering on many of them is incredible.

MBR: What is unique about Absolute Yachts? How do you stand out from competition?

Another main aspect in Absolute yachts’ building methods is the approach towards designs. These are all done internally and the full process, including the architectural aspects of decoration and engineering, are fully developed in-house. Absolute has over twenty people working in the different areas of the construction and fabrication of new products. The factory has a unique boat building process called the ISS where every part of the boat comes together in one integrated and solid build.

intensions, their ideas, and the tag line of the advertisement in that period was Absolute freedom of expression. This was the meaning of the company. Starting from that motivation and from that experience, they decided to develop a range of products with innovation and the novelties as the first fingerprint of the whole matter. As soon as Volvo Penta proposed the IPS-System, Absolute started developing a full range of yachts, specifically designed for IPS, instantly foreseeing that the IPS is the future, offering lots of unmatched advantages. The IPS drives enable the designers to provide much better space volume in the accommodation areas of the boat. The IPS drives also offer unmatched performance, requiring smaller engines with drastic improvements on fuel consumption and servicing costs. Furthermore, thanks to independent PODS and joystick controls, the IPS drives offer unparalleled maneuverability and new inexperienced buyers are now able dock their yacht with greater ease. Subsequently, Volvo Penta introduced even

more features such as the electronic integration with the navigation system, and not to mention the fuel economy and the ecological antipollution impact due to the better performance of the engines. This was one key element of the brand’s success and thanks to the lack of constraints previously imposed by conventional shaft systems, Absolute were able to design boats with special features. The personal taste and creativity of the designers, particularly Sergio Imaggini, allowed the company to develop a design for yachts with an attractive, charming allure for that period. The brand became popular in demand. The sales performances were very positive in all the Mediterranean area, from Turkey to Spain, including Greece, Croatia, Italy and France. During the financial crisis in 2008 and 2009, while most boat builders were reducing their investments and costs, Absolute’s management took a different approach and instead of standing by, the company decided to increase investments. In just under four years, Absolute completely renewed the model range and by 2013, they had a completely new and

CM: Flexibility, because we are able to modify our activities in any time without the necessity to pass to external consultants. Quality, because we have a full control in all the steps in all the stages from the design to the manufacturing. Cost effectiveness, because everything is managed in-house. The same people that develop the decisions for the setup of the new models, develop also the technical documents and procedures that are shared with the suppliers, and they are also the same people that go into the workshops to control the assembly in the factory. It is similar to an old craftsman’s approach, where everything is a one-man band, but we actually have a team and not only that, but also we use state-of-the-art three dimensional software, including all the other tools that we find technologically advanced, and which we are allowed to use nowadays MBR: You have mentioned quality. Can you tell us what Absolute Yachts do to deliver on quality and what is the unique selling proposition? CM: Just to complete the picture, the ultimate focus is this manufacturing area that was developed in 2007, which implements the technological features mentioned. For instance, we have an automated warehouse, including geothermal systems for heating and humidity control in the workshop, and this has

a clear, clean environment which is sunlit and very ecological-friendly, since we have almost zero impact in the environment. All these things together make Absolute a unique manufacturing shipyard in Europe today. This is the most advanced and highly developed manufacturing site available in Europe today and that is why it stands out. We are also highly committed to the quality objectives. Of course, many manufacturers say the same, but we can demonstrate how quality is implemented here. Firstly, the choice of the components and the raw materials that we adopt in our manufacturing are the best products available in the market. We not only choose the best brands, but also choose the most ideal models, when choosing whatever goes into our yachts. This is not the only quantifiable measure adopted. We also have what we call our special method to assemble the yachts – The ISS Integrated Structural System. Usually boat manufacturers prepare the structure, consisting of the hull, flooring, and the deck, separately. Then, they usually fit all the furniture and install the components into the boat. When the process is completed the deck is put on top and the boat is sealed. We follow a different approach. We manufacture the hull while manufacturing the deck and the interior structure, which is made by marine wood, which is assembled similar to a groove-andtongue method, so you have the interiors of the boat without the outer hull and superstructure. These wood pieces are bonded together with special glues and fixings. When the skeletons and pieces are joined and completed they form a solid structure just like a human skeleton - rigid and sub-consistent. They are then crane lifted and fitted into the hull before anything else is inserted. Following this, the deck is fitted on top and everything bonds into one rigid structure. At this moment, the boat’s structure is completed and the yacht is ready to be launched in the water, without engines, but floating, consistent and firm. Only at the point, we install the engines, tanks, electrical systems and other parts or accessories by means of the big edge of the cockpit. The way all the components come in, is the same way the components could come out in case of big faults. This is something extremely rare in modern yachts. And it can easily be appreciated by getting into our engine rooms. Our building methods also enable our yachts to not only be more rigid, but also lighter than other brands make, and you can feel this rigidity just by walking anywhere on the boat, where you can feel the rigidity with no quivering or throbs that you experience as the typical vibration you feel on other brands. When cruising one rarely hears any creaks, demonstrating there is no structural movement of the boat. Thirdly, the sound proofing methods conceived create a superior performance sound barrier from the engine room to the tiers. Last but not least, is that all

Malta Business Review

the structure is prepared on ground by automated control machines that drills and cuts all the pieces. So all the routings for the wirings, plumbing and all the other grooves for installation of the components are predesigned and fabricated. All this process is designed before manufacturing hull number one of any new model in 3-D, from the handles of the door to the lighting in the ceiling, thus resulting by having the first unit with the same build quality and finishing of any other boat number in the line. There is no improvisation, since everything is already prepared, documented in detail, with all the drawings for every phase of the installation. The installers would then just need to follow these detailed documents all throughout the production line. The boat is perfectly balanced and immaculately conceived to perform. For instance we just showcased boat number one of the Navetta 52 model, in the Cannes Yachting Festival. Nobody could guess that this was boat number one as everything was done perfectly, the first time round, whereas other manufacturers would usually need to build four or five boats to achieve the optimum quality desired. The Navetta 52 was firstly launched in water at the beginning of July this year. The first drawing on the paper was made in October. This was possible for the reason thanks to our building methods and the inhouse integration process. The team is young; with people in the technical office who are between 28 and 40 years of age, so everybody is computer-savvy and technically astute. They are also very technologically shrewd. At the same time, in the company there is the President, Mr. Gobbi, who is more than 70 years old, and who has been playing a principal role, having started at the nethermost involvement in the industry, since the beginning of the 1960s. So we have modernity, coupled with young people and expert leaders in this sector. MBR All Rights Reserved | © Copyright 2015

Absolute Yacht assembly line

11


Malta Business Review

HR CONSULTANCY

“We are specialist HR consultants offering expert personnel management support to local businesses,” tells us Simon Casolani, Partner/Operations & Recruitment Manager with Quad Consultancy. In this interview Simon explains the company’s aim is to provide robust, practical, integrated solutions that managers can live with.

Overcoming Human Resource Obstacles By Gladys Johnson

a

MBR: Why should candidates choose to be represented by you?

SC: The obvious benefits are time, cost and expertise. We help businesses maximise efficiency by reaching their goals in the shortest time possible. Let’s take recruitment, which is my area of responsibility, as an example. Thanks to our networks and expertise, businesses benefit from the opportunity to recruit people who would have otherwise never have got in touch with them. They save time and money as they’re not handling the lengthy process of advertising, sourcing, acknowledging, filtering, and screening. Above all, they do enjoy the benefit of having senior qualified professionals handling such a crucial area of the businesses. After all, a company is as good as its people. MBR: Why should businesses seek your help when they can just advertise the vacancies themselves?

SC: Due to our experience, we read CVs differently to an untrained eye. There have been many cases where candidates’ particular experiences or skills were not properly explained or highlighted in their CVs. In these cases, we speak to the candidates in order to decide whether they do satisfy the client’s requirements or not. After we screen the CVs, we only invite those candidates who stand a really good chance of being offered the job. So candidates don’t have to waste time and energy (even making use of their vacation leave) going to interviews only to experience the disappointment of being turned down. We maintain ongoing communications with the client’s hiring manager, and this enables us to better identify the candidates who come closer to their requirements. MBR: What do your clients and candidates have to say about you?

SC: Both the quality and the quantity of candidates coming through media advertising have decreased considerably over the past few years. In such a small business community like ours, a lot of good candidates are generally reluctant to apply directly; so they tend to go for an option which gives them the opportunity to be presented by a professional consultant. This also releases the HR department from a number of time and energy consuming tasks like acknowledging the receipt of CVs (most of which will be irrelevant), scheduling interviews, and giving feedback to candidates. You also get the added benefit of a neutral point of view: a fresh pair of eyes. We only have the client’s best interest at heart. Before sending Cvs to clients, we ensure that every candidate has been screened in order to filter out the illfitting applicants. Only the best-suited candidates are sent to clients.

SC: We get a lot of positive feedback from our clients – so much so that most of them recommend us to their friends and family. As a Boutique Consultancy firm with minimal staff turnover, we are able to provide both clients and candidates with a personalised service whereby they are treated as individuals. Many candidates also feel very comfortable to send us their CV knowing that a few people – who are mature professionals – will be privy to such confidential information. Both clients and candidates seem to appreciate the fact that we approach recruitment from an HR perspective – rather than a sales approach. In fact, while our competitors invest heavily in sales training for their employees, we receive training in employment law and other areas that help us provide a professional and informed advice both to employers and candidates. In most cases, our relationship with clients has

MBR: What are the Benefits professional HR Consultancy Firm?

12

of

using

developed into a partnership (in some cases even a friendship where clients confide in us even on personal matters) rather than just a service provider. Our consultants work as a close team – and it shows. We all share information and advice for the clients’ and candidates’ (therefore our team’s) benefit. MBR All Rights Reserved | © Copyright 2015

EDITOR’S NOTE

Simon Casolani is the Operations and Recruitment Manager at Quad Consultancy. He joined Quad four years ago as a consultant, and has been an integral member in the growth of the company over the years. Simon has a Masters Degree in Tourism Management and has previously worked within the Hospitality sector for much of his career. Simon is a Man United supporter who loves to travel and sample the food and wines wherever he goes. He also enjoys cooking for friends.


Malta Business Review

FINANCE- BUDGET

Finding the Right Balance – By Martin Vella

Following his presentation of the Budget 2016, finance Minister Prof Edward Scicluna explains how Malta has changed direction, speaks of bold decisions and Malta’s steady growth. In this Part 1 of an exclusive interview, Minister Scicluna reaffirms us how public finances are on solid ground and at the same time this is not hampering economic growth. He also discusses main economic factors, Long Term Unemployment, sustainable pension system, talks on energy, expenditure and fiscal deficit. MBR: There were no less than eight consultative meetings related to the coming budget took place, all part of the pre-Budget 2015 Consultation process. Why do you consider the feedback that the Government has received during these events as valuable and often of a high level, and do they influence the course of policy-making? ES: I find them extremely variable because now the pre-budget process is more structured than before. I remember maybe 20 years ago when it was unstructured. All the constituted bodies used to come days before the budget; they were there to show that they just had a shopping list; a list with no studies and no supporting data. Now they realise that the process is improved. Today, we have the pre-budget document, which was introduced years back, but it has helped to put government agenda and the situation of the economy in a better perspective. Now the economic semester which we are asked by the Commission to have, is a twelve month budgetary process, which commenced in November. We will have the growth survey from the commission, followed by our studies which we submitted in March and April, together with the growth and the stability document, including the reform programs. Even the Fiscal Council expect us to put various reports on the table of the House, including the annual report, and the mid-term report. So the social partners are now much better informed of what happened. They don’t wait till Christmas for the budget speech to know it before. So, they are in a position to put their suggestions and proposals in a more structured way and in time to be integrated in the budget if they are valid. From my own experience, we can plan the overall strategy but when it comes to specific underground schemes, if you really want them to succeed

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you need to consult. Sometimes it is hard especially when it comes to introduce new types of taxation. Because there is a list of speculation and so on. That’s the dilemma. Otherwise with most schemes, especially underground schemes, or others you can consult and it is in the interest of the Finance Minister to have a good budget if he really consults widely.

I have been teaching and I always had this principle, if the students don’t understand don’t blame them, blame yourself because you are not clear MBR: Under your wise counsel, the government took somewhat bold decisions over the past two and a half years, exactly goIng the opposite direction of the Commission’s austerity path. Was it easy to go against the majority’s opinion and how has this impacted on the behaviour patterns of the economic factors? ES: Before becoming a minister, I was a member of the European Parliament. So I had the fortune, or misfortune, of experiencing the post international financial crises and it is aftermath; it’s effect on Greece, Ireland, Spain, Portugal and the EU. The following day I took the oath of office, I had to go with the Prime Minister for the summit and the Euro Group, which was about Cyprus. That famous night where Cyprus got ________. So I understood that austerity, although well intentioned to cut the debt of a country which is nearing default, was too much fixated with cutting the debts and ignoring the fact that in order to refuse

the debt burden you need to grow. That was ignored. As I said in the European Parliament I even voted against these two pack and six-pack (they are called), pieces of legislation, which we now know as the austerity program, because there is no reference to investment. So now I’m in the cockpit, having the chance, yet finding myself in the excessive deficit procedure. When I ask for a bilateral agreement, with the commissioner Ollie Ren at that time, I was prepared for the worse (EDP). They would say cut here, cut there, remove social benefit and so on. We are not in a program country like Greece, but we were in the EDP. Yet, there still was a risk. And I still remember explaining to him, I said, “look you have got enough problems on your desk, do you want Malta to be one of them? Because if you want to give us a budget or proposals for cutting, then we will join the others; we will follow into recession. So, either you give us the chance to let us grow on our own. And we were hopeful that we would grow, but at same time we will deliver the expenditure review with the economic reports and at the time we estimated about €30-40 million. In OctoberNovember, I presented the documents showing where we reduced this expenditure. That impressed him and from there on we have been careful to cut the deficit but not as much as trying to push us. Even now, they are pushing and telling us, “why don’t you cut it more? You are doing well, you are doing this and you can reign in.” Sorry, give me time! I would do it, so long that I am in the right direction. Cutting by half of one per cent each year and please don’t push us. The target of the surplus is there, but I do not want to count the chickens before they are hatched. So when you will come to it, you will find it. I don’t want to say that 2017 will be the day. We don’t know the circumstances, when we are in the


FINANCE- BUDGET

Malta Business Review

– Part 1 right direction, cutting the deficit. One day iwe will come to that balance, and hopefully a surplus. And I can add with hindsight, that now growth has succeeded. MBR: Another decision was to tackle head on the Long Term Unemployed to return to the job market. How was this contributed to the overall growth that has been registered and will the government continue creating such forthright yet positive measures in future, especially with LTUs? ES: Some people refer to the long term unemployed as lazy people. I don’t. Giving an exception here and there, I think that they are quite intelligent people. We are on benefits. Having met a few of them, now I think I am wiser. They tell you, “it simply doesn’t pay for me to work. Work does not pay!” In their case under the old system, who is in his right sense? We tell him look, “I will give you a job, a minimum paid job, but I will take it back in benefits.” So they say, with a rational sense, “why should I bother?!” Therefore, we are saying that people are not stupid in the long term unemployed. If it doesn’t pay it doesn’t pay! So you blame yourself for any misgivings. I have been teaching and I always had this principle, if the students don’t understand don’t blame them, blame yourself because you are not clear. And the same here; don’t blame them, blame the system. Change the system. And this system of tapering, wherein otherwise you offer the wage and you need to offer something for the employer, because it is not easy for the employer to take a long term. I tell you he needs some patience and even lower productivity at first. So you also compensate the employer and you can afford it from the social benefit which you are going to save. But don’t expect to save it all because he will not work. This means you give him two thirds of the benefit, 45% after that, 25% after that and you leave it out. You want to him to get off the sofa into work, feel proud of himself, feel proud of his family and then hope for the best. By doing so you then save the social benefits and then you also get income tax, national insurance, and his own pension. I think the principle is successful and you can apply it in other cases as well, including single parents. MBR: How is the government strengthening the pension system and what is your strategy for an adequate, fair and sustainable pension system? ES: Ironically, the people who should be interested in sustainable pension are not the

Minister for Finance, Edward Scicluna addressing the Institute of Financial Services (IFS)’s Annual Dinner at the Hilton, on Friday 20th November 2015 pensioners, they are the young people, students who are going to start their life. If they could see into the future and forsee a pension system which is not sustainable, which means that they are going to be poor or risk of poverty when they retire. It is as unpretentious as that! Actually I should discussing with young people the students. Instead what do you get? You get the lobby of pensioners and you don’t blame them. Talking about another subject today and not in the future, because today is the result of twenty of decisions taken 20-30 years ago. The pension today is not paying well because whoever thought of the pension before considered only old retired persons. More importantly the pensioner today as being paid his pension by the workers. Now you ask the question: Should you increase national insurance? In other words you tax work more and add burden, so that you would have higher pension? Or much medium term but more sustainable? Increase the number of people in the labour force, so instead of getting 130,000 people as we had before, now we increasing it and we have reached 200,000 people working every day. Now, if 200,000 people go out to work, not all of them are full time. Admittedly, there are 165,000 fulltime and 35,000 are part time. They are contributing their national insurance and also paying tax, therefore helping the pensions. So the pension today has to be kept about the sustainability. Your question now is about the future. The Commission is pushing us to increase either the retirement range from 65 and our reply is: we have not reached that point. Why do we talk of going beyond 65,

when we have not attained this, as ours is only 62. We are planning to continue gradually to 65. When we reach that stage, then we will review. Why should we be against the Second Pillar? We are not against the Second Pillar in principle. Now yes, because if we have too few people working, it doesn’t pay. How can you increase the labour force if you are putting more burden on their pay? So wait till you reach the 70% participation rate like Germany and others, then you can introduce as a mandatary. However, as from this year, we are going to discuss schemes, whereby if the union and the employers decide to have a funded extra pension at their place of work, we would even give them incentives and we will be announcing them later.

Nowhere in the world do governments lose control of public expenditure and get a deficit performance the way we are MBR: What is the main focus of the budget 2016 and how do you intend to maintain a constant reduction in expenditure so as to lessen the fiscal deficit? ES: You can start from wherever you like, but in the whole equation of the economic point of view your concern is the deficit, so one cannot start from public expenditure itself. And then obviously, what contributes towards it. That’s why I said even in my budget speech,

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Malta Business Review

FINANCE- BUDGET

it is an inconsistency to see the deficit reducing year after year. Three years and let’s hope to reach that target. Now 2013 went down, 2014 went down, and we also expect 2015 to go down. If that deficit is falling you cannot at the same time say that the Government has lost control of public expenditure. Nowhere in the world do governments lose control of public expenditure and get a deficit performance the way we are. So there is something wrong. In other words, why despite the famous austerity and all these rules of the Troika, why are they mentioning deficit and debt? This implies they don’t care. Whatever you want to do, do, so long that you reduce the deficit and the debt. That’s the final bottleneck there! Now you cannot acquire that by losing control of public expenditure. We are concerned as Finance Minister that public expenditure is in check, and there are reasons why it could be higher, so long as you pay for it through revenue. I will give you an example. I’m just coming from MCAST. They opened a student house and I was very happy to see the growing campus, and I tell you we need more and more students because we have a higher than desire percentage of young people without proper education. If you want to increase it, you have to increase the lecturers, you need extensions and you need teachers. You talked about childcare centres- do you want them free or private? Dispite the private day we had, not enough women went out. Now we took a bold decision, paid eleven million euros and at the same time you have them free, so couples go out to work and you provide free. As a result what happened? We have spent eleven million more and public expenditure will go up for this reason. Now what do we want? One, or the other? In other words our country, it looks at both parties, are now adamant continue having free healthcare and free education at all levels. Some countries don’t have free tertiary education. They definitely do not have stipends. MBR: Do you see that as sustainable in the future? ES: It is sustainable now, because we are reducing the deficit. Debt does not allow you to let go of public expenditure. We are

Minister for Finance, Edward Scicluna, delivers the Budget Speech to the House of Representatives doing reviews all the time. I can assure you that there are lots of practices in the public sector, which need changing. Governments find them hard because they go in to the collective agreements and they allow it. I don’t want to mention all the details, but there are lots of things which can be improved and reduce the public expenditure. However, if the demand for health and education continues growing, you need to spend more. The importance that you get value for money is not spending more, but what you spend more, you are ready to pay collectively, and you get good value for money. That’s our target.

If the demand for health and education continues growing, you need to spend more MBR: With Enemalta outwardly also on the recovery trend, why does the government will not further lower the energy prices, when the energy costs are one of the biggest costs of business, which is also competing against larger businesses?

he termed it, in 2012, which we missed having. We borrowed over €350 million from a German development bank. We agreed to pay the interest at the end of the 25 years and we save the capital, which is called a sinking fund. Enemalta forgot after 25 years they had a sinking fund! And what was the result? DEFFA was expecting the payment of those €350 million, but there was no €350 million in the piggy bank! The piggy bank was not there even there! That is how companies go bankrupt. They are not ready to pay the capital back on time. So quickly, quickly they asked the opposition to cooperate, go to parliament, so we borrowed from Bank of Valetta and repackaged with land, and this was the most complicated SPV. And we passed this through. Do you know what was the result of all this? That now that capital with interest is going to be paid to the BOV over 25 years, €20 million per annum. Now, we say there is no harm for €20 million for a power plant. Why not? However, remember this power plant is going to be pulled down in a few weeks’ time. So for 25 years we enjoy these benefits, but on top of that you have to pay in excess for those who forgot to pay the capital, but they enjoy their benefits, which is not fair. Since this is a burden I am not saying all this just because of that. By the way, I can show you that at the end of 2014 there were only two countries with a tariff for domestic less then Malta, I believe Hungary and Bulgaria. The rest were higher more than Malta, so we’re not out of synch like we were in 2012. MBR

ES: As a business man would understand you cannot sell below cost. Finally, you have to cover your costs. Now, what are Enemalta’s costs? Just fuel? It was a corporation on the verge of bankruptcy in 2012. Yesterday I read what my previous Finance Minister said, that by some default, we were meant to have a piggy bank, ‘karuz’ Photo Credit – DOI – Clifton Fenech/Jeremy Wonnacott

Minister for Finance, Edward Scicluna, delivers the Budget Speech to the House of Representatives

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Malta Business Review

BUDGET ANALYSIS – TOURISM

MTA Chairman Dr Gavin Gulia, together with the Minister for Tourism Dr Edward Zammit Lewis during the World Travel Market in London

Ensuring sustainable tourism growth By Dr Edward Zammit Lewis Minister for Tourism The measures announced within the budget aim to maintain the momentum of economic growth and fiscal consolidation registered to date, which is almost three times the average growth for the EU. The strong performance of the tourism sector was a main contributor to this positive overall economic performance, and it is Government’s firm intention to ensure that tourism will continue to expand its share of economic prosperity in the years to come. However, this can only be achieved by adopting a prudent approach and employing growthfriendly measures that ensure that Malta sustains productivity whilst remaining competitive. This budget measures announced are precisely aimed to achieve this. The indications for this year point to 17

another record year for tourism on all counts. The latest NSO statistics show that tourism expenditure between January and August 2015 increased by over â‚Ź71 million on last year, representing an impressive increase of 6.8%. I am conscious of the fact that tourism is a very price sensitive sector; and that Malta needs to strive to maintain a competitive positioning amongst its many rivals. When it comes to price competitiveness, the Travel & Tourism Competitiveness 2015 Index, which was recently published by the World Economic Forum, put Malta at par with Spain and ahead of Greece, Cyprus, Italy and France amongst others. This is thanks to an inflation rate that has been stable over the past years, in addition to measures such as the reduction in electricity rates, and other

initiatives which have helped the sector to maintain its competitive position. The measures announced in this budget will continue to ensure that we maintain and strengthen our competitiveness. These and other measures will free up capital that is being re-invested in the product. This is evinced by the millions of Euro worth of investment we have witnessed in the past months, through a multitude of refurbishment programmes and new projects, especially within hotels, but also in other sectors of the industry. Another measure announced in the budget concerns energy, which represents a main overhead in the running of tourism operations, especially hotels. Following the 25% reduction in energy utility bills early this year, Government is now working


BUDGET ANALYSIS – TOURISM on efficiency incentives that will further support the hospitality sector. Talks between the Ministry of Energy and MHRA have already taken place, and we are working on a scheme that would incentivize energy efficient investment by hotels, restaurants and other operators of the industry, which will be rewarded against the issue of white certificates. A white certificate is an Energy Savings Certificate which guarantees that a specified amount of energy savings has been achieved by the operator. The energy saving must be achieved at the least cost in order that the energy saving target is reached. This is an opportunity for industry operators to become more energy efficient and more cost effective; and therefore more competitive. The increased numbers in tourism however also bring with them increased pressures on the infrastructure, which call for increased investment in the product. The state of the product, particularly tourism core areas, is often criticized by operators in the industry and indeed the general public. The introduction of an eco-contribution by tourists from April 2016, is a measure that will see the proceeds of this eco-tax being directly invested in the product through infrastructural improvements and embellishment of tourism zones. This eco-contribution of 50 cents a day per adult over 18 years of age and capped at €5.00 per stay, will be collected from tourists staying at hotels and will not be included in the rates charged for accommodation. The method of collection will be decided following further talks with MHRA, and other stakeholders. The money collected will be further topped up by Government, and the funds will be managed by the Foundation for Tourism Zone Development which was recently set by Government. The Foundation for Tourism Zone Development shall be restructured into a PPP model involving representatives of the MHRA, and other stakeholders. This initiative will translate into increased investment in the product which will also improve the competiveness level of our islands. The economic growth we are experiencing has however accentuated the problem associated

with the labour supply, which is particularly prevalent in the tourism industry. One of the objectives set in this Budget is the enhancement of human capital through the provision of targeted training initiatives and education. The investment of €56 million announced for the development of a new state of the art ITS in the South of Malta, is a major step towards reaching this objective. The new ITS will not only cater for the needs of the industry but it aims to establish itself as a centre of excellence within the tourism field of study in the Mediterranean. Discussions with industry representatives and a network of reputable overseas hotel schools are underway, and we are looking at a number of options that could be adopted for the ITS.

Air Malta has a very important and special relationship with the Maltese tourism sector and remains the most important airline for the industry. The budget also provides for increased funding of the Malta Tourism Authority that now exceeds €40 million. This will enable the Authority to implement the milestones set in its development strategy that go well beyond the typical marketing activities. MTA will continue to prioritize the development of Malta’s air-route network, particularly within

Malta Business Review

the lean months, and maintain its important role of supporting a sustainable relationship with a number of airlines to improve Malta’s connectivity. MTA will indeed be focusing on initiatives that can improve the seasonality spread. This brings me to Air Malta, which, as we all know, is a key contributor to Malta’s tourism success story. The results which were recently announced by Air Malta for its first six months of operation indicate that our national airline is on the track to recovery. Air Malta has a very important and special relationship with the Maltese tourism sector and remains the most important airline for the industry. Government is in talks with potential strategic partners that would provide the necessary clout and leverage to successfully compete in a cut throat market and, therefore, ensure longterm sustainability and growth. Government’s contribution of €300,000 towards the Mediterranean Tourism Foundation is another measure announced in this budget to support the industry. This is in recognition of the Foundation’s efforts to promote Malta as a leader in the Mediterranean, using tourism as a vehicle for peace and stability in the region. The budget contains other measures that will indirectly support operators in the hospitality sector, such as tax cuts that contribute to more disposable earnings which is likely to increase spending, the stipend for ITS students, and many others. A number of initiatives announced in this Budget will make Malta more attractive. There is emphasis on investment, which follow similar measures announced in last year’s budget. The very positive and very optimistic results we have achieved so far, demonstrate that the policies adopted by Government are bearing fruit. The initiatives announced in this year’s Budget support the objectives laid down in the National Tourism policy which is based on a long term vision for sustainable development and growth. MBR

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Malta Business Review

Corporate Interview

Corporate Interview

Malta Business Review

Malta’s Financial Services Industry: What Next? By Martin Vella

Interview with Tonio Zarb Senior Partner at KPMG regarding the 2015 KPMG Biennial Financial Services Conference held at the Grandmaster’s Suite, Hilton Malta, Conference Centre areas, which we often refer to more generically as “international business”. Today Malta has attracted a wide range of operators in the sector and the interest in Malta continues to grow.

We need to have some sort of criteria for judging or reaching the bench marking, against which we can benchmark what success for Malta in this sector means

Malta has built a reputation as a wellregulated and cost competitive jurisdiction. Over the last decade, we have seen the proliferation of service providers that are essential to drive the sector forward. At KPMG, we have witnessed this first hand, as a large percentage of our 280 people have focused on this sector and indeed, we have grown with it. In this industry, Malta has grown not only in numbers but also in the level of sophistication the professionals working in Malta, whether in the accountancy or legal professions or in banking, insurance and investment services, can today more than hold their own, despite the ever increasing complexity of the financial services industry. In this, we have been helped by our ability, particularly in recent years, to attract experienced professionals from other European countries and beyond. We now need to look at how to take this important sector to its next stage of development. MBR: What strategies do we need then in order to sustain a competitive advantage?

Tonio Zarb, Senior Partner, KPMG

What can you tell us about the 2015 KPMG Biennial Financial Services Conference? TZ: This is the sixth edition of our biennial conference, which directly addresses Financial Services. As in previous years, the conference was well attended with over 150 delegates. This year’s conference specifically looked at “what next?” for Malta’s financial services sector. We considered different factors which have a bearing on the success of the industry. With a view to identifying those initiatives that could help us take it to the next level. As in past editions, we also held a number of

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breakout sessions addressing each of the three main sectors, namely banking, insurance and investment services MBR: Concentrating on the thematic of the conference, what is the significance behind ‘What’s next’ and what is next for Malta? TZ: Perhaps first we should consider what we have achieved. Today, the financial services sector has developed into one of the major growth areas for Malta and, together with tourism, is one of the mainstays of the Maltese economy. This is certainly the case if one takes a wider definition of the term financial services to extend it to include other

TZ: Yes, clearly we are competing with other jurisdictions and it is therefore essential that we keep reinventing ourselves. This is why we concentrated on answering the question “what next?” The latest half-yearly report rating financial centres globally, known as the Financial Centres Index, indicates that Malta has moved up three spaces to number 68th in the global list of the 84 centres ranked. The ranking is an aggregate of indices from five key areas, namely business environment, financial sector development, infrastructure factors, human capital, and finally reputation. Though given our small size we have certain inherent limitations that we cannot overcome, this ranking clearly indicates that we can do

better at further enhancing our ability to compete. We believe that it is essential for Malta to identify which of the multiple factors affecting our competitiveness we could, and should, improve and put in place a plan tied to a timeline to achieve these improvements. We should then measure our success or otherwise against those benchmarks which have most relevance for us.

A different judicial system for this sector that would turn what is today a competitive disadvantage for the financial sector, into a competitive advantage An essential element of promoting economic and social development is an independent and impartial judiciary, which applies and enforces laws and regulations impartially, predictably, and efficiently. The financial services sector provides particular challenges to achieving these aims due to the highly specialised nature of the sector. Our Judiciary has to struggle with highly specialised financial services issues with which they will not be familiar - there is a risk that the outcome will not be predictable nor efficient. In addition, Civil Court cases in Malta take an average of two years to obtain judgement in the first instance and it is reasonable to assume that the more complex and speciailsed cases take considerably more time than this. This state of affairs can only hinder Malta’s stake as a viable centre for financial services. On the other hand, it should not be difficult to implement a different judicial system for this sector that would turn what is today a competitive disadvantage into a competitive advantage. The reformed system would see the introduction of dedicated specialised courts to deal with such cases utilising specialist judges. For many years, the public sector (mainly the MFSA) has been the driver for innovation in financial services. Over the years, we have seen the MFSA come up with the strategic thinking for the sector and turn ideas into reality in the shape of new legislation, albeit that on occasion the private sector would have either originated or contributed

significantly in developing the initiative. The private sector then took these initiatives over and marketed them and brought business to our shores. Given the complexity of the current environment, we question whether this model is sustainable for the future and suggest that we need to rethink how we innovate in the financial services space. We believe that if we are to continue to grow the financial services industry, the private sector must take more of a leading role in driving innovation. For this to happen the public sector has to put in place more robust processes to ensure that every idea coming from the private sector is properly considered for implementation within the strategic framework set by government for this sector. One issue that is often quoted by financial services operators is the difficulty they experience in finding the people with the right skills and experience. In reality, this is not a problem specific solely to financial services. It is a recurring problem in the Maltese labour market across industries, and is the result of clear skills mismatches arising due to the accelerated pace of change in supply and demand for specific skills. Not surprisingly, these skills mismatches arise with respect to more qualified or experienced personnel as the availability of such

employees or professionals develops at a much slower pace than the demand. The longer-term structural solution is clearly the responsiveness of the education system including vocational and academic institutions to changes in the world around us. In my view the role of the academic institutions is to turn out graduates who are able to think for themselves and who, moreover, have the ability to re-invent themselves a number of times during their working lives. This is essential as the pace of change in the global economy has accelerated dramatically. As new jobs are being created and others are being discontinued in every decade, it behoves workers and students to recognise that their flexibility and adaptability must match the change process at an industry level. Vocational training is essential to allow those, including graduates, who wish to specialise in a given sector to do so as rapidly as possible. At the same time, Malta has to remain an attractive jurisdiction for professionals from other countries. MBR

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EDITOR’S NOTE

Tonio is the firm’s Senior Partner and also heads KPMG’s advisory services function in Malta. Tonio has extensive experience in financial advisory services, particularly in Transactions and Restructuring. He has led several engagements relating to valuation, debt and equity financing, financial due diligence, financial reviews, and advising on financial structures and strategy. He is the lead partner on a number of financial sector clients and has worked extensively for clients in this sector. Tonio has also advised and assisted various entities in equity and debt transactions including a significant number of corporate entities that have listed securities on the Malta Stock Exchange. He is a past President of the Institute of Financial Service Practitioners and of the Malta Institute of Accountants as well as an excouncil member of the Fédération des Experts Comptables Européens (FEE). He currently sits on the Council of the Malta Institute of Accountants.

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Malta Business Review

Corporate Interview

Corporate Interview

Malta Business Review

Malta’s Financial Services Industry: What Next? By Martin Vella

Interview with Tonio Zarb Senior Partner at KPMG regarding the 2015 KPMG Biennial Financial Services Conference held at the Grandmaster’s Suite, Hilton Malta, Conference Centre areas, which we often refer to more generically as “international business”. Today Malta has attracted a wide range of operators in the sector and the interest in Malta continues to grow.

We need to have some sort of criteria for judging or reaching the bench marking, against which we can benchmark what success for Malta in this sector means

Malta has built a reputation as a wellregulated and cost competitive jurisdiction. Over the last decade, we have seen the proliferation of service providers that are essential to drive the sector forward. At KPMG, we have witnessed this first hand, as a large percentage of our 280 people have focused on this sector and indeed, we have grown with it. In this industry, Malta has grown not only in numbers but also in the level of sophistication the professionals working in Malta, whether in the accountancy or legal professions or in banking, insurance and investment services, can today more than hold their own, despite the ever increasing complexity of the financial services industry. In this, we have been helped by our ability, particularly in recent years, to attract experienced professionals from other European countries and beyond. We now need to look at how to take this important sector to its next stage of development. MBR: What strategies do we need then in order to sustain a competitive advantage?

Tonio Zarb, Senior Partner, KPMG

What can you tell us about the 2015 KPMG Biennial Financial Services Conference? TZ: This is the sixth edition of our biennial conference, which directly addresses Financial Services. As in previous years, the conference was well attended with over 150 delegates. This year’s conference specifically looked at “what next?” for Malta’s financial services sector. We considered different factors which have a bearing on the success of the industry. With a view to identifying those initiatives that could help us take it to the next level. As in past editions, we also held a number of

20

breakout sessions addressing each of the three main sectors, namely banking, insurance and investment services MBR: Concentrating on the thematic of the conference, what is the significance behind ‘What’s next’ and what is next for Malta? TZ: Perhaps first we should consider what we have achieved. Today, the financial services sector has developed into one of the major growth areas for Malta and, together with tourism, is one of the mainstays of the Maltese economy. This is certainly the case if one takes a wider definition of the term financial services to extend it to include other

TZ: Yes, clearly we are competing with other jurisdictions and it is therefore essential that we keep reinventing ourselves. This is why we concentrated on answering the question “what next?” The latest half-yearly report rating financial centres globally, known as the Financial Centres Index, indicates that Malta has moved up three spaces to number 68th in the global list of the 84 centres ranked. The ranking is an aggregate of indices from five key areas, namely business environment, financial sector development, infrastructure factors, human capital, and finally reputation. Though given our small size we have certain inherent limitations that we cannot overcome, this ranking clearly indicates that we can do

better at further enhancing our ability to compete. We believe that it is essential for Malta to identify which of the multiple factors affecting our competitiveness we could, and should, improve and put in place a plan tied to a timeline to achieve these improvements. We should then measure our success or otherwise against those benchmarks which have most relevance for us.

A different judicial system for this sector that would turn what is today a competitive disadvantage for the financial sector, into a competitive advantage An essential element of promoting economic and social development is an independent and impartial judiciary, which applies and enforces laws and regulations impartially, predictably, and efficiently. The financial services sector provides particular challenges to achieving these aims due to the highly specialised nature of the sector. Our Judiciary has to struggle with highly specialised financial services issues with which they will not be familiar - there is a risk that the outcome will not be predictable nor efficient. In addition, Civil Court cases in Malta take an average of two years to obtain judgement in the first instance and it is reasonable to assume that the more complex and speciailsed cases take considerably more time than this. This state of affairs can only hinder Malta’s stake as a viable centre for financial services. On the other hand, it should not be difficult to implement a different judicial system for this sector that would turn what is today a competitive disadvantage into a competitive advantage. The reformed system would see the introduction of dedicated specialised courts to deal with such cases utilising specialist judges. For many years, the public sector (mainly the MFSA) has been the driver for innovation in financial services. Over the years, we have seen the MFSA come up with the strategic thinking for the sector and turn ideas into reality in the shape of new legislation, albeit that on occasion the private sector would have either originated or contributed

significantly in developing the initiative. The private sector then took these initiatives over and marketed them and brought business to our shores. Given the complexity of the current environment, we question whether this model is sustainable for the future and suggest that we need to rethink how we innovate in the financial services space. We believe that if we are to continue to grow the financial services industry, the private sector must take more of a leading role in driving innovation. For this to happen the public sector has to put in place more robust processes to ensure that every idea coming from the private sector is properly considered for implementation within the strategic framework set by government for this sector. One issue that is often quoted by financial services operators is the difficulty they experience in finding the people with the right skills and experience. In reality, this is not a problem specific solely to financial services. It is a recurring problem in the Maltese labour market across industries, and is the result of clear skills mismatches arising due to the accelerated pace of change in supply and demand for specific skills. Not surprisingly, these skills mismatches arise with respect to more qualified or experienced personnel as the availability of such

employees or professionals develops at a much slower pace than the demand. The longer-term structural solution is clearly the responsiveness of the education system including vocational and academic institutions to changes in the world around us. In my view the role of the academic institutions is to turn out graduates who are able to think for themselves and who, moreover, have the ability to re-invent themselves a number of times during their working lives. This is essential as the pace of change in the global economy has accelerated dramatically. As new jobs are being created and others are being discontinued in every decade, it behoves workers and students to recognise that their flexibility and adaptability must match the change process at an industry level. Vocational training is essential to allow those, including graduates, who wish to specialise in a given sector to do so as rapidly as possible. At the same time, Malta has to remain an attractive jurisdiction for professionals from other countries. MBR

All Rights Reserved | © Copyright 2015

EDITOR’S NOTE

Tonio is the firm’s Senior Partner and also heads KPMG’s advisory services function in Malta. Tonio has extensive experience in financial advisory services, particularly in Transactions and Restructuring. He has led several engagements relating to valuation, debt and equity financing, financial due diligence, financial reviews, and advising on financial structures and strategy. He is the lead partner on a number of financial sector clients and has worked extensively for clients in this sector. Tonio has also advised and assisted various entities in equity and debt transactions including a significant number of corporate entities that have listed securities on the Malta Stock Exchange. He is a past President of the Institute of Financial Service Practitioners and of the Malta Institute of Accountants as well as an excouncil member of the Fédération des Experts Comptables Européens (FEE). He currently sits on the Council of the Malta Institute of Accountants.

www.maltabusinessreview.net

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Malta Business Review

ANNIVERSARY

Snowhite Laundry’s 4,000 square metre dedicated washing-facility sets the Malta standard for tailor-made washes.

o celebrate 60 th ann t t e i d y l i a d o il iversa k 0 0 0 , ry 20

Modern state-of-the-art computerised tunnel-washers are at the centre of maintaining linen-supply to Malta’s hospitality industry Investing in state-of-the-art laundry equipment is never to be taken lightly, especially when it’s tunnel washers that can carry Malta’s entire hospitality industry linen-usage. On their 60th anniversary, Snowhite Laundry’s executive directors explain how they have built a production and delivery system that is upholding a €1.5 billion tourism industry. With their Lavatec continuous batch tunnel washing system (CBW) Snowhite Laundry’s CEO Wesley Debono says that, “No stone is left unturned, basing decisions on hard data along with simple logic in assessing client washes is what drives us. As a trained accounting professional my focus is to make sure we deliver the right wash, at the right quality level, and delivered exactly when needed.” The laundry setup can load an average of 20 tonnes – daily going up to 27 tonnes at peak time. Snowhite currently have two computerised tunnel washers delivering immaculate washes; every day of the week. “The system from Lavatec Laundry Technology is a giant. More than that, it represented a giant step for Snowhite and Malta into uncharted territory. In 1995 Snowhite where the first laundry in Malta to introduce tunnelwashing technology and it paid.” Director Alex Aloisio says, “Wesley’s analysis was built on hard numbers and real-user insights. We have taken a leap forward by expanding the family team, Wesley is a testament to that in the third generation.” Mr. Aloisio says that the fully automated Lavatec CBW system offers consistent highquality along with high volume. “Once the 22

laundry is loaded into the tunnel, it’s not touched until it comes out of the dryers at 50 Kg every 2 minutes from each tunnel washer. “Price was not the primary driver,” Charles Schembri, the company Chairman, asserts; “No doubt it was a factor, but once a tunnel became a viable option, our nature was to probe much deeper. Anytime we were considering a significant purchase, the Lavatec was our reference point. Client comments regarding reliability, timely service and quality washing were the strong points with me, that is our promise as a company. That is what our brand stands for. We are the benchmark now.” Comparative data on water and energy were key items says Schembri, “Being a small island water usage is always an issue, but we use some of the purest, through a combination of water softeners and reverse-osmosis systems. Water is the key ingredient in a laundry.” Thanks to Lavatec technology, Snowhite Laundry started realising overall laundry processing sustainability from the first day. Monthly statements soon showed major improvements in water usage and utilities, plus significant alignments on chemicals. Mr. Aloisio says every detail of production and servicing needs to be viewed with an open mind, “Ninety-nine percent of all hospitality linens are processed through the tunnel system, which operates at least ten hours a day, six days a week, with sometimes an additional shift on Sundays. Two stand-alone machine lines are used for specific requirements, and we have a separate system for restaurants, they need a very particular kind of wash, all-inall the whole system is a massive workhorse, we ourselves are sometimes amazed by its

capacity. Three ironing lines and towel folders support the above combination output.” Debono also notes that, “since I started working here, we have increased processing over 100%. The tunnel system has allowed us to handle this growth. The CBWs are running at about 85%. We can still increase output if need be. We’ve grown with our facility over the years, with significant incremental capital investment, to support our services. We have managed to extend linen life, enhance bacteria control and maintain customer service. It’s a delicate balancing act.” Current Chairman and business-driver Mr. Schembri says, “We’ve found many ways in which this system contributes to critical quality standards, daily operational efficiencies and overall facility savings, all of which we share with our hospitality clients. There are days in Summer when we can really make use of this incredible technology, and our team of 130 specially-trained personnel can enjoy the cutting-edge of quality and volume. It teaches us how to be our best. That’s what we aimed for over 20 years ago when we first brought these systems to the Islands, and now it’s a joy to see them working to capacity, both of them. After over 20 years observing Lavatec tunnel performance, I can truly say it was a wise investment. We can depend on it. That’s our brand. Delivery, 100%, every day.” Mr. Aloisio concludes, “We didn’t always dry our clothes with an industrial process, the sun and wind did the job just fine, but we couldn’t even think about that nowadays, we’ve got tonnes a day running through the plant and out to customers, we’d need an area the size of Gozo to be able to do that.” MBR


Issue 15 Pull-and-keep Supplement

BIB

Special Feature Malta’s Best IN BUSINESS

Awards

Verdala Palace, Buskett, Rabat

Friday 13th November, 2015

2015


Malta Business Review

SPECIAL FEATURE: MALTA’S BIB AWARDS

Keith Mallia Milanes and Fernando Docampo, MAPFRE Middlesea Assistant General Managers receiving the prize from Julian Goffin from Western Union Business Solutions

MAPFRE Middlesea p.l.c. is a composite insurance company listed on the Malta Stock Exchange and operating since 1981. It is a market leader and it enjoys a substantial share of the highly competitive general insurance market in Malta. MAPFRE Middlesea offers an extensive range of quality and flexible products aimed at both personal and commercial protection. MAPFRE Middlesea is part of MAPFRE , a global group operating in 49 countries across five continents. MAPFRE employs more than 38,000 employees and has over 29 million clients around the world. MAPFRE Middlesea has two subsidiaries MSV Life p.l.c., which is 50% owned by BOV and is the market leader in Life assurance in Malta, and Middlesea Assist, which is the Assistance company providing roadside assistance, home emergency services, travel assistance services , claims notification and other services on a 24/7 basis. MAPFRE Middlesea p.l.c. (C-5553) is authorised by the Malta Financial Services Authority to carry on both Long Term and General Business under the Insurance Business Act, 1998. Theresa Hoban and Keith Mallia Milanes

24

www.middlesea.com


SPECIAL FEATURE: MALTA’S BIB AWARDS

Malta Business Review

Customers, People, Community and Shareholders MAPFRE Middlesea Overall Winners of Malta Business Awards 2015 By Martin Vella MAPFRE Middlesea plc have been conferred with the high-status Malta’s Best-in-Business Insurance Company 2015 and also won the most prestigious Malta’s Best-in-Business Overall Winner during Malta’s BIB Awards. Receiving the awards on behalf of MAPFRE Middlesea, Fernando Docampo, together with Keith Mallia Milanes, Assistant General Managers, said that the award was won because of the performance and contributions of MAPFRE Middlesea toward the socio-economic growth and development. MBR: Do you agree that being nominated winning industry awards helps you stand from your competitors and is a way to recognition for yourself, your business your company website?

and out gain and

FD: Definitely - Corporate awards are beneficial for all stakeholders – employees, clients, intermediaries and shareholders. Awards represent a source of credibility for our image and brand. Receiving recognition for the achievements made by the company provides us with the motivation to strive further, as it helps employees feel appreciated and makes them proud of the company they work for. Awards also offer visibility and differentiation from our competitors, helping us to stand out in the market. KMM: It also serves as a testimonial for our shareholders, investors and potential customers who would only willing be trust reputable and reliable companies. MBR: And do you believe such awards as Malta’s BIB Awards bring you prestige and more traffic, and they enhance your credibility as a business? KMM: The media exposure afforded by such awards is beneficial in the ways explained earlier which at the same time attracts more traffic and demand for our products and services. MBR: Were you surprised to hear the show hosts call and hail MAPFRE Middlesea as Malta’s Best-in-Business Insurance Company 2015 and also the most prestigious Malta’s Best-in-Business Overall Winner 2105? KMM: The management at MAPFRE Middlesea was confident that the company could win. In the past year, the company went through a rebranding process that helped strengthen further the company’s position and that of its intermediaries in the domestic market. FD: When Middlesea became part of the MAPFRE group, it joined a successful global company – the first insurance company in Malta to do so. MAPFRE is the leader in the Spanish insurance market and it is the number

one multinational insurer in Latin America. MAPFRE is also one of the ten largest European insurance groups and among the top 20 motor insurance companies in the United States.

The corporate strategy of the MAPFRE Group and of MAPFRE Middlesea is shared with and at all levels of the company encouraging everybody’s participation and involvement MBR: What’s the difference between a good company and a fantastic one? FD: The innovative products that a company offers and the level of service it provides to its clients are some of the basic pillars that distinguish one company from another. A good company provides a good service to its customers, but a fantastic one offers more than what is expected. It constantly strives to offer innovative products to its targeted markets, keeping customers and competitors on edge about what’s next. A successful company pursues excellence and strives to keep on improving and performing better whilst keeping focus the customer. MBR: What do you think were the main factors that led MAPFRE Middlesea to this success, especially winning the Overall Winner as Malta’s Best-in-Business company of the year? KMM: MAPFRE Middlesea has always aimed and worked to be the leader in its lines of business. In the past couple of years, the company restructured its commercial operations and opened two regional offices – one in Luqa and one in Birkirkara, offering more convenience to customers. It has also recently new and innovative products including Max Protect, Wise Protect and MotorMax. MAPFRE Middlesea was the first domestic insurance company offering 24/7 assistance services through its Contact Centre which include roadside assistance in Malta and

Europe, home emergency services, an assistance helpline for travel insurance policy holders and a claim notification service. The company also rewards customer loyalty through its network of partner retail outlets which provide discounts to MAPFRE Middlesea policy holders. In addition to continuous product innovation and business growth, the company prides itself with its Corporate Social Responsibility programme that included a road safety campaign and a healthy living drive for school children. MBR: What are some ways that MAPFRE Middlesea focuses on team development as part of a winning-strategy? FD: The corporate strategy of the MAPFRE Group and of MAPFRE Middlesea is shared with and at all levels of the company encouraging everybody’s participation and involvement. This instills a sense of belonging and ownership with all the company’s objectives and initiatives. This methodology develops and enhances teamwork with a winning strategy. MBR: What do you love here—and what do you dislike?

about

working

KMM: The team at MAPFRE Middlesea is made up of great, committed and highly talented people and employees are well engaged with the company. The management ensures that employees are satisfied with their working environment and rewards them for their hard work and performance whilst supporting and encouraging their personal development. MBR: What would your employees say are the top three reasons they love working for MAPFRE Middlesea? KMM: The MAPFRE brand, the potential for personal and career development, and the respect and recognition they are rewarded with. MBR

All Rights Reserved | © Copyright 2015

www.maltabusinessreview.net

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Malta Business Review

SPECIAL FEATURE: MALTA’S BIB AWARDS

Design, Build & Deliver Value By Sean Cassar

After winning Malta’s Best Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award 2015, Sean Cassar, Managing Director and Lead Designer at Design HUB Malta, confirms that an increased amount of attention was shone on Design HUB Malta as a company and the services provided within. A few months back Malta’s Best Entrepreneur Awards were directed to the entrepreneur as an individual. In this special recollection, Sean acknowledges the significance why Malta’s Best-In-Business Awards celebrates the company as an entity and the standard of products or services being provided.

Dr. Christian Tonna, Miss Nicole Hooper, Miss Amanda Scott, Mr. Sean Cassar, Mrs. Jane Cassar, Mr. Lahcene Merzoug, Miss Maria Moller

As the event took place it was apparent that most nominees offered a high level of B2B / B2C creativity, value and innovation. Those companies that stood out from the rest obviously got awarded for it. I feel these awards help channel the right energy and influence start-up companies to strive in offering a unique and competitive approach in their particular market. At the same time encouragement and accreditation is directly fuelled into companies being nominated for these awards. From my own personal experience, the appreciation and positive feedback I got from people for just being nominated was overwhelming, let alone the surprising award I received at the end of the day.

Encouragement and accreditation is directly fuelled into companies being nominated for these awards It was a great honour to receive the prestigious Chairman’s Value Award by Her Excellency, The President of Malta Marie Louise

26

Colerio Preca. It was my first time meeting the President and Her Excellency was as warm, fascinating and humble as I would have expected. I would like to personally thank Her Excellency for presenting this award to me and for all the hard work she does for us and for our nation. I will make every effort and look forward to growing Design HUB Malta to compete not only on a local market but represent Malta on an international level. I would also like to thank the Chairman and panel of judges for taking their time to analyse my company and the services we offer in depth. I am proud to have received this awards from an inspirationally successful panel. This award helps me take a step back and have a birds eye view on what I have been doing for the last eight years. Moreover, it makes me appreciate all the support and co-operation I had from fellow tradesmen, associates and clients which in turn, re-strengthens the ties and confidence, built over the years. Looking to the future, I feel this award may also give confidence to potential future clients, associates and tradesmen working directly with Design Hub. From a creative point of view I also feel a comforting pressure to up my game and be more and more creative,


SPECIAL FEATURE: MALTA’S BIB AWARDS

Mr. Sean Cassar an d Her Excellency The Pre

sident of Malta Marie

Malta Business Review

Louise Colerio Preca

Design HUB Malta offers an exclusive, highlypersonalised interior and exterior design service for a discerning clientele that aspires to elevate the standards of their living and work spaces. Founded in 2014 by owner, managing director and leaddesigner Sean Cassar, the firm was set up with the vision of delivering quality and expertise to its residential and commercial clients. For commercial, packages the companie offers a range of specialised design packages that are tailored for a wide variety of business concerns, ranging from corporate branding, commercial outlet designs, office design and custom furniture, to full hotel designs, nightclubs and restaurants among others. Design HUB Malta continuously exceeds its clients’ expectations. Steered by varied clients’ aspirations, as well as their widespread experiences, the firm designs interiors which allow clients to fully express what they are about and what holds meaning to them. Over the years, Design HUB Malta has built strong relationships with every one of its clients, giving the opportunity to be involved closely with them at several important stages of their life; from creating that once-in-a-lifetime wedding, to designing their very first home and re-styling it again in the future. www.designhubmalta.com.mt

to propose different concepts and alternative designs, allocating space as well and ergonomically possible. On a personal level, I seriously love my job and feel blessed to be able to give back to clients. In this way I can give them a more functional and aesthetically pleasing life to live in, whether at home, office or commercial spaces.

This award helps me take a step back and have a birds eye view on what I have been doing for the last eight years Over the years I have grown an appetite for commercial spaces, the likes of restaurants and Hotels. In my design strategy, I put increased amount of emphasis towards creating a unique aura to potential clients who nowadays crave to experience new designs and concepts either in Hotels or restaurants. One can visit local restaurants I have designed, ‘Salt’, ‘Tosca’ or ‘Oriental Garden’ to get an idea of how a space can be revamped to directly savour the very important brand identity and cuisine / menu being provided. I look forward to having

the opportunity for more of these type of projects and in tandem really enjoying working on current projects in the pipe line. From what I have seen and experienced to date, Malta’s Best-InBusiness awards is a great vehicle to help steer both established companies and start-ups through yearly market changes and existing competitive standards. It is apparent that it brings a lot of courage and drive to entrepreneurs who have a vision within their own business plan. As a result I can imagine other entrepreneurs getting influenced and indirectly being urged to make an increased effort in client satisfaction and general brand recognition. The vast selection of awards being issued by the panel of judges makes up a healthy all round selection of categories in the local business scene. From catering to advocacy there was always a company that stood out at the event. I would like to also congratulate all the nominees and winners for this year’s very successful event, and hope to congratulate you all personally. I am sure 2016 will bring another very organised and memorable celebration for the Best in Business awards. You never know you may be taken by surprise and nominated as I have been MBR fortunate to experience.

www.maltabusinessreview.net

27


Malta Business Review

SPECIAL FEATURE: MALTA’S BIB AWARDS

Leading in Mary Ann Sant

er

ra Sant Fourni

Fournier & Ve

Arbenita Halimi, Maite Fernandez, Sean Azzopardi, Vera Sant Fournier, Ricardo Lopez

Anton Cristina & Vera Sant Fournier Ricardo Lopez, Andrea Sanz, Angel Lopez

MBR: How do you think such Awards will celebrate B2B/B2C creativity and innovation, and best practice at the workplace?

tina

Vera Sant Fournier & Anton Cris

MBR: How did you feel after being called to receive Malta’s Best-in-Business Design Company Award 2015?

Vera Sant Fo u

rnier & Colin

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VSF: Such events give exposure and bring to the spotlight various organisations in the relevant categories, by doing so there is, one could say, the sharing of knowledge in the B2B industry. We all learnt more about one another that night, and of course one had the option of taking it a step further and presenting themselves, for further business via netwroking. Our studio discovered a few companies we would like to learn more of and possibly collaborate with in the future. With regards to B2C, having such an award gives the consumer the assurance that he is dealing with a business which is recognised for its high standards, in a nutshell both aspects are rewarded with further knowledge and exposure.

Fitz

VSF: We all held hands in unity round our table, as we waited to hear who the winner was, we also approached the centre stage as a team,


SPECIAL FEATURE: MALTA’S BIB AWARDS

Malta Business Review

the Right Direction

By Martin Vella

With over 500 professionals and executives flocking to Verdala Palace in Buskett for Malta’s Best-in-Business Awards 2015, it did not cross Vera Sant Fournier’s mind that by the end of the gala award dinner, those gathered would congratulate and celebrate her company after being bestowed Malta’s Best-in-Business Design Company. It was a night to remember for Vera and her team, as the judges recognised Vera’s new talent, emerging business, and her efforts to exhibit design excellence, acclaiming Vera Sant Fournier Design Studio for having pushed forward over the last twelve months, and rewarding her outstanding design contributions over more established players.

this demonstrated our unity a team, as one, as a family, who share the same love and passion for design. Once we all heard my name being called out, the name which has now become a brand, we where ecstatic. I felt immense joy and pride, I was also very proud to walk together with my team to collect the trophy. As Colin Fritz said we where “the happy bunch, the designers”. MBR: What impact does winning an Award have on you and your organisation? VSF: It confirms to us what we believed in, it validates our years of hard work, constant dedication and optimism. Most importantly, as mentioned earlier, it shows us that not only do we strongly believe in ourselves, our level of service and standard, but that other prominent parties believe in us too, that our years of work have not gone unnoticed. MBR: The very fact that you were nominated and then win the highly competitive Design Company Award must demonstrate how your company has had a significant impact on the business and made a personal contribution to a project or business as a whole? What are your comments about this? VSF: We despise repetition, our duty is to extract who the individual is, what his requirements are, what he loves, what he hates (despises even) what his lifestyle is, and after we extract all this information we create his very own personal space, designed around him as as individual human being. We have created stunning homes, left people in awe and most importantly, we have made people very happy with the results. We believe there is much more to interior design and have just recently launched Vera Sant Fournier - Green Design, our duty is to educate the public on what is the next approach to take for their home and businesses, there are many innovative solutions which reduce our C02 impact on the environment and also reduce our energy consumption, we want to lead people in the right direction for the future, it is a moral duty.

We have already saved business’s a substantial amount of money by giving the correct recommendation of products. We also just attended the Monaco Super Yacht Show last September, our participation in one of the the most prestigious Super Yacht events in the world is in connection with the recently launched Vera Sant Fournier - Yacht Interiors. Malta is a fantastic location for yacht & super yacht refits, we have good trades men and favorable berthing taxes, not to mention the fabulous weather, we have the correct suppliers, and close to nothing is impossible from an interior point of view, of course we work closely with our naval architect. In view of the above, yes, we have contributed and shall continue to contribute locally and overseas towards the economy with what we do best; Design.

We all held hands in unity round our table, as we waited to hear who the winner was, we also approached the centre stage as a team MBR: What are your impressions of this prestigious event and why is it significant to have such an event recognising best businesses? VSF: The event was very well organised, the location majestic. Hat’s off to the organisers. Such events are important to expose new and upcoming trades and business’s and to recognise the ones who have been operating for a longer span of time and placing them with the top leaders in the industry. MBR: How well was the activity tailored to an identified business need, target audience and business environment? VSF: I must say that the judging panel was well chosen, this gave added value to the award and the winners, judges such as Chev.Maurice Mizzi prove that the winners where chosen by

prominent business men who know and recognise talent and quality when they see it. Of course this confirms that nominees and most of all the winners are leaders in their field. Both showing quality in the business world and to the consumer. MBR: What would you say to anyone thinking of entering the Awards for 2016? VSF: If you are nominated and believe in your quality, standard & most importantly, what your organisation stands for, then yes, go for it. It is an opportunity to further evolve your status in the business world. MBR: As a winning company, how is Vera Sant Fournier – Interior Design Studio innovative, progressive and most importantly profitable? VSF: Each idea is studied and evolved, and if it feels right, then it probably is. We always thrive to keep ten steps ahead and work on what we truly believe in to be correct. We invest in travel and exposure to new materials and approaches. This makes us progressive and always innovative. This helps us deliver the latest trends to our projects. Pay peanuts get monkeys, our time has value, our talents too, and yes quality costs money, let’s face it, and if one cannot see that then we would take no offence and simply move on. We would rather focus on say 15 projects a year valued accordingly, rather then 30 projects a year. Its quality and not quantity. The fact that we focus on delivering this studio philosophy makes us a business with its head on its shoulders, clients recognise this and understand that only the best will do for their home or their business - they are ultimately investing in a high standard of quality for them and their family. This approach also gives us the time to truly go out of our way for our clients, this is the true personalised and custom tailored approach. All Rights Reserved | © Copyright 2015

MBR

Vera’s work is known for its flowing direction, perfectly allocated colour schemes and luxury finishes. ”Coming from a family of artists and creatives, it was only natural for Vera to move into design. Her father, being an art connoisseur, exposed Vera to a life of seeking inspiration. A nature lover, optimist and a little eccentric, Vera cannot live without those hours alone to get her creative cap on. If Vera weren’t an interior designer, she would be running her ever so successful art gallery in New York. The team at Vera Sant Fournier- Interior Design is totally committed to delivering an excellent level of service, which is believed to be the hallmark of the studio and reputation. Towards the end of 2015, Vera Sant Fournier - Interior Design studio sees the opening of the new design studio & flagship store in, Malta. Incorporating luxury items for the home, supporting local talent by showcasing their works, unique and handmade items such as garments and home accessories, fine art, collectables and exquisite antique. Vera Sant Fournier - Interior Design Studio has now launched Yacht & Super Yacht Interior Design, as well as event Décor, specialising in high end wedding decor for both locally and overseas clients. www.verasantfournier.com

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Malta Business Review

SPECIAL FEATURE: MALTA’S BIB AWARDS

Passion, Motivati In a league of its own, Malta’s Best-in-Business Awards honours local superlative companies who have established and sustained a successful and profitable business. Charlon Scicluna, General Manager at Credorax Bank, was bestowed Malta’s Best-in-Business Finance Company Award. In this interview he tells us why this award is a prominent high-status mark of success that companies and entrepreneurs aspire to attain, while it serves as a testament to all the hard work, dedication and ambition of the Credorax Global team. MBR: Do you agree that being nominated and winning industry awards helps you stand out from your competitors and is a way to gain recognition for yourself, your business and your company website? CS: Of course I agree. We see being nominated and winning an industry award as a great honour. It is validation that we are applying the right strategies and achieving our goals in a positive, meaningful way. It’s recognition of our contribution to the entire ecosystem, including payments, fintech, e-commerce and Malta’s transformation into a financial hub. It means a lot to all of us within Credorax, as well as our partners and customers and serves as a testament to all the hard work, dedication and ambition we put into this company. As the saying goes, “Champions are not born; they are made.” Credorax started life as a tech company in 2008, in the midst of the financial crisis. But we quickly saw an opportunity to fundamentally change the landscape of traditional merchant acquiring by using the company’s technology assets and acumen to address the specific needs of online merchants. Since that time, we have constantly optimized our service to ensure that we meet the needs of not only the current market, but that of the future as well. And now we have evolved into Credorax Bank Ltd., a global merchant acquiring bank specializing in cross-border e-commerce. We received our banking licence from the Malta Financial Services Authority recently, marking us as one of the very first companies to evolve from a FinTech company into a Pan-European Bank. We are very proud of the awards and honours we have achieved, because we have worked very hard for them. Credorax now

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holds licences in Europe, the US and Japan, allowing any merchant to participate in the global e-commerce landscape. We have secured over $100 million in financing from investors in Japan, Silicon Valley and all over the world. We have offices in Valletta, Amsterdam, London, Tel Aviv, Tokyo, Boston and Atlanta, and over 240 employees from over 10 countries. We work with more than 100 partners and 1,000 merchants worldwide – and we just keep growing!

We have secured over $100 million in financing from investors in Japan, Silicon Valley and all over the world MBR: And do you believe such awards as Malta’s BIB Awards bring you prestige and more traffic, and they enhance your credibility as a business? CS: Very much so. Credorax has a special relationship with Malta. There’s no doubt that Malta set the stage for Credorax to evolve into the unique and successful Bank that it is today, by giving the company a home and the opportunity to grow as a business and expand internationally, and have seen that the BIB award captures the interest of potential partners, investors and clients in a very positive way. As for credibility, what matters the most to us is that our customers and partners are happy and satisfied with the service we provide. We also get positive feedback from our partners about our outstanding customer service. This is what elevates us to a higher level. MBR: Were you surprised to hear the show

hosts call and hail Credorax as Best-in-Business Finance Company 2015?

Malta’s Award

CS: I was thrilled! People generally do not like to say that they deserved an award, but I really believe we did. Credorax held true to its vision to become a global merchant acquiring bank that could empower any merchant to profit from global e-commerce. We drew a line in the sand, targeting 2015 as the year to make it happen, and that is just what we did. MBR: What do you think were the main factors that led Credorax to this success? CS: It is simple: we overcame regulatory, cultural and technological challenges that have until now stymied the growth of crossborder e-commerce. We began by securing as many financial licences as possible around the world. Because we have passported our license in 32 EU and EEA countries, our online merchant customers are able to process and settle payments in these locations as domestic transactions. This results in drastically reduced international banking and interchange fees and a higher rate of approved transactions. In addition, through a combination of physical presence and in-country expertise, we understand the local customs, languages and regulations of each of these countries, as well as the appropriate risk and fraud management considerations. As a technology company, we have used our expertise to ease the process and transform the often outdated and arcane world of payments. Our team developed ePower, a platform that enables merchants and


SPECIAL FEATURE: MALTA’S BIB AWARDS

ion

&

Malta Business Review

Ambition

By Martin Vella

payment service providers to conduct all of their online payments business through one source, vs. fragmented solutions dispersed in different “silo” global regions. Finally, we have worked hard to address the needs of all merchants, from smallest to largest. For small merchants we level the playing field, making it effortless and affordable for them to compete globally against ‘behemoth’ players. For large brands, Credorax and its partners offer a complete e-commerce business package for cross-border activities, covering everything from supply chain to processing.

Credorax held true to its vision to become a global merchant acquiring bank that could empower any merchant to profit from global e-commerce

Charlon Scicluna, Owen Busuttil, Eleanor Busuttil, David Buttigieg, Victoria Grima, Charles Cassar, Dagmar Bjornsdottir, Freddie Richardson, Caroline Magro and David Farrugia

MBR: What would your employees say are the top three reasons they love working for Credorax? CS: You should ask them! But based on my experience and the feedback we have received, I believe these are the top three reasons: -

There is a very positive work environment within the company, from the executive suite on down. All employees are valued for their professional and personal skills, and always encouraged to thrive within the organisation. It is also very important to us that all departments and offices communicate with each other.

-

Employees have equal opportunities to climb up the ladder, and as we invest in developing and training them, they see a future within the organisation as we grow both locally and globally. I think this is a very important aspect, because employees often get frustrated when they don’t see any potential for growth.

- It’s never boring! We are all very passionate, motivated, ambitious, and dedicated to the company. MBR

Caroline Magro, Charles Cassar, Victoria Grima, Freddie Richardson and Eleanor Busuttil, David Buttigieg, David Farrugia, Charlon Scicluna and Owen Busuttil

‘Founded in 2008 by technology experts, Cedorax is a pioneerin the payments industry, specialising in eCommerce and mCommerce, whilst combining acquiring expertise with nextGen technology. Licensed by the MFSA as a Credit Institution and a principle memeber of VISA, MasterCard and UnionPay, Credorax is able to conduct business in 32 EU and EAA countries. Together with licences in Japan and the USA, Credorax offers Financial Institutions, Payment Service Providers (PSPs), Independent Sales Organisations (ISOs) and eCommerce merchants with efficient, automated and cost-effective acquiring services designed to maximise business growth and success. Credroax’s Smart Acquiring solution is built from the ground up to transcend many of the chalenges faced by traditional acquirers forced to rely on legacy platforms.’ www.credorax.com

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Malta Business Review

SPECIAL FEATURE: MALTA’S BIB AWARDS

Karen Gardner, Andrew Gardner, Deborah Schembri, Carmel Schembri, Anthony Pace, Josephine Pace and members from STMM team

MBR: How does it feel to win two prestigious awards during Malta’s BIB Awards, one as Malta’s Best-in-Business Trust & Fiduciary Company, and the other for Malta’s Best-inBusiness Pension Provider Company? DS: I am honoured that STMM won these two prestigious awards during Malta’s BIB Awards 2015. STMM primarily provides pensions solutions and pensions administration services to international clients. The company is registered as a Retirement Scheme Administrator with the Malta Financial Services Authority. It is also authorised to act as trustee or co-trustee to provide fiduciary services in terms of the Trusts and Trustees Act. As you correctly point out, the two significant awards won are, Malta’s Best in Business Pensions Provider Award and Malta’s Best in Business Trust and Fiduciary Company Award. This meaningfully recognises excellence and outstanding achievement in STMM’s two main responsibilities: 1. Provision of pensions solutions and pensions administration services to members. 2.

Acting as trustees for the pensions schemes that we administer, where as trustees we owe fiduciary duties to all scheme members.

One is delighted with such outcome. This is the result of the hard work contributed by all employees and co-directors and the support by external stakeholders. I take the opportunity to thank them all. I dedicate this achievement to all

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employees. Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower. I would also like to thank MBR Publications Limited and the judges in organising this prominent event.

This is a reflection of the Company’s mission, goals and projected success. Everybody has a right to succeed and success should be with ethics.

MBR: STM Malta Trust and Company Management Limited were one of two companies that won two separate and highly acclaimed awards. What does this mean to you and also to your company?

MBR: What do you think were the main reasons behind this latest success for STM Malta Trust and Company Management Limited?

DS: On a personal level it is very satisfactory since this is an appreciation by industry peers of one’s good work, more so when we know that the BIB awards recognise innovation, vision and outstanding achievement. At a company level winning awards is a great source of credibility to partners, clients and investors. They are also a big motivator internally making staff proud to be part of the business. Undergoing the judging process allows you to take a step back and see how much you have accomplished and motivate the team to carry on building towards the future. Strength and growth come only through continuous effort and struggle. MBR: How does winning two awards during Malta’s BIB Awards support the company’s mission, goals and projected success? DS: Our mission statement is to provide a reliable and outstanding service to meet our customers present and future needs. Our vision statement is reaching a wider-spectrum of both national and international potential pensioners. The BIB awards acknowledge excellent work ethics and also recognise business excellence.

DS: Over the past four years the Company registered exceptional growth and performance. This is only possible by focusing on: • Senior leadership, governance and societal responsibilities. • Strategy development and strategy implementation. • Voice of the customer and customer engagement. • Measurement, analysis and knowledge management. • Workforce environment and workforce engagement. • Work processes and operational effectiveness. An essential aspect of creativity is not being afraid to fall. MBR: Do you believe that the application of best practices from diverse sources to create fresh solutions was a main driver why you won these two awards? DS: Yes I believe the application of best practices from diverse sources to create fresh solutions was a main driver in winning these two


SPECIAL FEATURE: MALTA’S BIB AWARDS

Strength

&

Malta Business Review

Growth By Martin Vella

With a Customer-focused excellence, positive outstanding process, leadership and governance system results, as well as overall market and financial performance, it was no surprise that STM Malta Trust and Company Management Limited (STMM) won two highly acclaimed awards during Malta’s BIB Awards. We interview Deborah Schembri, Managing Director, to absorb the reasons behind this phenomenal success.

awards. Innovation is a significant positive change. That change can apply to products and processes, or it can apply to people. The creation of international pension plans in Malta became a possibility fairly recently so one would also be contributing in shaping the pensions industry locally. MBR: As a winning company, how is STM Malta Trust and Company Management Limited innovative, progressive and most importantly profitable? DS: Our core competencies can be described in three words: knowledge, innovation and excellent service. One should develop strategic objectives and action plans, implement them, change them if circumstances require and measure progress. We focus on three key aspects in strategic planning: • • •

Andrew Gardner, Deborah Schembri and Martin Vella

Customer-focused excellence. Operational performance improvement and innovation. Organisation learning and learning by workforce members.

MALTA TRUST & COMPANY MANAGEMENT LIMITED.

The above focus leads to positive and outstanding process and products results, customer-focused results, work-force results, leadership and governance system results, as well as overall market and financial performance. The duty on STMM as a winning company is to maintain best practices at all levels. Success is not final, failure is not fatal, it is the courage to continue that counts. All Rights Reserved | © Copyright 2015

MBR

m

STMM tea

BA(Hons) Accty., Dip. Tax., FIA, CPA, DipPMI, MIM, MBA (Henley) Deborah has twenty years experience in the financial services, gaming and hospitality industries. In her various senior managerial roles she had formulated new strategic directions and implemented the necessary changes. She has been instrumental in setting up STM Malta. She is a Certified Public Accountant, holds a Masters in Business Administration from Henley Management College and she holds a Diploma in Retirement Provision pursued with the UK Pensions Management Institute. She is the only Maltese resident holding such a qualification in pensions. She is a Fellow Member of the Malta Institute of Accountants, and a Member of the Malta Institute of Taxation, Malta Institute of Management, Institute of Financial Services Practitioners and Pension Management Institute UK. Also she has been nominated and then being one of the four finalists in the Commonwealth Women Entrepreneur of the Year 2015. www.stmgroupplc.com

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Malta Business Review

SPECIAL FEATURE: MALTA’S BIB AWARDS

All About People By George Carol

Dakar Software Systems were declared Malta’s Best-in-Business ICT Company 2015 during the BIB Awards. David Schranz, Managing Director, tells us that becoming an award winning does not only elevate a company’s status, but also enhances team cohesiveness. He says that being recognised as the best in ICT Company, gives customers the guarantee that they will be or are working with a reputable, trustworthy, professional company.

MBR: What motivated you to enter Malta’s Best-in-Business Awards 2015? DS: Various factors motivated me to enter Malta’s BIB awards due to the fact that competing and hopefully winning an award can have numerous business benefits. From a human resources point of view, I felt that this would be a way to acknowledge the hard work and achievements of Dakar’s employees as the success of any company is a team effort. I felt it would give the entire team an added reason to be proud of working with Dakar. I also felt that winning such a prestigious award would also validate Dakar’s status as a professional employer thus attracting the right talent to help push our business forward. Being part of the Malta BIB awards, gives Dakar’s image, credibility as a third party’s endorsement which in turn acts as a seal of approval. It also provides the opportunity for additional company marketing due to the fact that the process itself helps improve brand awareness and promotes Dakar to new potential customers. I felt that participation would open doors to new networking opportunities and penetrate into new markets. Finally, entering a business award is an opportunity to carry out internal analyses, to view Dakar from different perspectives as it enables you to compare yourself with your competitors. I believe this helps you look at new ways to stand out and improve the company’s overall strategy. MBR: How does it feel after being called to receive the Malta’s Best-in-Business ICT Company 2015? DS: My initial reaction was one of elation. I felt my heart was soaring as I walked towards the stage. These feelings, I know stem from the

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sense of pride in being acknowledged for the Dakar’s success. Obviously over the years, I have felt this kind of pride for Dakar’s achievements and growth, however, for this to be officially validated by external parties in such a way, filled me with the greatest sense of satisfaction and validation, both for myself and for all the hard working team at Dakar. I felt that Dakar has been recognised as a leader in the IT field in Malta and this is a fulfilment of the dream and goal I had when I first started out over 25 years ago.

I felt that Dakar has been recognised as a leader in the IT field in Malta and this is a fulfilment of the dream and goal I had when I first started out over 25 years ago. MBR: What impact does winning this highstatus award will have on you and your organisation? DS: I believe the impact of winning this award is multifaceted. On one hand I know that it has immediately boosted the morale and motivation of every single Dakar employee. It is evident that people enjoy working for successful companies and being short listed and ultimately winning this award gives Dakar the opportunity to recognise its staff and their contribution to the business. Another long term impact will be on the recruitment process, as working for an award winning company is definitely an attraction. From a business point of view, I feel the impact on Dakar’s value to its

profile, reputation and market positioning is immense particularly for existing customers. I believe this has given our customers the reassurance that they have made a good choice in working with Dakar. With regards to prospective customers, this award will set us apart from our competitors, providing them with a sense of security that Dakar is a wise business choice. MBR: What are your impressions of this prestigious event and why is it significant to have such an event recognising best businesses? DS: All at Dakar have been positively impressed and enjoyed very much the experience of working with the Malta BIB team throughout the judging process; culminating on the night the gala event was held. I feel that events like these give companies the opportunity to reflect, improve and grow from these reflections and insights. It also provides nominated, short listed and winning companies the opportunity to shine in the spotlight - to show the community their strengths, achievements and business advantages. I thoroughly enjoyed discovering companies that I was not aware of in the different industries and sectors and have since researched them on the internet. I hope that they too have done the same with Dakar Software. MBR: What would your employees say are the top three reasons they love working for Dakar Software Systems Ltd? DS: I believe these to be job satisfaction achieved through the Dakar’s culture of autonomy, freedom and flexibility. Our staff love the lack of rule rigidity at Dakar as I believe that freedom encourages


SPECIAL FEATURE: MALTA’S BIB AWARDS

Malta Business Review

Amanda Sollars, Cheryl Mifsud, Tomasz Zalewski, Karen Schranz, David Schranz, William Farrugia, Ariana Spiteri, Marthese Cauchi, Sean Caruana, Michael Mizzi, and James Cilia

people to fly. They know they can explore, take risks and fail confidently in the fact that they will still be supported. Another reason our employees love working with Dakar Software Systems is the physical environment we have created for our staff. Our offices have recently been refurbished. We focused on turning our offices into a state of the art space where employees look forward to coming each day. A space that is relaxing, motivating and also professional aimed at employee enjoyment during both their work and break time. A home away from home. We also provide a full continental breakfast for our staff and I know that this has really increased our staff’s commitment to Dakar. Finally, but not least, I believe our staff love working with Dakar because we are a visionary company. We aim to always look to the future and grow with the industry’s every changing technologies. This provides our staff with the excitement of innovation and the sense that they are working with a company where they will continue their own personal growth and self-development.

the ever changing needs and technologies of the IT industry. This award has truly recognised this in Dakar Software, due to the fact that, only a company which is truly dedicated to its workforce would satisfy all the requirements of the rigorous judging criteria. Since the IT industry is never static, developments and new technologies are outdated within a day, recognising Dakar Software as the Malta’s Best in Business in the ICT field highlights the dedication of the team to be a company that takes care of the present but also has a keen eye focusing on the future and its emerging trends and technologies. All Rights Reserved | © Copyright 2015

MBR

David Schranz and Charles Schiavone

Our staff love the lack of rule rigidity at Dakar as I believe that freedom encourages people to fly MBR: Do you believe that this award recognises Dakar Software as a best-in-business ICT Company that has not only invested in the skills of its existing workforce to meet a particular business need, but have shown a commitment to developing the Dakar Software brand and its workforce of the future? DS: Dakar firmly believes in the development of its work force and aims to furnish them with the necessary skills and knowledge to grow with

Dakar Software Systems is a wholly owned Maltese company comprised of talented and dedicated professionals who provide solutions for Human Resources and People Management. The company offers Payroll, Personnel, Time and Attendance, Rostering, Performance Appraisal, Leave Management and Recruitment Modules. Dakar has been operating for over 20 years, it was founded in 1994.

David Schranz

www.dakarsoftware.com

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Malta Business Review

SPECIAL FEATURE: MALTA’S BIB AWARDS

Donna Borg Leyland, Abraham Pace

Joanne Galea, Rebecca Attard Montalto, Donna Borg Leyland and Nilay Camilleri

Joanne Galea, Malcolm Caruana

A Focus on Character & Customers By Martin Vella

Rebecca Attard Montalto, Joanne Galea, Malcolm Caruana, Nilay Camilleri, Abraham Pace, Donna Borg Leyland

Nilara Limited designer’s versatility was amply recognised during Malta’s BIB Awa atelier who specialises in exclusive designer evening dresses, won the industry’s m was named Malta’s Best-in-Business Fashion Company Award. We interview Ni Director and Designer, who was up against strong competition, to find out why 36


SPECIAL FEATURE: MALTA’S BIB AWARDS MBR: All the winners of the Malta’s Best-inBusiness Awards 2015 will have demonstrated how they stand out from the crowd in their category including ambition, profitability, growth, sound business planning, customer satisfaction and management of people. What is Nilara’s “Wow Factor” behind the success of winning Malta’s Best-in-Business Fashion Company Award 2015?

Ekaterina Markina Camilleri, Chris Camilleri Nilara Limited was formed in 2014, and opened its doors in April 2014 with its first flag ship store in Paola, specializing in evening gowns and formal wear. The company has successfully registered the name Nilara as copyrighted brand in 2015 and has had a very successful journey within this year nationally and internationally. Nilay Camilleri is the woman behind the concept of the ever more recognisable Nilara Evening Dresses and also for the upcoming Nilara Business Line. The Nilara brand is a unique concept; an alluring nod to a bygone era, where silver screen goddesses dressed in immaculate, show stopping gowns but with a more contemporary, innovative twist. Past collections have been launched with the discerning woman in mind, a woman for whom glamour and elegance are a way of life. Opulent designs coupled with fine, embellished fabrics have been the signature of each and every Nilara gown; recognisable by the intricate attention to detail. www.nilara.com.mt

ards, as the fashion design most prestigious event – she ilay T. Camilleri, Managing she was a worthy winner.

NC: Attaining and more importantly maintaining the “Wow Factor” in an industry as fickle as the fashion sector is quite challenging; there are plenty of factors (perhaps stumbling blocks would be a more accurate description) at play. That said, besides all the assets you mentioned above, to really stand out from the crowd in the fashion business you have to have your finger constantly on the pulse of your customers’ expectations, translate that in terms of what are the current trends on the international market and be able to deliver your interpretation of it in a unique and original way which would still appeal to your clientele.

To me fashion is the outlet which gets my creative juices flowing, where my imagination comes to the fore MBR: Why is it worth celebrating such an achievement and what does this mean to you? NC: The fact that so many sleepless nights, hundreds of sketches and long hours of brainstorming have not gone unappreciated is for me enough cause for celebration! It is also an achievement which I dedicate to my customers and their appreciation for my efforts, without whom Nilara would not be the success story it is today. MBR: Do you believe that innovative and creative marketing with clearly measurable results, irrespective of budget, is the key to standing out in a crowded market place? NC: Of course marketing is key! In such a competitive environment it is the only way to reach out to your prospective customers, which is why a fresh and innovative approach is always ideal. However, regardless of how many strong marketing campaigns one invests in, the quality of the product or brand itself is what ultimately guarantees its success and longevity on the market. MBR: What are your comments on this evening?

impressions and also year’s awards gala

NC: The organisation was fantastic and the magical surroundings of Verdala Palace

Malta Business Review

elevated the whole event onto another level. It was also a significant occasion for the business community to come together to not only celebrate but interact. MBR: What do you love about working in fashion—and what do you dislike? NC: What can I say? To me fashion is the outlet which gets my creative juices flowing, where my imagination comes to the fore. I love the whole process; a colour, a picture, a scene, a smell can be a source of inspiration and translating that into a vision of a design and finally creating a dress which will make its wearer feel like a million dollars is a feeling which is hard to beat. Of course, the downside is that I am a perfectionist by nature, in fashion you always have to work within set time frames which is always difficult for the overly critical eye. For a design to be a cut above the rest, the attention to even the minutest detail is important and therefore anxiety and self-doubt are always lurking at the back of your mind. MBR: What would your employees say are the top three reasons they love working for Nilara? NC: I can only say that staff fluctuation has been minimal which I believe is the best testament to the working conditions within the company. I believe that if any of my employees had to answer this question, they would probably say that they are treated like family; our mantra is ‘mi casa es su casa’ - my home is your home. In this instance ‘our business is your business’ and therefore there is a certain pride and commitment on our employees’ part. Respect is another aspect which we believe is important, regardless of position or stature within the company and which is something our employees can vouch for.

The attention to even the minutest detail is important and therefore anxiety and self-doubt are always lurking at the back of your mind MBR: What would you say to anyone thinking of entering the Awards for 2016? NC: Go for it! If you believe in your brand, product or service there is literally nothing to stop you from taking part. It is an achievement which at the end of the day will only serve as motivation to better even more your business ethos.

All Rights Reserved | © Copyright 2015

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MBR

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Malta Business Review

SPECIAL FEATURE: MALTA’S BIB AWARDS

Sound Business Practice By George Carol

MBR interviews Corporate Solution Limited’s Managing Director Ivan Camilleri, after his Company was awarded Malta’s Best-in-Business Corporate Company Award. Ivan acknowledges the reward as a collective effort and maintains that business is successful when the whole team is pulling the same rope in the same direction.

Corporate Solution Limited is the brainchild of Ivan Camilleri and Nilay T. Camilleri. Founded in 2009, its speciality lies in corporate consultancy, remote gaming licensing in all jurisdictions, business management, corporate structuring and also corporate re-structuring. Over the past six years the company has rapidly grown in such a way that is now considered to be one of the leaders in the sector. Both experts in their chosen fields; Ivan holds an MBA degree and Nilay a degree in Business Management & Economics and a Masters in Law, they launched the company as a local business consultancy, moving onto international corporate consultancy as the company quickly progressed.

Ivan Camilleri with Keith Mallia Milanes, A.G.M. MAPFRE Middle Sea

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www.corporate-solution.eu


SPECIAL FEATURE: MALTA’S BIB AWARDS

Malta Business Review

Nilay Camilleri, Mila Perry, Ivan Camilleri MBR: How does it feel to be nominated and then win Malta’s Best-in-Business Corporate Company Award? IC: We are but a relatively fledgling company when compared to other corporate giants, so for us to be nominated and more importantly awarded, it has exceeded all expectations. Recognition for all that our company stands for within the business community is an incomparable reward and something which will eventually make us strive much harder in future.

Constant communication at all times, not just when a crisis arises is the foundation upon which we offer our services MBR: These awards recognise and honour businesses and individuals for their significant role in driving our Malta’s business community and economic growth. How does Corporate Solutions contribute to this growth? IC: I believe that Corporate Solutions with its ever expanding international client database is attracting attention way beyond our shores. We are creating building blocks within the economy by introducing clients to local opportunities through the parameters we operate in. In an always challenging economic climate we aim to quickly adapt and regenerate and provide doable solutions for our customers, both local and foreign. I believe that this as well as providing local employment opportunities stimulates and contributes to economic growth.

MBR: The judges do not just look for “good” customer service, but a level of service over and above normal industry expectations and clear strategies for maintaining such a level of service. What can you tell us about the level of service at Corporate Solutions as a main winning factor? IC: All our business dealings start with the premise that a client’s business will be handled as if it’s our own, which I believe is key. Constant communication at all times, not just when a crisis arises is the foundation upon which we offer our services; after all peace of mind is not only part and parcel of what we offer but it is perhaps the mainstay of our business philosophy. MBR: How is Corporate Solutions a leader in setting standards for excellence and innovation through business practices and community involvement? IC: Excellence can only be achieved through sound business practices, but not only! Willing to go the extra mile in providing a holistic service is what builds a reputable business and which success will eventually spill over to the community it operates within. That and the ability to innovate time and time again is what taking the lead is all about. MBR: Do you agree that Malta’s Best-inBusiness Awards provide an excellent opportunity for companies to gain exposure, win prestige and earn profitable results as a consequence? IC: Of course! We are after all operating within a relatively small community and reputation is the be all and end all of any company. Prestigious awards such as the BIB Award can only enhance a company’s standing within the community.

MBR: What are your impressions of this prestigious event and why is it significant to have such an event recognising best businesses? IC: We obviously all strive to be the best we can be, but getting the much strived for recognition is the cherry on the cake.

Willing to go the extra mile in providing a holistic service is what builds a reputable business MBR: How well was the activity tailored to an identified business need, target audience and business environment? IC: The event catered for the business community as a whole, which is always a good thing as communication between businesses is at times rare and far between, unless of course it is within the same sector. Therefore it is refreshing to be able to interact and share concepts and ideas with fellow business people in a relaxed environment. MBR: What would you say to anyone thinking of entering the Awards for 2016? IC: Make sure you have your house in order and if you are proud of what you have achieved so far, simply go ahead! MBR

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Malta Business Review

SPECIAL FEATURE: MALTA’S BIB AWARDS

ela; Dorianne Ellis;

arez; Thomas Ab Andrea Garcia Su i Charles Azzopard

MBR: How does it feel to be nominated and then win Malta’s Best-in-Business Architect & Engineering Company Award 2015? CA: We were extremely exhilarated for being nominated and therefore being short-listed from such a flourishing pool of Maltese architects and civil engineers. We were more obviously overwhelmed when we were told we actually won the award. MBR: How does ACT_N architects and civil engineers contribute to this growth? CA: We actually adopt the prefix ACT for its universal, plural and implicitly dynamic nature, implying active and activating at the same time. It means in fact, to ACTivate. With this in mind, we are committed to both the everevolving demands of architectural design theory and practice as a function of our society. We are invested in the critical issues of building design, urban development, and construction, and the user’s demands that an innovative design requires to achieve producing high quality spaces and environments. With such a manifesto, we believe that, although with big sacrifices, our company aids to increase a momentum towards achieving success and economic growth which in turn agglomerates to the ever

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Charles Azzopardi; Dorianne Ellis; Kenneth B. Micallef Head, CEO’s Office, BOV

increasing quality in service rendered and products delivered by Malta’s business community.

We are committed to both the ever-evolving demands of architectural design theory and practice as a function of our society MBR: The judges do not just look for “good” customer service, but a level of service over and above normal industry expectations and clear strategies for maintaining such a level of service. What can you tell us about the level of service at ACT_N architects and civil engineers as a main winning factor? CA: As a company we thrive on our fascination for a wide variety of visual fields, including architecture, exhibitions, graphics and design. In fact, in our case, architecture itself is not approached as a single entity but as a plurality of architectures opening up and extending the processes of architectural thought, action and research, including civil, structural, mechanical

and electrical engineering. The visual diversity of the projects the firm has worked on, stems from its claim to find a solution specific to each task and location that brings together past, present and future and reinterprets the whole. Thanks to the many experiences gained on the various projects it was involved, we have learned to meet and solve, simply but also sophisticatedly, the complex requirements that each project lays down by constructing useful and appropriate buildings to a high technical level and without eschewing the expressiveness and emotion that the finest architecture is capable of transmitting. Architecture that advocates the continuity of tradition and context whilst fully committed to respecting the environment. Our design practice is based on the conviction that every project is unique, no matter its size, location, or the demands of the client, time and cost. We strive to produce designs that consistently satisfy the client in his/her demands and also our creative standards we set for ourselves. MBR: How is ACT_N architects and civil engineers a leader in setting standards for excellence and innovation through business practices and community involvement? CA: From when the company was created, we set out to push boundaries, to invest


SPECIAL FEATURE: MALTA’S BIB AWARDS

Malta Business Review

Innovation and Excellence Malta’s BIB Awards spotlight the most creative and innovative residential designers, builders, remodelers, architects, developers, land planners and interior designers in the nation. This unqiue awards program, this year sponsored by Western Union, recognises exceptional design and engineering of all types and sizes, as well as remodeling, working drawings and projects “on the boards.” This year, Malta’s Best-in-Business Architect & Engineering Company Award went to ACT_N architects and civil engineers. We interview Charles Azzopardi, Director, to find out why his Company is a leader in design, architecture and civil engineering. By Martin Vella

considerable time and effort to develop ideas and to research materials and systems so as to become leaders in our field. We feel that we are achieving great things and that we are becoming more than relevant in some of the fields within our work, yet we still have a long way to go, as the pursuit of innovation and excellence is an endless self-renewing exercise.

In our case, architecture itself is not approached as a single entity but as a plurality of architectures opening up and extending the processes of architectural thought, action and research. MBR: Do you agree that Malta’s Best-inBusiness Awards provide an excellent opportunity for companies to gain exposure, win prestige and earn profitable results as a consequence? CA: Yes of course. we are proud of.

MBR: What are your impressions of this prestigious event and why is it significant to have such an event recognising best businesses? CA: It was indeed a great night and simply being able to build a new or better a business relationship with businesses which have been considered to be amongst the best in their category can only be considered as positive. MBR: How well was the activity tailored to an identified business need, target audience and business environment?

EDITOR’S NOTE

ACT_N has two directors, Perit Charles Azzopardi and his wife Perit Dorianne Ellis. On an individual level they try to specialise internally within their own firm as Charles mostly take care of the architectural / design section while Dorianne takes care of the structural / civil section.

CA: The event was very well organised and we as a nominee were permitted to forward the material we wished to present to the judges. That liberty gave us the confidence that our company would be rightfully and correctly represented. MBR: What would you say to anyone thinking of entering the Awards for 2016? CA: I would suggest to simply concentrate in trying to be the best possible so as to be able to take part in such event with confidence.

It’s an achievement that All Rights Reserved | © Copyright 2015

MBR

ACT_N architects and civil engineers, engages in cutting-edge architectural, interior and structural design as a pioneer of functional, cultural and creative industries in Malta. The firm is committed to both the ever-evolving demands of architectural design theory and practice as a function of our society. We are invested in the critical issues of building design, urban development, construction, and interior design together with the user’s demands that an innovative design requires to achieve high quality spaces and environments. www.actn-studio.com

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Malta Business Review

SPECIAL FEATURE: MALTA’S BIB AWARDS

Corporate Integrity, Honesty, and Servant Leadership By Martin Vella

We sit down to interview Mark Cassar, Creative Director at CasaSoft (www.casasoft.com.mt),

Company Award. Mark tells us that CasaSoft stands out from its competitors and is thrilled the

CasaSoft is currently one of the top market leaders in the industry, with team members all strivi

MBR: Can you tell us about your experience and how do you feel after receiving the judge’s full scores as Malta’s Best-in-Business Online & Web Design Company Award 2015 during this year’s BIB Awards? MC: We are thrilled to have received such an outstanding award confirming us as Best in Business within the Online & Web Design category, our core speciality. This shows appreciation towards our high level of commitment in quality throughout all the projects we deliver. Such an award continues to fuel our motivation and passion to constantly focus on delivering projects of high standards and excellent service to our esteemed clients. MBR: Do you believe that such awards celebrate all that you are doing, from your creativity, to innovation, to the quality customer service, these awards are rightly the Oscars of great Maltese business? MC: Definitely. Our aim is to help our clients expand digitally while focusing on delivering excellent quality and service. Such an award confirms our commitment towards delivering projects of a certain standard. We aim to deliver solutions which are highly creative, innovative, user oriented and user friendly whilst providing excellent customer service. MBR: When people work together you can sometimes accomplish the “impossible”. Do you think that the success and achievements CasaSoft enjoys is due to the cooperation and efforts of many people working together towards a shared goal? MC: This achievement is all thanks to our team of highly creative designers, talented developers and strategic thinkers full of passion and innovation. We love what we do and together we make sure to deliver projects of a high standard. We make sure that such values are instilled within the entire team.

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MBR: Do such awards help businesses increase their profile and are a great chance to take stock of what’s happening in your enterprise? MC: Awards surely help consolidate recognition of best practices and standards. Being awarded Best in Business as an Online & Web Design company shows that we surely know a thing or two about our line of work. Our clients and potential new clients can trust that they will be in good hands. It confirms expertise and proficiency within the industry by being assessed and awarded through an external panel of judges who appreciate the work. We have also won numerous other awards, such as two international Design Firms Web Award in both July 2015 and October 2011 and a Best Flash Website Award in November 2009.

Businesses are the backbone of any globalised economy. Stronger values within the business community will reflect positively throughout the entire economy MBR: Being awarded as Malta’s Best-inBusiness Online & Web Design Company Award 2015 means that CasaSoft carries the responsibility to act as a role model and shining a light on the most innovative online and web businesses in Malta. How does CasaSoft intend to promote success, innovation and ethics in the local business community? MC: We want to continue improving our service and expertise within the industry even further. We constantly strive to excel in all our projects. We make sure to genuinely put our clients in the centre of their projects and to

understand their target audience and requirements. This helps us to deliver projects which are of a high standard in both aesthetics and functionality whilst providing effective results. MBR: Do you deem that our prosperity, social and healthcare systems are reliant on us creating an even stronger, more innovative, successful, international and ethical business community - one that forms the beating heart of an increasingly globalised economy? MC: Businesses are the backbone of any globalised economy. Stronger values within the business community will reflect positively throughout the entire economy. MBR:What do you think of the Malta’s Bestin-Business Awards and do these awards create a great initiative to promote the values and principles we believe in: liberty, democracy, freedom of speech, open markets, fair competition and open societies? MC: Malta’s Best-in-Business Awards is a great initiative to recognise companies which excel in their line of business. This will help foster an attitude of constant improvement throughout companies to regularly assess and improve their service. All this contributes positively towards such values and principles. MBR: And do you believe the BIB Awards inspires and stimulates local business to reach exacting criteria, where not only annual turnover and sales count, but also factors with high social importance – what we call business ethics? MC: Sure! The main focus of a business has to be its quality of service. Constantly working on improving their level of service will reflect positively throughout the entire business operation including other factors of high social importance.


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Malta Business Review

,

, winners of this year’s Best-in-Business Online & Web Design

e company has won the recognition they deserve. He states why

ing to be servant-leaders in the workforce.

CasaSoft is a team of highly creative designers, talented developers and strategic thinkers full of passion and innovation. Our aim is to help businesses expand digitally and online. We strive to deliver projects of exceptional quality. With a combination of passion and attention to detail, we work closely with our clients to create solutions that really works. Client satisfaction is our marketing strategy. We’ve been doing this since 2004 and we know a thing or two about helping businesses expand online. We put our clients in the centre of their projects in order to make sure we understand their requirements and their targets. This way we build outstanding projects which are extremely user friendly, highly functional and deliver results. We’ve also won several awards such as two international Design Firms Awards in 2015 & 2011 and Best Flash Website Award in 2009.

www.casasoft.com.mt

Tom Visser, Reuben Hayman, Duncan Cachia, Kurt Aquilina, Raymond Cassar, Mark Cassar, Karl Cassar, Simon Azzopardi, Lars Andringa, Fabian Abela Mark Cassar - Managing Director

The main focus of a business has to be its quality of service MBR: How does an innovative, strong and thriving business community makes a successful and prosperous organisation? MC: In order for organisations to succeed, they need to follow the best practices of the business community. The stronger and more innovative the community is, the better the service the organisations has to offer in order to survive within today’s highly competitive market. All this will in turn be of real benefit to today’s globalised economy. All Rights Reserved | © Copyright 2015

MBR

Tom Visser, Fabian Abela, Mark Cassar, Simon Azzopardi, Lars Andringa

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Malta Business Review

SPECIAL FEATURE: MALTA’S BIB AWARDS

Fostering a Sense of Belonging By George Carol

Rebecca Bonnici, Managing Director, BELS, could not hide her joy after being honoured to be recognised for BELS excellent programs, quality of teaching and dedication to customer service, by receiving the Best-in-Business Vocational & English Language School Award. Rebecca told us that BELS continuously strives to provide the best experience for international students who come to study and improve English in Malta.

MBR: How does it feel after receiving Malta’s Best-in-Business Vocational & English Language School Award 2015? RB: Given the fact that Malta is home to many excellent schools, having our organisation recognised as the Best-in-Business is very significant to us. BELS is not the oldest nor the biggest and the recognition to my team and our school is hugely gratifying. From a personal point of view, I believe that this also very special, in the sense that our organisation has now entered in its second generation ownership. The presentation of this award, on the exact day in which a a year ago, I took over the complete ownership of my company, is as significant as much as emotional a it celebrates the efforts of my father and re-affirms our commitment to carry on in with the same dedication to offer our service to our clients. MBR: Do you agree that recognition and success in the competition brings high levels of exposure and acclaim for your organisation? RB: While it is premature to state that, I believe that such recognition reflects the high-level of service and committment shown through the years by my father and the current team

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BELS is an owner-run, fully accredited, group of boutique English language schools, founded in 1997. The BELS English language schools group includes BELS Gozo for adults, BELS Malta for adults, BELS Juniors for teens. At BELS, the management strive to provide quality education for adults and teens alike; through the delivery of student-centred lessons. The school creates tailor-made courses which are based on students’ needs and wants, in a specialised setting, in state-of-the-art ambience. The dynamic team and professional teachers all value our balanced international student mix and strive to provide our clients with best value for money. BELS is a small organisation that values quality over quantity. The schools’ management and dedicated team guarantee personalized attention to every individual, while promising a holistic experience. Thus the schools’ high standards of education and its reputation for ensuring high levels of customer satisfaction are constantly maintained. www.belsmalta.com

which contributed so that BELS receive this acclaim. MBR: Does entering the BIB Awards enables you to associate and align with Malta’s commercial elite? RB: That it most definitely does.

We equally believe in learning and collaborating with our peers in the field and other fields to further our collective intentions and aims in our industry MBR: Do you agree that success in the BIB Awards offers extensive networking, business opportunities, interaction and learning with Malta’s most successful businesses? RB: At BELS, we equally believe in learning and collaborating with our peers in our field

Julia Jones, Julian Muscat, Maurice

and other fields to develop the collective intentions and aims in our industry. We look forward to sharing our experiences in a collaborative way. MBR: Valuing consumer, employee and ecofriendly issues amongst your core values, how does BELS operate transparently and actively nurture employee development? RB: Well these are matters we hold very close to our heart. I work very hard every day to foster a sense of belonging in my team. I believe that if people feel a sense of ownership in their workplace, then they will be happier to go to work and in turn, be more productive and inclined to strive further together. We have regular development talks, which are more about discussing how my team and I can work better together; to meet our clients’ needs more effectively and less about nit-picking about minor matters. I treat my clients in much the same way, when I am in the schools, I sit at the front desk (we operate a pseudo open door policy, with key staff sitting at front desk) so that I can listen to my clients interacting with my staff and their fellow students. This helps me to learn how


SPECIAL FEATURE: MALTA’S BIB AWARDS

Malta Business Review

e Mizzi, Rebecca Bonnici, Isabella Conti

Julian Muscat, Chiara Tomaselli, Christopher Bugeja, Isabella Conti, Rebecca Bonnici, Matthew Bonnici, Michaela Zammit La Rosa, Liliana Brincat, Julia Jones, Steve Jones we can better meet their needs. Our clients appreciate the fact that they can speak to the decision-maker personally and be part of effecting change. The success of this may be seen not only in the fact that we have over 12% return clients annually, but also that we recently launched a new promotional video and our clients were not only happy to participate in its production and openly put THEIR seal of approval on our product promotion tool, but also took on its intended use and shared it on social media etc. Finally, operating Eco-friendly schools is part of our commitment to our Corporate Social Responsibility; this starts with our investment in PV panels, to our waste separation efforts, to our client education campaign and finally our operation of a paperless school. MBR: Can you tell us a bit about how BELS value consumer, employee and best practice issues amongst their core values? RB: From a customer point of view we carry out weekly evaluations giving clients the opportunity to communicate to us, whether or not they are happy with all the services they have bought from us, not just tuition.

Issues are followed up by my school managers and handled on the spot. This has been a practice we have had in the schools for many years and clients and their agents appreciate it; not only because they feel valued, but also because we nip any shortcomings in the bud. I do the same with my team, via their regular development talks and also via various annual team building activities that we have, be they informal after-work get-togethers or family days. Being a wife and mother - before I am a business woman, I am very much in touch with the realities, challenges and stressors faced by individuals and families alike and work very hard to try and limit those experienced by my team. I hold mental and physical well-being in my team in very high regard and think that by not only working together but also relaxing together, we learn to understand one another better and so making us more cohesive as a team. MBR: What do you think are the main reasons for winning such a highly acclaimed award?

goals and a great ambition to achieve them. We not only ‘’talk the talk, but walk the walk’’.

I believe that if people feel a sense of ownership in their workplace, then they will be happier to go to work MBR: How does BELS recognise the evolving nature of business, an as true innovators originate forward-thinking concepts to instigate improvement? RB: We are forever moving with the times and fine tuning our services and products. In 2016, we will be launching two courses that were born and from customer recommendations and developed further on the basis of our experience. MBR: Overall, has it been a very exciting and rewarding investment of your time to participate in Malta’s BIB Awards? RB: That it most definitely has.

RB: I think this could be down to the fact that we are a young and dynamic team with clear

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MBR

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Malta Business Review

SPECIAL FEATURE: MALTA’S BIB AWARDS

Delivering Excellence By George Carol

Marygrace Attard, Managing Director at Ta’ Frenċ Restaurant could not hide her elation when Colin Fitz and Monique Chambers announced the unanimous judges’ decision proclaiming Ta’ Frenċ Restaurant as Malta’s Best-in-Business Food & Beverage Award. “We are obsessed with quality and the guest experience. I am convinced that what makes a restaurant service unique, outside of all the usual unique selling points such as location, are its food and beverage offerings together with faultless guest service,” told us a jubilant Marygrace following this honour, which she attributes to a fantastic team spirit.

Thomas Curmi, Victor Mercieca, Joseph Buttigieg, Frederick Spiter

MBR: Can you tell us about your experience and how do you feel after receiving the judge’s full scores as Malta’s Best-in-Business Food & Beverage Service Award 2015 during this year’s BIB Awards? MA: The evening at the Verdala Palace was a bitter-sweet occasion for my colleagues and me; it was a time for celebration of what we have achieved together, but also gave rise to moments of regret that my late husband Ino who cofounded Ta’ Frenċ Restaurant with Lino Cefai, was not there to celebrate with us, after devoting over 30 years of his life to the restaurant. MBR: Do you believe that such awards celebrate all that you are doing, from your leadership in the restaurant industry, to innovation, to the culinary and wine presentations, these awards are rightly the Oscars of great Maltese business? MA: Yes, of course. The awards present an opportunity to introduce Ta’ Frenċ to an even wider audience. MBR: When people work together you can sometimes accomplish the “impossible”. Do you think that the success and achievements Ta’ Frenċ enjoys is due to the cooperation and efforts of many people working together towards a shared goal? MA: Without a doubt. Any establishment is only as good as the people who work there.

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We are fortunate at Ta’ Frenċ that many of the staff have been with us a long time. Mario Schembri, considered the doyen of chefs of the Maltese islands, has been with the restaurant for 32 years, and has, during that time, created menus and dishes which have become internationally renowned. The pastry chef, Emmanuel Rapa, and sous chef Joseph Buttigieg have been with us 20 years. Joseph Tabone, restaurant manager has led an exceptional front of house brigade for over 22 years, and oversees our award-winning wine cellar. But many others are directly involved in the success of the restaurant, from Ina the kitchen porter, to Joe who looks after the buildings and surrounding gardens; from Thomas who runs the office to John who heads the bar.

Ta’ Frenc Restaurant has always been a leader in the hospitality industry in the Maltese islands, not only for its many innovations, which have, flatteringly for us, often been imitated, but for its commitment to training new generations of staff

MBR: Do such awards help businesses increase their profile and are a great chance to take stock of what’s happening in your enterprise? MA: Perhaps you should ask me this question in a year’s time, when I will have a better idea of how the awards have been publicised. MBR: Being awarded as Malta’s Best-inBusiness Food & Beverage Service Award 2015 means that Ta’ Frenċ carries the responsibility to act as a role model and shining a light on the most innovative F&B businesses in Malta. How does Ta’ Frenċ promote success, innovation and ethics in the local business community? MA: Ta’ Frenċ Resatuarant has always been a leader in the hospitality industry in the Maltese islands, not only for its many innovations, which have, flatteringly for us, often been imitated, but for its commitment to training new generations of staff. We do this in twoway exchanges, sending staff abroad for personal development and the acquisition of new skills, and inviting well-known chefs such as Ciccio Sultano and Maurilio Garola to come and cook at the restaurant for gala dinners and special events. On these occasions staff learn through hands on experience, as they did most recently when Michael Nizzero took time off from his new post at Gordon Ramsay’s Maze in London, to come and cook a special dinner at Ta’ Frenċ.


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ri, Joseph Tabone, Rebekah Attard, MaryGrace Attard, Lino Cefai, Marlon Debono, Mario Schembri, Emanuel Rapa, Jessica Mizzi, Keith Schembri

MBR: Do you deem that our prosperity, social and healthcare systems are reliant on us creating an even stronger, more innovative, successful, international and ethical business community - one that forms the beating heart of an increasingly globalised economy? MA: Whilst a strong business community open to the outside world is vital to our national prosperity and all that encompasses, both locally and on the international stage, I feel very strongly that we need to retain our own identity in, as you say, an ‘increasingly globalised economy’. At Ta’ Frenċ we are committed to giving our guests a unique experience, which tells them that they are on Gozo, in the Maltese islands, and nowhere else. MBR: What do you think of the Malta’s Bestin-Business Awards and do these awards create a great initiative to promote the values and principles we believe in: liberty, democracy, freedom of speech, open markets, fair competition and open societies? MA: As above. I would like you to ask me that question in a year’s time when I will have had the opportunity to gauge the effects of the awards, although I can say that if they encourage excellence and high-status competition, then I agree. MBR: And do you believe the BIB Awards inspires and stimulates local business to reach exacting criteria, where not only annual

turnover and sales count, but also factors with high social importance – what we call business ethics? MA: Awards such as these, as with the Oscars, I am sure, put the spotlight on us all, in such a way that we want to be, and be seen as, the best we can be, and, as you say, this goes far beyond financial considerations.

I feel very strongly that we need to retain our own identity in, as you say, an ‘increasingly globalised economy

Director of Ta’ Frenċ Restaurant Ms. MaryGrace Attard with Mark Ransley

MBR: How does an innovative, strong and thriving business community makes a successful and prosperous organisation? MA: We are very fortunate that Ta’ Frenċ has wide international recognition, both in our restaurant and in our wedding business, both of which draw many clients from abroad. However, the dynamic business community within the Maltese islands is extremely important to us; when it thrives, we thrive. When it suffers, we suffer. But fortunately, the business community is resilient, as are we. MBR All Rights Reserved | © Copyright 2015

Ta’ Frenċ Restaurant is an award winning restaurant situated in the island of Gozo. The restaurant’s charming setting coupled with decades of experience of its staff has made Ta’ Frenċ excel in providing all the essential ingredients for a successful event, being private dinners, weddings or conferences. Whether you are planning a reception for 350 seated guests, or a smaller intimate celebration, Ta’ Frenċ can provide the perfect surroundings. The flexibility of the restaurant’s structure allows for the use of different areas. A choice of reception areas in a choice of styles; select from the sumptuous Wine Cellar, the A’la Carte Hall, Frances Hall or the restored Executive Dining Room. Ta’ Frenċ has recently invested in a state-of-the-art all-weather structure which will allow guests the use of the Restaurant’s garden at any time of the year, whatever the weather. www.tafrencrestaurant.com

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Malta Business Review

SPECIAL FEATURE: MALTA’S BIB AWARDS

Doing the Best, Giving By Chiara Taggiasco

“We are proud to have been nominated and win Malta’s Best-in-Business SME Company Award. It is a great pleasure to see HungryCow / ThirstyCow and its franchisees’ hard work paying off and gaining the recognition it deserves,” told us Marvin Mallia, Managing Director. In this interview Marvin reaffirms how he thoroughly looks forward to continuing with this success and seeing their franchisees go on to achieve further acknowledgement in the years to come.

Hungry cow opened its doors on 10th July 2013 in Bugibba. This American style diner specialises in Home-made Burgers and a selection of Hot Dogs. They have a varied menu that continually has added specials. The owner and general manager Mr. Marvin Mallia, opened in 2014 the second shop on the bugibba promenade, now focusing on shakes and deserts. This dynamic diner is not stopping here as plans for more shops are foreseen. The Hungry cow diner is located in Bugibba, Malta along pioneer road. They offer a wide variety of fast foods and other types of snacks. The staff here are dedicated and are set out for customer satisfaction. The hungry cow offers you a good environment where you can enjoy a well deserved meal. The Hungry cow makes finger licking burgers. You will totally love the Tennessee burger with our famous Jack Daniels sauce served here. There are many types of burgers offered here to cater for everyone. The Hungry cow diner is set in an ideal location offering you a magnificent view of the surrounding.

Marvin Mallia, Richard Agius

www.hungrycowmalta.com - www.thirstycowmalta.com MBR: How does it feel after receiving Malta’s Best-in-Business SME Company Award 2015? MM: This special award have brought the management and staff at both our stores closer together and fully motivated to keep on the right track. We will also be launching our new Menu for HungryCow in the coming days. Something which was on our minds for some months and we decided to activate this straight after our success in Malta’s BIB Awards. MBR: Do you agree that recognition and success in the competition brings high levels of exposure and acclaim for your organisation? MM: Exposure is always good for brands even though the event is surrounded mostly by business people which sometimes are not just your target audience. But the award itself will surely help the brand grow and make both our shops more recognised. After the event the exposure will be distributed through

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the business publications and that will spread even further the message. MBR: Does entering the BIB Awards enables you to associate and align with Malta’s commercial elite? MM: Every organisation should be in business to be amongst the best in its sector. That is the road to success. You have to act quickly and keep up with the fast pace of modern business. Being there with the some of the Best-inBusiness is a great feeling and also gives our brands more importance.

Networking and discussions were made during the event with other brands in search for new business opportunities that can grow both businesses.

MBR: Does success in the BIB Awards offer extensive networking, business opportunities, interaction and learning with Malta’s most successful businesses? MM: One must take full advantage of Malta’s BIB Awards and meet new business people. Sometimes opportunities arise in least expecting moments. Having also companies we work with challenging for the same awards creates a healthy competition and also appreciation to each others business. Networking and discussions were made during the event with other brands in search for new business opportunities that can grow both businesses. MBR: Valuing consumer, employee and ecofriendly issues amongst your core values, how does Hungry Cow / Thirsty Cow Malta operate transparently and actively nurture employee development? MM: At HungryCow and ThirstyCow our employees are highly important, they drive our brands forward. We also had part of our team


SPECIAL FEATURE: MALTA’S BIB AWARDS

Malta Business Review

g the Best

Rachel Micallef, Marvin Mallia, Fernando Docampo with us during Malta’s BIB Awards Event. Awards are not only about management but the whole team. Both shops have a great team and the respect between employees is something which we really build on. From Chef to Delivery People to Cleaners, we are one team, every employee needs the other so they should be treated equally. This then moves us to the importance of our customers. We have dedicated this award to them. Without their trust we would not have been as successful. We put high importance on social media where consumers can have their say and help us get better. We listen and we act to make consumers happy.

brand. You can hide from social media but it is best to be there for your employees and listen. We also value the opinion of our employees. They are the ones closer to our consumers. They also are an important asset to our brand. They come up with great ideas for special burgers or shakes that we market.

MBR: Can you tell us a bit about how Cow / Thirsty Cow Malta value consumer, employee and best practice issues amongst their core values?

MBR: What do you think are the main reasons for winning such a highly acclaimed award?

MM: We are very active on Facebook where a lot of our people are converging. We make sure to answer all our messages and comments to understand any issues and requests. We value their opinions and all the feedback makes you become a stronger and also a more valued

You can hide from social media but it is best to be there for your customers and listen

MM: I think first and foremost being one great team. And really one great team between the two stores. The dedication and determination to be better but still being humble, and keeping feet on the ground. Malta is a small island so word of mouth is a key medium for advertising. The word easily spreads around that a business is good, authentic and entertaining.

MBR: How does Cow / Thirsty Cow Malta recognise the evolving nature of business, an as true innovators originate forward-thinking concepts to instigate improvement? MM: We try to be ourselves, and be the first. It is challenging in such a growing burger industry. We are sure of what we do and also our products. As we have revealed we are just about to launch a new innovative Menu built around our core products. Evolution is key and there is always room for growth. We are also baking a new concept that we hope can introduce in the near future. MBR: Overall, has it been a very exciting and rewarding investment of your time to participate in Malta’s BIB Awards? MM: Malta’s BIB Awards where definetly an inspiration for us that brought our teams together and motivated to be the best. And we promise to do our BEST!

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MBR

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Malta Business Review

SPECIAL FEATURE: MALTA’S BIB AWARDS

Excellent Service, Exc By Astrid Veld

30 years and counting— that’s how long Mirya Limited been manufacturing and providing mirrors to a multitude of industries. It was a great honour for MBR to interview Henry Battistino, owner and Managing Director of Mirya Limited, who were conferred with Malta’s Best-in-Business Industry Company Award 2015. MBR: Can you tell us about your experience and how do you feel after receiving the judge’s full scores as Malta’s Best-InBusiness Industry Company Award 2015 during this year’s BIB Awards? HB: It was a great honour receiving this award and hence I was over the moon.

It is just as pointless to offer an excellent product or service if you lack customer ethics MBR: Do you believe such awards celebrate all that you are doing, from your creativity, to innovation, to the quality customer service; these awards are rightly the Oscars of great Maltese business. HB: All the factors mentioned above, together with a loyal workforce, are the main ingredients of a successful business. It is pointless having great customer service if the product you offer is of inferior quality to that of your competitor’s. It is just as pointless to offer an excellent product or service if you lack customer ethics. Mirya Ltd. thrives on its reputation for doing bespoke designs and innovative products. As far as the Business Awards go, I would say yes these awards are seen as ‘The’ Business Awards in Malta. MBR: When people work together you can sometimes accomplish the ‘impossible.’ Do you think that the success and achievements Mirya Limited enjoys is due to the cooperation and efforts of many people working together towards a shared goal? HB: Every project undertaken by Mirya Ltd is delivered successfully due to the efforts of a number of people. It is of utmost importance that employees feel like they are part of a team, and that they are aware that successes and disappointments are borne by all members to a certain degree. MBR: Do such awards help increase their profile and are a great chance to take stock of what’s happening in your enterprise? HB: Mirya Limited has always used the reliable Maltese Grapevine as a complement

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to advertising. In truth we rely mostly on successful work that gets other work, saying that, this award gives us a tremendous added dimension in publicity. MBR: Being awarded as Malta’s Best-InBusiness Industry Company Award 2015, means that Mirya Ltd. carries the responsibility to act as a role model and a shining light on the most innovative online and web business in Malta. How does Mirya Ltd. intend to promote success, innovation and ethics in the local business community? HB: As an Industry dealing in Glass and Mirrors, we give top priority to the Safety Aspect during processing. On our part is the most ethical side to our beliefs. Our Company was the first Maltese Company to export Antique and Special Affect mirrors to most of Europe.

MBR: What do you think of Malta’s Best-InBusiness Awards and do these awards create a great initiative to promote the values and principles we believe in: liberty, democracy, freedom of speech, open markets, fair completion and open societies? HB: Yes, they create a bond between local business Society.

especially

MBR: And do you believe the BIB Awards inspires and stimulates local business to reach exacting criteria, where not only annual turnover and sales count, but also factors with high social importance – what we call business ethics? HB: Over the years in Malta, business ethics have improved considerably. But unfortunately, operating in a small Country like Malta will always give rise to an amount of clientelism which should be obliterated.

MBR: Do you deem that our prosperity, social and healthcare systems are reliant on us creating an ever stronger, more innovative, successful, international and ethical business community – one that forms the beating heart of an increasingly globalised economy?

Our Company was the first Maltese Company to export Antique and Special Affect mirrors to most of Europe

HB: Our prosperity depends on building a strong economy, based on an actual Maltese population.

MBR: How does an innovative, strong and thriving business Community make successful and prosperous organization?

As the smallest Country in Europe and one of the smallest in the world in area and population – we could never and should never opt for an Economy based on population increases.

HB: The emphasis must be on added value and customer satisfaction. For the last 30 years, Mirya Ltd. has produced bespoke products and designs that can be seen in such prestigious projects as the Radisson Golden Sands and Baypoint Hotels, numerous prestigious shops and outlets, restaurants and night clubs, bars and private residences. The local thriving film industry has also given us a lot of opportunities namely The latest films – Thirteen Hours and especially By The Sea with Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt where Mirya Limited were awarded the contract for the manufacture of Bespoke Antique Mirrors Used in the hotel scenes and This contract was won with stiff competition MBR from abroad.

The actual stress on our hospitals, schools, social system and traffic are all too apparent for everyone to see at the moment. Our future lies in high added value in industry, tourism, and technology. Short term gains in competitiveness due to high influxes of foreign workers and permanent residences will be offset negatively in the long term. Malta has changed into a claustrophobic concrete jungle and if we don’t stem this tide, the repercussions on this once beautiful island will be very detrimental to our way of life and eventually our standard and quality of living.

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SPECIAL FEATURE: MALTA’S BIB AWARDS

cellent Ethics

Malta Business Review

Mirya Ltd. started in 1986, producing high quality Mirrors. These mirrors consisted of plain, coloured, designed and antique finishes. In a relatively short space of time, it soon became the local leader in this field, eventually producing the silvering for its competitors. Through continuous research and development, it expanded its Antique Mirror range to enable it to export to all over Europe. It must be stressed that Mirya’s Antique Mirrors are completely exclusive and are solely produced in Malta. After a few years of solely producing mirrors, Mirya embarked on an expansion programme that took us into Glass Merchandising and processing. This is an ongoing process and year on year Mirya has added new and innovative products to its’ repertoire. www.mirya.com.mt Henry Battistino with Margaret Brincat Director MBR Publications Ltd.

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Malta Business Review

SPECIAL FEATURE: MALTA’S BIB AWARDS

Driving Innovation, Leading Change By George Carol

Any family-owned business that is in its second generation of ownership in Malta must be proud and privileged to be presented with Malta’s Best-in-Business Manufacturing Company Award. “It’s a great honour,” said John Agius, Managing Director Construct Furniture Limited. “We are pleased with the outstanding quality work that everyone in our company does and are even more pleased to be honoured publicly for that work,” he declared in an exclusive interview.

Mr. Fernando Agius and Mrs. Lorrella Agius, Mrs. Bridget Agius and Mr. John Agius, Miss Sarah Bartolo, Mr.Chris Castillo, Mrs Amanda Cefai and Mr. James Cefai MBR: How does it feel to be nominated and then win Malta’s Best-in-Business Manufacturing Company Award? First and foremost it feels fantastic to be recognised and nominated after such hard work, and of course it feels much better to win it. Looking back at where we have started and how much we have grown since, shows determination and progress, above all, success. Such award gives us greater motivation and determination to continue striving further to excel in the manufacturing industry. We truly appreciate all the accolades and achievements we have got through the years as we worked hard to accomplish them.

Through the years our success and growth allowed us to create more job placements and today we employ around 120 people 52

MBR: These awards recognise and honour businesses and individuals for their significant role in driving our Malta’s business community and economic growth. How does Construct Furniture contribute to this growth? The main attributes towards Malta’s business community and economic growth come from manufacturing for the local and foreign market, recycling of waste materials, the increase in employment, exports and imports. We also accredit our success to various businesses from the local market to give our customers a complete finished product. Through the years our success and growth allowed us to create more job placements and today we employ around 120 people. We accomplished a great success in the export field, exporting to countries such as North Africa, Belgium and United Kingdom. For the past ten years we have been selling through the two showrooms situated in Tripoli and Benghazi, Libya. We have invested heavily in

the UK market which resulted in a successful demand and from 2014 started exporting to the UK. We also take care of the environment and have agreements with recycling companies to collect and recycle our waste materials. Our environmental standard is in compliance with the National Green Public Procurement. MBR: The judges do not just look for “good” customer service, but a level of service over and above normal industry expectations and clear strategies for maintaining such a level of service. What can you tell us about the level of service at Construct Furniture as a main winning factor? We adapt with the philosophy that if the furniture quality or service is not acceptable for us, then it is neither satisfactory for the client. We do not just manufacture the goods but we take note and are aware of what our clients really need and want. To be innovative we constantly do research to identify the


SPECIAL FEATURE: MALTA’S BIB AWARDS

Malta Business Review

Construct Furniture Co Ltd is a young and dynamic 30 year old furniture manufacturer. We take pride in our products which are all developed and designed inhouse and manufactured to international recognized standards, by ourselves. We cater for both the small domestic requirements as well as to high-end projects both in Malta and overseas. www.constructfurniture.com.mt

publicity, expose further our success as a leading manufacturing company in Malta and extending our reputation both locally and internationally. MBR: What are your impressions of this prestigious event and why is it significant to have such an event recognising best businesses? The event was fairly organised with a pleasant atmosphere. We believe in the quality and style of our products and a challenge will only increase our determination to excel even further. Our goals are to reach high and with this award is just a plus to the company’s characteristics. These kinds of events are fundamental to organise on a yearly basis to motivate the business sector.

market needs, trends and styles. When it comes to customer service we are quite flexible, listen to the client and then apply the best solution. Different measures are taken depending on the customer’s situation. MBR: How is Construct Furniture a leader in setting standards for excellence and innovation through best business practices, safety standards and community involvement? All raw materials used for our products are ISO Certified which comply with PEFC (The Programme for the Endorsement of forest Certification) standards and also meet the standards of FSC (Forest Stewardship Council). We constantly invest in the latest CNC machines and other computerised production plant. This equipment is supported with high technology and programming updated to meet innovative furniture designs. We have developed, invested and challenged our products to achieve various Certificates in compliance with the European and British

Standards. We occasionally carry out a risk assessment to evaluate what can affect the health and safety of every individual at the place of work. This is assessed by a competent engineer; however, control measures are being under taken on a daily basis from our health and safety officer. We share our success with others as we help those who are less fortunate; our current and latest involvement is with the Malta Community Chest Fund as we will donated part of the proceeds from the open Exhibition in December 2015. MBR: Do you agree that Malta’s Best-inBusiness Awards provide an excellent opportunity for companies to gain exposure, win prestige and earn profitable results as a consequence? It would be too early to determine whether such an event was a success in earning profitable results but surely it will do us no harm. It is an excellent opportunity to gain

It is an excellent opportunity to gain publicity, expose further our success as a leading manufacturing company in Malta and extending our reputation both locally and internationally MBR: What would you say to anyone thinking of entering the Awards for 2016? It feels good to be rewarded and being recognised when a company is flourishing and contributing towards the economy. Of course such event would not make or break a business but for promotional purposes and exposure it will highlight such achievements. Work hard and in one way or another you will get rewarded. Ours has been a long tough road, MBR but look where we stand!

All Rights Reserved | © Copyright 2015

www.maltabusinessreview.net

53


Insight Polls

Malta Business Review

Traffic, Corruption and Immigration are seen as the main issues of concern in Malta According to results from a survey which has just been conducted by InsightPolls, traffic, corruption and immigration are seen as the major issues facing the country. Compared to a poll held in June 2015, the environment is perceived to be less of a problem today. InsightPolls is run by MISCO International Limited and Corporate Identities Limited, two experienced companies in the field of online surveys, marketing and public affairs. The poll, conducted very recently between the 5th and 9th of November 2015 involved the participation of a panel of 514 persons, representative of the Maltese population in terms of age and gender. In the online survey, respondents were presented with a set of issues and were asked to choose the main issue which Malta is facing.

Traffic

Main problem Malta is facing

Traffic

43

Corruption

21

Immigration

20

Environment

7

Education

3

Law and order

2

The international situation

1

The economy

1

Health

1

Unemployment

<1

No particular problem

1

41

Income

13

The environment

11

Immigration

9

Cost of living

8

Injustice suffered by oneself or a family member

5

Stable employment for oneself or family member

3

The environment where I live

2

Personal security

2

Health

1

Education No particular problem

1

Main personal concern

3

Economic issues are not seen to be problem areas. Moreover at the time the survey was conducted, the international situation was also perceived not to pose a problem to the country. One needs to note that the poll was carried before the Valletta Summit and the attacks in Paris. Traffic is perceived to be the main problem across all age groups. However whereas persons aged under 45 years mention gave immigration the second highest number of mentions, persons aged 45 years and over perceive corruption to be the second largest problem. For females the main problem is traffic followed by immigration, while for males, corruption comes second to traffic. Respondents to the survey were also asked to state the main concern they have personally. The table below lists the level of concern for each issue presented in the survey.

Traffic maintained its position as the most important problem faced by individuals and in fact has increased in importance. Income is more of a problem than the environment for females while the environment is more of a problem than income for males.

160,000

to benefit from income tax cut

Respondents are generally satisfied with their life. In fact 81% claimed to be either very satisfied or fairly satisfied while 19% claimed to be not so satisfied or not satisfied at all. The survey also asked about how satisfied respondents are about the Budget. 58% of respondents claimed to be very satisfied or fairly satisfied, while 42% claimed to be not so satisfied or not satisfied at all. Persons aged less than 35 years displayed a higher level of satisfaction with the Budget than persons aged 35 years and over. MBR

#Budget2016

www.maltabusinessreview.net

55


Malta Business Review

FEATURE: FISH FARMING

FEATURE: FISH FARMING

Malta Business Review

P2M a pillar of local aquaculture For over 25 years, a private company specialising in aquaculture, Pisciculture Marine de Malte Ltd (P2M), has been operating a fish farm that produces 1,200 tonnes of fish a year, the bulk of it for export By a Special Correspondent

Robert J. Aquilina Managing Director of Pisciculture Marine de Malte Ltd (P2M) is out to change people’s perceptions on farmed fish. For the head of the company that is one of the pioneers of the aquaculture industry in Malta, having been set up over a quarter of a century ago, is a passionate believer in the health benefits of eating fish produced on fish farms in a sustainable way. “I urge your readers to stop for a minute and reflect on what they have eaten in the past week,” he said. “Did they eat anything that was not farmed and 18 months in production, like it takes us to produce a Sea Bream weighing 400 grams? Today you get most land animals growing in well under a year. This is a guarantee that the local farmed fish you are eating is totally healthy as it is grown naturally.” The fish, mainly sea bream (awrat) produced in the cages in the concession areas off St Paul’s Islands and l-Aħrax in Mellieha start out life as eggs that are hatched in a state-of-the-art hatchery on France’s Atlantic coast and then transported to Malta as juveniles, weighing a mere 2 grams. Some 3 million juveniles will make the arduous four-day trip over road and sea in a purpose-built tanker. Not much has changed in the way that these fish are nurtured to their full-grown size in the ideal sea temperatures around Malta in these past 25 years. Many of the

56

people Mr Aquilina recruited back then still work with the company. This has been an ingredient of the company’s continuing success. “Aquaculture is about people more than it is about fish,” Mr Aquilina said. “Fish farming is labour intensive and requires dedication. It is a seven-day-a-week operation all year round.

“Fish farming is labour intensive and requires dedication. It is a sevenday-a-week operation all year round. “Our vision was also to build long-term relationships with most of our suppliers, especially with the feed producers, who we have been working with for 20 years, and the same hatchery in France that has been supplying us with juveniles for the past 20 years as well. In this way we are assured of receiving the highest quality inputs for our operation and this in itself is a guarantee that we can continue to compete with the large players from Greece and Turkey. “Our client base has evolved over time. Only a small proportion of our sales are in Malta, the bulk of our sales being in Italy. Initially, they were large wholesalers and importers. We have now moved to also supplying large supermarket chains who

require our products all year round and take 80% of the market. “We still supply some high-end wholesalers who in turn supply restaurants and we count a major Italian baby food producer as one of our customers.” The drive over time, also thanks to input from its customers, has been to continually improve on quality. Mr Aquilina’s focus in this area has been two-fold: top quality juveniles and top quality feed. The formulated dry feed is totally sustainable since it is made from natural products, mainly fish meal and some vegetable proteins, and contains no hormones, growth promoters, attractants or antibiotics. The food is completely odourless and sinks, leaving no traces on the water surface. The food is eaten completely by the fish with no wastage at all – food is the highest cost item for P2M – and is highly digestible. The advantage of this is that the fish will convert most of it into flesh and so the food conversion ratio (FCR) is low, ensuring minimal wastage and minimal environmental impact “In fact a fish eats a small percentage of feed compared to its body weight even when compared to land animals – just 1.8 times its adult body weight throughout its lifetime,” Mr Aquilina said. “So we can use a small quantity of food, with the advantages this brings with it. On any given day,

depending on the season and the growth cycle, the fish will consume between 4 and 9 tons of feed in total over the two sites occupied.

We have been monitoring the water quality since 1994, so we have more than 20 years of data which show that there is no impact on the water quality “Our impact on the water quality in the vicinity of the cages is nil. In fact we have been monitoring the water quality since 1994, so we have more than 20 years of data which show that there is no impact on the water quality. You will have seasonal fluctuations in the parameters we are checking, so there is in fact no pollution in the water. “We are proud of our environment credentials. Whoever comes to visit us can see that. We have regular visitors from all walks of life, even from schoolchildren. We try to recycle everything that we use. For example, all the bags in which the feed is acquired are recycled. Being so environmentally conscious also helps us to produce a better product. Our customers and the public also expect us to act in this way.”

In 2010 P2M restructured its local operations and rationalised its activities at a purpose-built facility in Imġiebaħ on a site that was formerly occupied by a chicken farm. “The footprint is identical to what there was, but we have improved the area utilised because we have facilities underground,” Mr Aquilina explained, adding: “The area above the ground occupies the same footprint as the previous tenant but with the difference that we have a very low visual impact on the environment thanks to landscaping and the single storey above ground. You could pass in front of the front gate and not know what is going on behind it: a state-of the art packing plant including a cold room as all fish is sold fresh on ice, warehousing facilities and offices.” A major restoration was carried out to Mistra Battery after P2M relinquished the lease and the property was then passed to the government for use by an NGO. Apart from changing perceptions, Mr Aquilina also lists as the company’s challenges, overcome successfully, convincing the local public and the authorities that fish farming as done by P2M is sustainable and has a minimal impact on the environment. Looking ahead, he said the company intends to continue to study the introduction of new species – it was the first to introduce the brown meagre

(gurbell) many years ago – and explore the possibility of expanding the operation locally and, why not, overseas. P2M also strives to improve long-established processes through innovation. Its main aim is to stay at the top. Retaining its competiveness is fundamental in this market of producers many times larger. He is understandably proud of the P2M’s achievements – it is also sought after by fish farms abroad to provide consultancy on the setting up of such facilities – adding: “We have managed to integrate well in the area of St Paul’s Bay and Mellieha. Several tourist boat trips circle our site; and the area is surrounded by yachts and pleasure craft in the summer, especially on weekends. If we were polluting, no yachtsman would tie up his vessel a few metres from our cages and go into the water for a swim.” MBR Photo credit: Mark Cassar

EDITOR’S NOTE

A Chartered Certified Accountant with a CPA warrant, Robert J. Aquilina worked in the profession for a number of years before joining the initial team of Pisciculture Marine de Malte Ltd, which was in the start-up phase. He is P2M’s Managing Director, heading a team of 40 full time employees and managers. www.p2m.com.mt

www.maltabusinessreview.net

57


Malta Business Review

FEATURE: FISH FARMING

FEATURE: FISH FARMING

Malta Business Review

P2M a pillar of local aquaculture For over 25 years, a private company specialising in aquaculture, Pisciculture Marine de Malte Ltd (P2M), has been operating a fish farm that produces 1,200 tonnes of fish a year, the bulk of it for export By a Special Correspondent

Robert J. Aquilina Managing Director of Pisciculture Marine de Malte Ltd (P2M) is out to change people’s perceptions on farmed fish. For the head of the company that is one of the pioneers of the aquaculture industry in Malta, having been set up over a quarter of a century ago, is a passionate believer in the health benefits of eating fish produced on fish farms in a sustainable way. “I urge your readers to stop for a minute and reflect on what they have eaten in the past week,” he said. “Did they eat anything that was not farmed and 18 months in production, like it takes us to produce a Sea Bream weighing 400 grams? Today you get most land animals growing in well under a year. This is a guarantee that the local farmed fish you are eating is totally healthy as it is grown naturally.” The fish, mainly sea bream (awrat) produced in the cages in the concession areas off St Paul’s Islands and l-Aħrax in Mellieha start out life as eggs that are hatched in a state-of-the-art hatchery on France’s Atlantic coast and then transported to Malta as juveniles, weighing a mere 2 grams. Some 3 million juveniles will make the arduous four-day trip over road and sea in a purpose-built tanker. Not much has changed in the way that these fish are nurtured to their full-grown size in the ideal sea temperatures around Malta in these past 25 years. Many of the

56

people Mr Aquilina recruited back then still work with the company. This has been an ingredient of the company’s continuing success. “Aquaculture is about people more than it is about fish,” Mr Aquilina said. “Fish farming is labour intensive and requires dedication. It is a seven-day-a-week operation all year round.

“Fish farming is labour intensive and requires dedication. It is a sevenday-a-week operation all year round. “Our vision was also to build long-term relationships with most of our suppliers, especially with the feed producers, who we have been working with for 20 years, and the same hatchery in France that has been supplying us with juveniles for the past 20 years as well. In this way we are assured of receiving the highest quality inputs for our operation and this in itself is a guarantee that we can continue to compete with the large players from Greece and Turkey. “Our client base has evolved over time. Only a small proportion of our sales are in Malta, the bulk of our sales being in Italy. Initially, they were large wholesalers and importers. We have now moved to also supplying large supermarket chains who

require our products all year round and take 80% of the market. “We still supply some high-end wholesalers who in turn supply restaurants and we count a major Italian baby food producer as one of our customers.” The drive over time, also thanks to input from its customers, has been to continually improve on quality. Mr Aquilina’s focus in this area has been two-fold: top quality juveniles and top quality feed. The formulated dry feed is totally sustainable since it is made from natural products, mainly fish meal and some vegetable proteins, and contains no hormones, growth promoters, attractants or antibiotics. The food is completely odourless and sinks, leaving no traces on the water surface. The food is eaten completely by the fish with no wastage at all – food is the highest cost item for P2M – and is highly digestible. The advantage of this is that the fish will convert most of it into flesh and so the food conversion ratio (FCR) is low, ensuring minimal wastage and minimal environmental impact “In fact a fish eats a small percentage of feed compared to its body weight even when compared to land animals – just 1.8 times its adult body weight throughout its lifetime,” Mr Aquilina said. “So we can use a small quantity of food, with the advantages this brings with it. On any given day,

depending on the season and the growth cycle, the fish will consume between 4 and 9 tons of feed in total over the two sites occupied.

We have been monitoring the water quality since 1994, so we have more than 20 years of data which show that there is no impact on the water quality “Our impact on the water quality in the vicinity of the cages is nil. In fact we have been monitoring the water quality since 1994, so we have more than 20 years of data which show that there is no impact on the water quality. You will have seasonal fluctuations in the parameters we are checking, so there is in fact no pollution in the water. “We are proud of our environment credentials. Whoever comes to visit us can see that. We have regular visitors from all walks of life, even from schoolchildren. We try to recycle everything that we use. For example, all the bags in which the feed is acquired are recycled. Being so environmentally conscious also helps us to produce a better product. Our customers and the public also expect us to act in this way.”

In 2010 P2M restructured its local operations and rationalised its activities at a purpose-built facility in Imġiebaħ on a site that was formerly occupied by a chicken farm. “The footprint is identical to what there was, but we have improved the area utilised because we have facilities underground,” Mr Aquilina explained, adding: “The area above the ground occupies the same footprint as the previous tenant but with the difference that we have a very low visual impact on the environment thanks to landscaping and the single storey above ground. You could pass in front of the front gate and not know what is going on behind it: a state-of the art packing plant including a cold room as all fish is sold fresh on ice, warehousing facilities and offices.” A major restoration was carried out to Mistra Battery after P2M relinquished the lease and the property was then passed to the government for use by an NGO. Apart from changing perceptions, Mr Aquilina also lists as the company’s challenges, overcome successfully, convincing the local public and the authorities that fish farming as done by P2M is sustainable and has a minimal impact on the environment. Looking ahead, he said the company intends to continue to study the introduction of new species – it was the first to introduce the brown meagre

(gurbell) many years ago – and explore the possibility of expanding the operation locally and, why not, overseas. P2M also strives to improve long-established processes through innovation. Its main aim is to stay at the top. Retaining its competiveness is fundamental in this market of producers many times larger. He is understandably proud of the P2M’s achievements – it is also sought after by fish farms abroad to provide consultancy on the setting up of such facilities – adding: “We have managed to integrate well in the area of St Paul’s Bay and Mellieha. Several tourist boat trips circle our site; and the area is surrounded by yachts and pleasure craft in the summer, especially on weekends. If we were polluting, no yachtsman would tie up his vessel a few metres from our cages and go into the water for a swim.” MBR Photo credit: Mark Cassar

EDITOR’S NOTE

A Chartered Certified Accountant with a CPA warrant, Robert J. Aquilina worked in the profession for a number of years before joining the initial team of Pisciculture Marine de Malte Ltd, which was in the start-up phase. He is P2M’s Managing Director, heading a team of 40 full time employees and managers. www.p2m.com.mt

www.maltabusinessreview.net

57


Malta Business Review

Opinion Piece

Closing our borders to terrorized refugees gives ISIS a bigger weapon Patrick J O’ Brien spent two years in France as a journalist. Earlier this year he reported on the Charlie Hebdo attacks from Paris and now reports on why all nations including Malta must be cautious of making unwise decisions when dealing with this new kind of terror threat. It appears that the brutal attack on Charlie Hebdo in January was just a curtain lifter, a taste of what was to come. And the chilling prospect after Paris’s latest night of death is that there will be yet more to come in the same vein. It seems now none of us are immune from the brutal logic of ISIS.

The West should do everything in its power to make those fleeing ISIS and extremism everywhere feel welcome and wanted We all know their purpose is entirely psychological and political, to create fear, horror, confusion and an illusion of chaos. It is to provoke a unsettling reaction and questioning in the public, and repressive in states that their propaganda revels in. There is a real danger that the attacks will also fuel the rise of the far right, notably the Front National. The temptation by governing parties to borrow their easy slogans to curtail their advance must be resisted. 60

There will be more calls in the coming days to close the United States’ and European borders to refugees, and in France and the rest of Europe, those voices will likely be deafening. Already in the midst of a refugee crisis, European nations may give in to anger and fear and shut their doors for good, we should do the opposite. When we see attacks like the horror in Paris, we should open our borders to a flood of refugees, not close them. The West should do everything in its power to make those fleeing ISIS and extremism everywhere feel welcome and wanted. We have been at war with terror for nearly a decade and a half now. We killed Osama bin Laden. We replaced hostile governments in Iraq and Afghanistan with client states. We defeated tyrants, yes, but we left chaos in their place. And nothing we have done has stopped the tide of terrorist recruitment. One eyewitness account from Paris described a shooter in the Bataclan theater as 20 to 25 years old; that would have made him a child on 9/11. Rejecting refugees won’t keep terrorists determined to attack us from finding a way in. We should ramp up our military effort against ISIS in an attempt to find some kind of justice for the deaths in Paris. But so long as we meet death only with death, the only associations we are creating in future generations with Europe and our allies are ones of pain and, frankly, terror.

Our responsibility is to be better than the terrorists, and to show those who might be seduced by their hatred that the world isn’t narrow and ugly. Closing off our borders to terrorized refugees sends exactly the wrong message.

Patrick J O’ Brien, award winning journalist and contributor to MBR’s publication Malta Business Review has been awarded once again by his peers for his contribution to Malta’s thriving business sector. Later this week he will visit the Netherlands and speak to students at The Amsterdam Business School on Malta’s growing economy and how Malta’s growth has been the envy of its European neighbors. You can read Patrick’s opinion features monthly on The Malta Business Review distributed on The Independent on Sunday and The Business Weekly. MBR


Malta Business Review

Debate & Analysis

Director for Europe and North Africa Horizon Hybrid Venture Capital Investments (Honk Kong) Ltd with the US President Barack Obama

One Belt, One Road: China Unleashes its World Economic Plan By Anatole Baldacchino For a better understanding of this subject, one cannot jumpstart, the historical aspect, behind the success story of the “The Ancient Silk Road” Silk was developed by the Chinese, sometime around 2,700BC. Woven from the fiber produced by the silkworm to make its cocoon.

institutions. Forty six Billion dollars had already been pledged to Pakistan to draw its route from Xinjiang to Pakistan Kashmir along Islamabad to Karachi and ultimately to Gwadar , the window to the Arabian sea. This investment will definitely make China the largest donor as it even surpasses the US entire assistance until now since 2002.

Guy Verhofstadt the leader of the liberals at the EU parliament recently said “If we continue the step by step approach without taking risks and not making real choices, Europe will become insignificant”. Beijing had always been clear about the importance of Europe, particularly central and eastern countries to the Silk Road project. China pledged 3.6 Billion dollars to

This exclusive product was reserved for the elite of the Imperial court, for making clothes, drapes, banners and items of prestige. Silk was moreover given as a diplomatic gift and was also traded within China’s geographical parameters and subsequently further abroad. Silk became one of China’s chief exports under the Han dynasty (206 BC-220 AD). 1st century silk was also introduced to the Roman Empire and the Chinese Emperor tried to keep the production of silk as a closely guarded secret until the outcome of India and Japan. China thus aims to bring forward its historical and economical networking in today’s perspective, for the future. The creation of this mirror image is done to service its international trade and cultural routes. Perhaps the most lasting legacy of the Silk Road has been the role of bringing cultures and peoples in direct contact with each other. China is definitely in pole position and is using its might to draw a new dimension of the world’s economic corridors. By this way, it is creating a new political dimension at the world’s stage. Vice Premier Zhang, stated last May, that China is willing to invest 900 billion US dollars along the One Belt One Road initiative. A hefty sum with a global vision to entertain. The Silk Road Infrastructural Fund is already set up and in motion, financed by Chinese powerful financial 60

The 15th Forum of the “Internet Media” of China , organized a three day event with the theme” E-path to One Belt One Road” . At the end of the forum a consensus was reached, known as the “Zhanjiang declaration”.

Hungary

to

improve

its

water,

rail

transportation, air development etc. etc. Huawei already operates its logistics center in Hungary , announced that it would expand its operations in Hungary and plan to employ an additional 3,000 people to export 1.2 Billion US dollars of products this year. China

Hungary became the first EU country to join China’s Silk Road project. China’s President Xi Xingping stated trade flowing through those participated projects would exceed US dollars2.5 trillion in a decade. During the June 2015 EU- China summit, both sides agreed to discuss ways to establish cooperation on the EU Investment Plan and the China Belt and Road initiative.

investment in Europe doubled from 2013 to 2014 to reach 18 Billion US dollars.

The Chinese leadership has unveiled a strategy to lead the globe in seven of the most important industries. Is the rest of the world ready? China is influencing the global trade routes

However there is still sceptisim within the EU’s bigwigs regarding the political and economic implications this might have on the EU. A recent PQ raised by Neena Gill of (S&D) as she remarked without doubt that the Chinese belt road initiative will increase connectivity between China – EU, other risks cannot be ruled out,

which effect China, the EU and the rest of the world. By passing trade and installing new routes, definitely opens new ways to African states or third world countries. This process can aid in the development of African countries in the coming years and finally can bring about the much needed stability in the region. It is in the interest of the EU to establish closer ties with China, so that the

a)

Increase in organized crime, illegal trafficking

b)

Creation of alternative international norms and institutions in the EU neighborhood

c)

Increased discord between the EU member due to separate negotiations with China

European role is enhanced and preserved. Malta with its geographical luxury, can play an important role in the Maritime Silk Road. Lord Peter Mandelson recently addressed in Malta and pointed out the need for the FDI challenge in Malta to look at it, as not only a place to do business in but to do business from. Wise words indeed but we need to be proactive and to jump into the right ship when it is our turn. MBR


Malta Business Review

COMPANY FOCUS

The good, the bad and the worse waterproofing systems By Antoine Bonello

We live in an island surrounded by sea; our climate is very humid and salty. Intensive heat and high UV Rays makes life difficult to many exterior protective products. The result is a fast deterioration and product failure when you need it the most. Most of these products are mainly designed to meet the northern countries climate exigencies. They are made of plastic compounds and other types of acrylics. They have a very low resistance to UV rays, thus become brittle and flake soon after. Bitumen carpets are considered the worst, they melt at low temperatures, create heat intake, open from seams and are considered a hazard to the environment. How to choose the right product? Most waterproofing products come in a variety of decorative cans, promising long life and protection. The truth is that all most none of them carries what it is really relevant to have that piece of mind in winter. How to identify a good waterproofing product from the rest, simple always look for two important marks on the 62

product cans, which are the CE mark and UV resistant mark. These marks can never be found on plastic compounds, acrylics, cement and latex based or bitumen as they canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t withstand high UV Rays. Only fibre reinforced resin and polyurethane membranes have those certifications. They have a natural resistance to sun rays, elasticity and can withstand structural movements, foot traffic and direct bonding of tiles. They are designed to meet the harsh Mediterranean weather. NAICI has also introduced the Thermal Fibro Guaina, a resin based fibre reinforced membrane that besides waterproofing it is able to eliminate 90% of heat, making it the ideal choice for the Maltese climate. This membrane can withstand the intensive summer heat and the sudden September rainfall. It is always ready for all the elements. This product can be easily applied by trowel or roller and can be reinforced with micro fibres or with fibreglass net. A complete waterproofing system that once you have applied it you will forget that it is there.

Unfortunately Materials do not speak so they canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t defend themselves when someone applies them wrong and believe me this happens a lot. If you have in mind to hire third parties to do your waterproofing works make sure they are members of The Malta Professional Waterproofing and Resin flooring Association, only in this way you are guaranteed that the persons you are hiring knows what it takes to implement a good waterproofing system. The MPWRA was formed with an aim in mind, to teach and promote the correct use of materials and proper workmanship The NAICI International Academy together with the Malta Professional Waterproofing and Resin flooring Association and The Resin and membrane Centre are regularly organising seminars with regards resin flooring for those who wish to learn how to implement them. This academy is renowned in Italy for its constant dedication in the trade Industry. For more information visit The Resin and Membrane Centre showroom at 264 Old MBR railway track St Venera, Malta


Publications

Malta Business Review

KPMG publishes study on Maltese licensed banks KPMG in Malta published the first edition of Under the Microscope – the first truly comprehensive stock-take of banks in Malta meant to provide a user-friendly analysis of the banking sector which incorporates expert analysis of issues facing the sector. The publication provides a detailed analysis of the 28 Maltese licensed banks and seeks to address a lacuna in the Maltese market by providing insightful and subjective analysis on the performance of the local banking sector. Juanita Bencini, KPMG Partner for Risk Consulting Advisory Services commented: ‘while sporadic information on individual banks is available, there is no comprehensive document which aggregates all the information together. It was a natural progression for KPMG to take the lead given it has historically always been very strong in financial services, especially in the banking sector.’ The banks in Malta are remarkably diverse and any meaningful insight depends on understanding this. ‘We distilled the business model of each of the core banks and when you see it in black and white, you realise how different they are – even though they are operating in the same market’ she explained. The banking sector in Malta has witnessed significant growth in the past decade. Indeed, since Malta’s accession to the EU in 2004, the number of banks grew from 16 to 28. Mark Curmi, KPMG Senior Manager and who spearheaded the publication, said that ‘information on the banking industry is imperative, especially in the current banking environment which remains engulfed in a complex cloud of inter-related regulatory, economic and commercial pressures.’

Juanita Bencini, KPMG Partner, Risk Consulting Advisory Services juanitabencini@kpmg.com.mt Mark Curmi, KPMG Senior Manager markcurmi@kpmg.com.mt

The first edition of Under the Microscope attempts to answer four key questions, namely how are credit institutions performing? how do banks operating in the same space compare? what trends are we currently seeing in the banking sector? and what do we think will be the most important issues that Maltese licensed banks will have to deal with over the coming year? A copy of the publication can be accessed here: http://www.kpmg.com/MT/en/ IssuesAndInsights/ArticlesPublications/Pages/under-the-microscope.aspx

www.maltabusinessreview.net

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Malta Malta Business Business Review Review HigHer HIGHER education EDUCATION

Excellence In Education Exellence in education by Gwen Gomis

By Gwen Gomis

The eie Educational Group (www.eieeducationalgroup.com) is celebrating its 15th anniversary, a long way from the day when it opened its doors to the first local students who found in eie an alternative to the traditional higher education system. The eie acronym stands for – Excellence in Education. Excellence is confirmed by the student and graduate testimonials that eie regularly receives from satisfied students. eie has grown into an established organisation both in Malta and internationally. Apart from locals, the eie Institute of Education (www.eieonline.com) hosts international students who choose Malta as a place to further their education. One can opt to follow part-time, distance learning or lecture based programmes, which are carefully designed to be both enticing and versatile – what our working students require while studying and coping with their busy lives. eie will help students reach their goals as highly qualified professional individuals to play important roles globally. All academic programmes offered are MQRIC recognised complying with local regulations governing tertiary educational programmes. eie Educational Group, also runs an EFL licensed English language school – eie Languages Centre (www.eielanguages.com) – and offers courses in General English, Business English and IELTS preparation. Students hail from various countries and choose eie to further their English language skills. Courses start every Monday, whereby students are first tested to establish their current level and followed up with a meeting with the school’s Director of Studies, where the outcome of the course is determined as some students wish to improve their conversation skills, whilst others want to improve their writing or academic skills. This is then communicated to the EFL teacher so that they work together on achieving the client’s target. In terms of Academic courses, the institute offers the following Pathways: 20 46 64

Business & Management (Certificate, Diploma, Advanced Diploma, Bachelor, Pg. Diploma and Masters) Finance & Accounting (Certificate, Diploma, Advanced Diploma, Bachelor and Masters) Sales & Marketing (Certificate, Diploma, Advanced Diploma and Masters) I.T. (Certificate, Diploma, Advanced Diploma and Masters) Human Resources (Diploma, Advanced Diploma, Graduate Diploma and Masters) Maritime Management (Diploma, Advanced Diploma, Graduate Diploma) Journalism (Certificate and Diploma) Tourism & Business Studies (Certificate, Diploma Advanced Diploma and Masters) eie collaborates with renowned foreign educational institutions and all academic courses are recognised by the local MQRIC. MBR We invite you to call eie on 21332804 / 5 or email on info@eiegroup.com for any assistance. eie Institute of Education is licensed by the National Commission for Further and Higher Education as an Institute of Further and Higher Education - (License Number: 2005-TC-001), whilst eie Languages Centre is licensed by the EFL Monitoring Board as an English Language School (License Number: 282/MB 42).


Malta Malta Business Business Review Review HigHer HIGHER education EDUCATION

Excellence In Education Exellence in education by Gwen Gomis

By Gwen Gomis

The eie Educational Group (www.eieeducationalgroup.com) is celebrating its 15th anniversary, a long way from the day when it opened its doors to the first local students who found in eie an alternative to the traditional higher education system. The eie acronym stands for – Excellence in Education. Excellence is confirmed by the student and graduate testimonials that eie regularly receives from satisfied students. eie has grown into an established organisation both in Malta and internationally. Apart from locals, the eie Institute of Education (www.eieonline.com) hosts international students who choose Malta as a place to further their education. One can opt to follow part-time, distance learning or lecture based programmes, which are carefully designed to be both enticing and versatile – what our working students require while studying and coping with their busy lives. eie will help students reach their goals as highly qualified professional individuals to play important roles globally. All academic programmes offered are MQRIC recognised complying with local regulations governing tertiary educational programmes. eie Educational Group, also runs an EFL licensed English language school – eie Languages Centre (www.eielanguages.com) – and offers courses in General English, Business English and IELTS preparation. Students hail from various countries and choose eie to further their English language skills. Courses start every Monday, whereby students are first tested to establish their current level and followed up with a meeting with the school’s Director of Studies, where the outcome of the course is determined as some students wish to improve their conversation skills, whilst others want to improve their writing or academic skills. This is then communicated to the EFL teacher so that they work together on achieving the client’s target. In terms of Academic courses, the institute offers the following Pathways: 20 46 64

Business & Management (Certificate, Diploma, Advanced Diploma, Bachelor, Pg. Diploma and Masters) Finance & Accounting (Certificate, Diploma, Advanced Diploma, Bachelor and Masters) Sales & Marketing (Certificate, Diploma, Advanced Diploma and Masters) I.T. (Certificate, Diploma, Advanced Diploma and Masters) Human Resources (Diploma, Advanced Diploma, Graduate Diploma and Masters) Maritime Management (Diploma, Advanced Diploma, Graduate Diploma) Journalism (Certificate and Diploma) Tourism & Business Studies (Certificate, Diploma Advanced Diploma and Masters) eie collaborates with renowned foreign educational institutions and all academic courses are recognised by the local MQRIC. MBR We invite you to call eie on 21332804 / 5 or email on info@eiegroup.com for any assistance. eie Institute of Education is licensed by the National Commission for Further and Higher Education as an Institute of Further and Higher Education - (License Number: 2005-TC-001), whilst eie Languages Centre is licensed by the EFL Monitoring Board as an English Language School (License Number: 282/MB 42).


Malta Business Review

Newsmakers

Maltese and Algerian businesses meeting

PROJECT MANAGEMENT

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat addressed a Business Forum between Algeria and Malta attended by over 350 people representing businesses Algerian and Maltese. The Prime Minister said that Malta and Algeria are two very different countries, however, still can complement each other.

established and well regulated as a hub for financial services, maritime and aviation logistics and registration of ships and aircraft. Malta is also developing f’hub energy services. Dr Muscat said he believes that first there is need to strengthen relations between the two countries is to strengthen relations between the peoples.

Joseph Muscat said that our country is establishing itself as a center of education and training, a center of medicine and surgery, management of tourism, information and communication among others. He said that Malta is also an

“I believe that both countries can build amazing relationships for tomorrow without fears. Conversely indeed, we can look to the future with realistic optimism, “said the Prime Minister. Source: DOI/OPM - Photo: DOI Clifton Fenech

Malta Business Review

Car Hire

Car Leasing

www.meligroup.com

THE MINISTRY FOR FINANCE LAUNCHES MALTA’S FIRST BEST-IN-BUSINESS AWARDS Inspirational business leaders should be given due recognition

“The importance of giving due recognition to inspirational business leaders cannot be stressed enough,” Finance Minister Edward Scicluna said. “Rewarding the ‘best-inbusiness’ is recognising and celebrating the right entrepreneurial culture which stimulates innovation, drive and commitment of a variety of corporate business clusters, including small and medium enterprises, ranging from iGaming to finance to fashion.” Minister opening Business business qualified

Scicluna was delivering the speech at the Malta’s Best-inAwards 2015, an independent awards programme judged by members of the business

community and industry analysts, that was held at the Verdala Palace under the auspices of the President of Malta, Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca. Noting Malta’s bright economic outcomes, as attested by various credit rating agencies, Scicluna remarked that strong economic growth does not simply happen. “It is the result of hard work, sound policies, a far-reaching strategy and, above all, a clear vision,” he said. “Most important of all, it is due to companies which make a difference because they care. They are ambitious and give the needed thrust forward for our economy to grow.” Photo DOI: Jeremy Wonnacott

Limousines

One Stop Shop Car Repair Centre

Meli Car Rentals Ltd. 90, Fremond Street Qormi, QRM 2379 T: 79 03 10 10 E: contactus@meligroup.com

ACHIEVING A PERFECT BUSINESS EVENT IS NO EASY FEAT. This is why we take pride in assisting you every step of the way and ensure that your business event does indeed become one to remember.

Reservations for the Festive Season 2015 are now open! Halfway Inn - Wine, Dine & Lounge 30, Triq il-Wied ta’Ruman, Mellieħa t 21521637 m 99464059 | 77874856 e info@halfwayinn.com.mt w facebook.com/halfwayinnmalta

66

Surrounded by breathtaking views of the Mediterranean Sea, the Paradise Bay Resort Hotel’s unique position, make it the obvious choice as an ideal venue for your next business event. The hotel offers a number of halls, suites and outdoor venues, including halls with sea views and natural daylight, which can host various tailor made functions, conferences, business meetings or other related events. The property’s extensive grounds and outdoor venues also make it the perfect venue for larger events. Our conference rooms, equipped with all requirements, come in a variety of sizes and guarantee efficient working conditions. Our food and beverage team can also assist you in choosing the right catering requirements to compliment your event.

Contact our events department now on 21 521166 or events@paradise-bay.com

www.paradise-bay.com www.maltabusinessreview.net

67


Malta Business Review

Newsmakers

Maltese and Algerian businesses meeting

PROJECT MANAGEMENT

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat addressed a Business Forum between Algeria and Malta attended by over 350 people representing businesses Algerian and Maltese. The Prime Minister said that Malta and Algeria are two very different countries, however, still can complement each other.

established and well regulated as a hub for financial services, maritime and aviation logistics and registration of ships and aircraft. Malta is also developing f’hub energy services. Dr Muscat said he believes that first there is need to strengthen relations between the two countries is to strengthen relations between the peoples.

Joseph Muscat said that our country is establishing itself as a center of education and training, a center of medicine and surgery, management of tourism, information and communication among others. He said that Malta is also an

“I believe that both countries can build amazing relationships for tomorrow without fears. Conversely indeed, we can look to the future with realistic optimism, “said the Prime Minister. Source: DOI/OPM - Photo: DOI Clifton Fenech

Malta Business Review

Car Hire

Car Leasing

www.meligroup.com

THE MINISTRY FOR FINANCE LAUNCHES MALTA’S FIRST BEST-IN-BUSINESS AWARDS Inspirational business leaders should be given due recognition

“The importance of giving due recognition to inspirational business leaders cannot be stressed enough,” Finance Minister Edward Scicluna said. “Rewarding the ‘best-inbusiness’ is recognising and celebrating the right entrepreneurial culture which stimulates innovation, drive and commitment of a variety of corporate business clusters, including small and medium enterprises, ranging from iGaming to finance to fashion.” Minister opening Business business qualified

Scicluna was delivering the speech at the Malta’s Best-inAwards 2015, an independent awards programme judged by members of the business

community and industry analysts, that was held at the Verdala Palace under the auspices of the President of Malta, Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca. Noting Malta’s bright economic outcomes, as attested by various credit rating agencies, Scicluna remarked that strong economic growth does not simply happen. “It is the result of hard work, sound policies, a far-reaching strategy and, above all, a clear vision,” he said. “Most important of all, it is due to companies which make a difference because they care. They are ambitious and give the needed thrust forward for our economy to grow.” Photo DOI: Jeremy Wonnacott

Limousines

One Stop Shop Car Repair Centre

Meli Car Rentals Ltd. 90, Fremond Street Qormi, QRM 2379 T: 79 03 10 10 E: contactus@meligroup.com

ACHIEVING A PERFECT BUSINESS EVENT IS NO EASY FEAT. This is why we take pride in assisting you every step of the way and ensure that your business event does indeed become one to remember.

Reservations for the Festive Season 2015 are now open! Halfway Inn - Wine, Dine & Lounge 30, Triq il-Wied ta’Ruman, Mellieħa t 21521637 m 99464059 | 77874856 e info@halfwayinn.com.mt w facebook.com/halfwayinnmalta

66

Surrounded by breathtaking views of the Mediterranean Sea, the Paradise Bay Resort Hotel’s unique position, make it the obvious choice as an ideal venue for your next business event. The hotel offers a number of halls, suites and outdoor venues, including halls with sea views and natural daylight, which can host various tailor made functions, conferences, business meetings or other related events. The property’s extensive grounds and outdoor venues also make it the perfect venue for larger events. Our conference rooms, equipped with all requirements, come in a variety of sizes and guarantee efficient working conditions. Our food and beverage team can also assist you in choosing the right catering requirements to compliment your event.

Contact our events department now on 21 521166 or events@paradise-bay.com

www.paradise-bay.com www.maltabusinessreview.net

67


Malta Business Review

ELT INDUSTRY

Malta’s Healthy English Language Teaching Industry By James Vella Clark “Latest statistics for student numbers in Malta show another increase. The ELT Industry is in fact a very healthy one and this can be attributed to a number of factors mainly the schools’ resilience and constant marketing efforts,” states Genevieve Abela, CEO of FELTOM. Set-up in 1989, FELTOM is Malta’s Federation of English Language Teaching Organisations, bringing together all accredited English language schools under one national association. Its main aim is to advance the quality of English language education to international learners in Malta. “Besides being one of the safest countries in the world, Malta is a small island with excellent proximities, plenty of attractions and a strong cultural and entertainment offering. We also offer a lot of support related to VISA and Temporary Residence Permit requirements and as the Accrediting body, FELTOM also has a clear procedure in place that helps us address shortcomings and improve the overall services of our schools. Aggressive marketing by our schools and by FELTOM has also contributed to these good results,” explains Genevieve Abela. Referring to key student markets for Malta at the moment, Genevieve notes how besides strong and effective marketing strategies, schools enjoy the advantage that they can quickly adapt according to emerging opportunities. “Diversification in terms of which markets to attract is thus crucial to the ongoing success of this industry. The political landscape in Europe over the past few years meant that formerly 68

strong markets such as Russia and North Africa had to give way to other markets from South America and the Far East.” FELTOM represents English language teaching organisations in Malta and through its marketing initiatives, lobbying with policy makers and the application of stringent accreditation procedures, FELTOM seeks to develop and strengthen this important and growing educational and tourism industry. Positive results however, do not eliminate concerns and language schools in Malta are constantly facing challenging environments. “Like any other industry, the ELT sector is a very dynamic one which is constantly adapting to changing scenarios and demands. Our schools know this and their prime concern is to keep up with these challenges, be ready to respond to emerging new opportunities

300 more beds

at M at e r D e i #Budget2016

and to keep actively marketing their services. As such, our predictions for the rest of the year and for next year look pretty stable. Our industry is highly committed to maintaining the quality standards reached and the important marketing drives we have invested in, should hopefully lead to some interesting results,” concluded Genevieve. FELTOM’s Mission Statement finds its definition in three main pillars namely Accreditation, Lobbying and Marketing. Being a FELTOM-accredited English language school means having a seal of quality since all member schools must successfully pass a rigorous and stringent accreditation process. FELTOM also seeks to set quality standards in all other aspects related to learners’ stay in Malta. FELTOM also develops co-operation between its 20 member schools to safeguard and bring forward the industry’s interests. Through lobbying with a number of partners, including Government bodies, foreign agents and other stakeholders, FELTOM brings further development of the TEFL sector in Malta. In fact, the world’s first law regulating English language schools was introduced by FELTOM. As marketing and promotion, FELTOM participates in some of the world’s more important annual fairs but it also hosts its annual Malta Workshop as well as various events for learners. It also contributes to the development of teaching professionals through workshops and conferences as well as industry networking events. MBR


Quality English Learning in a Quality Destination Choose Malta, Choose FELTOM

International Language Centres

17, Flat 1, Suite 1, Sir Augustus Bartolo Street, Taâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Xbiex XBX 1092 MALTA Tel: (+356) 2131 0927 Email: info@feltom.com

www.feltom.com The objective of FELTOM is to set, improve, and ensure, the maintenance of standards in all aspects of English language stays in Malta and to develop co-operation amongst licensed English language schools


Malta Business Review

HEALTCARE

Orthodontics and Braces By Jean Paul Demajo A dental brace (in maltese know as “il-hadida) is a device used in orthodontics to align and straighten teeth and help to position them with regard to a person’s bite. This also works to improve dental health. They are often used to correct an underbite or overbite, other malocclusions, deep bites, cross bites, crooked teeth, and various other flaws of the teeth and jaw. Braces can be either cosmetic improving the look of your teeth or structural helping to reposition your jaws. For example dental braces, together with other orthodontic devices help widen the palate or jaws and assist in shaping the teeth and jaws.

Conventional metal braces

Ceramic braces

What types of braces are available on the market? In today’s world of orthodontics, there are more kinds of braces than ever before. 1. Metal braces/Traditional braces These braces consist of metal brackets and wires that most people picture when they hear the word “braces.” Modern brackets are however smaller and less noticeable than the notorious “metal-mouth” braces than many adults remember. Plus, new heat-activated arch-wires use your body heat to help teeth move more quickly and less painfully than in the past. Advantage: Least expensive type; different coloured bands give children a chance to express themselves

Lingual braces

Orthodontic Aligner

2. Ceramic Braces Ceramic braces are similar in size and shape to metal braces, except that they have tooth-coloured or clear brackets that blend in to teeth. Some even use tooth-coloured wires making them less noticeable than the conventional metal wires. Advantage: Less noticeable than metal braces; move teeth much faster than clear plastic aligners. Dis-advantages: Ceramic braces are more expensive than metal braces; Brackets can stain easily if patients don’t care for them well. Tooth coloured arch-wires often get scratched exposing the underlying colour of metal.

Dis-advantages: Most visible type of braces

3. Lingual Braces

4. Clear aligners

Lingual braces are the same as metal traditional braces, except that these brackets and arch-wires are fixed on the inside of the upper and lower teeth.

Aligner or clear braces consist of a series of 18 to 30 custommade, mouth guard-like clear plastic aligners. The aligners are removable and are replaced every two weeks during which teeth move into pre-planned positions.

Advantage: Invisible from outside Dis-advantages: Difficult to clean; considerably more expensive; not appropriate for severe cases; can be more uncomfortable at first; regular adjustments take longer and are more difficult than with traditional braces.

Advantage: Almost invisible; Patient can temporarily remove the aligned to eat anything Dis-advantages: Will not work for serious dental problems; only available for adults and teens, not children; more expensive option; can be easily lost and costly to replace; treatment may potentially take longer than quoted. Some inter-dental tooth stripping may be required to create space for teeth to align in place.

Previously the idea of having braces was associated with a stigma. Today it has almost become fashionable to have braces done. This is simply because everyone would like to have their teeth straight and look their best. Technologies also help to make orthodontic treatment more appealing for children, teens

and a growing number of adults. Ask your dentist!

EDITOR’S NOTE

Dr Jean Paul Demajo is a Dental and Implant Surgeon, trained in London working in private practice in Malta 70


BANKING

Malta Business Review

FIMBank organises educational seminar for shareholders By Special Correspondent

FIMBank recently hosted its local shareholders to a seminar during which participants were given an overview of the Group’s global activities as well as the range of trade finance products and services it provides. This Information Session was held in collaboration with the Malta Association of Small Shareholders and was supported by the Malta Stock Exchange. In his opening address to the event, Dr John C. Grech, Chairman of the FIMBank Group, referred to the collaboration between FIMBank plc and the Malta Association of Small Shareholders. Dr Grech explained that “FIMBank was one of the first listed companies to open its doors to the Association. We are committed to the protection of shareholders’ rights and their equal treatment. We are also always looking to keep open, extend and diversify the channels of communication with all our shareholders, as well as ensuring that the wider community of Maltese shareholders is kept abreast of developments at FIMBank”.

a traditional business that is at the heart of global commerce. It is the expertise and focus at FIMBank on delivering clientspecific solutions that has given FIMBank a reputation of being a significant and important trade finance provider globally. This is one of the more distinguishing features of FIMBank. I trust that this demonstration of our capabilities and solution orientation came across in today’s presentations”.

u p to €5,000

FIMBank’s presentations were delivered by Dennis Camilleri and Lorna Pillow, senior officers in the Trade and Commodity Finance and Forfaiting businesses respectively. Camilleri explained the nature of FIMBank’s trade finance business, while Pillow gave an overview of forfaiting and elaborated on the advantages of this alternative financing solution. The presentation of the CEO of the Malta Stock Exchange, Eileen V. Muscat focused on recent market trends and developments, as well as new opportunities that will be available to local investors and SMEs.

stamp d u t y e x e m p t i o n for fi r s t t i m e b u y e r s

FIMBank’s CEO Murali Subramanian expressed satisfaction at the high turnout for this session: “Trade Finance is

#Budget2016

Finally, the PRO of the Malta Association of Small Shareholders, Tarcisio Barbara thanked FIMBank for organising the educational activity. Mr Barbara explained that since its foundation MASS has evolved considerably. It is now “fulfilling its mission of increasing financial literacy” and knowledge of MSElisted companies among local shareholders and investors. MBR

All Rights Reserved | © Copyright 2015

www.maltabusinessreview.net

71


Malta Business Review

BANKING

Bank of Valletta Group reports profits of € 117.9 million for FY 2015

The Bank of Valletta Group registered a pre-tax profit of €117.9 million for the Financial Year ended 30 September 2015 (FY2015), an increase of 13% when compared to the figure of €104.1 million registered in the previous year. The results were announced by Bank of Valletta Chairman John Cassar White during a press conference held at BOV Centre in Santa Venera. Mr Cassar White also announced that the Board of Directors is recommending a final gross dividend of €0.085 per share which, taken together with the gross interim dividend of €0.039 per share paid in May 2015, makes a total gross dividend of €0.124 per share for FY2015. If approved, the total dividend will be 2.6 times covered by the profits for the year. The Bank’s Chairman stressed that the Board recognised that this year’s payout ratio is lower than that for FY2014 but this was deemed necessary in order to continue strengthening the Bank’s capital base in preparation for more onerous supervisory requirements. The Board is also recommending, effective 15 January 2016, a bonus issue of 1 share for every 12 shares held. The bonus issue will be funded by a capitalisation of reserves amounting to €30 million. This will increase the permanent capital from €360 million to €390 million. The Bank’s Chairman spoke about the local and the international economic situation highlighting the challenges experienced by the Bank during the year under review which was characterised by depressed international economic scenario and persisting low interest rates. 72

The Chairman also gave a detailed analysis of the Bank results for FY15 highlighting that:

• The core operating profit of €91.3 million, which is stated before fair value movements and share of profit from associates, registered an increase of 4% over the previous year’s figures (FY2014: €87.9 million); • The net interest margin went up by 15% to €144.7 million, in spite of the persistently low interest rate scenario. The increase was primarily due to higher volumes in Treasury business and preference for short term deposits; • The net commission and trading income registered a year-on-year increase of 17%, as a consequence of positive performance across all the main business lines of the Bank; • Operating costs rose by 16% this year mainly due to the introduction of a new regulatory reporting regime and the contributions towards the Deposit Guarantee

Scheme and the Single Resolution Fund; • Deposits increased by more than €1.4 billion to reach a total of €8.6 billion. The increase was attributable to all sectors including the small retail depositors; • Loans and Advances stood at €4.3 billion at the year end, an increase of 4% since September 2014. This was attributed primarily to a higher demand for home

loans, as first time buyers benefited from Government concessions on stamp duty; The Common Equity Tier 1 (CET1) ratio stood at 11.3%, while the Group’s liquidity position remained strong with an advances to deposit ratio of 50%. While expressing satisfaction for the results achieved by the Bank, Mr Cassar White emphasised the need for the Group to “remain vigilant and cautious” particularly when referring to the anticipated seismic change in banking supervision brought about by the Single Supervisory Mechanism. He reiterated that, in this context, the strengthening of its capital levels will remain a priority for Bank of Valletta. The BOV Group CEO Charles Borg explained how the Bank’s deliberately prudent funding, liquidity and capital ratio policies have stood the Bank well through challenging times. “The Bank will continue to actively manage both sides of its balance sheet in a prudent and conservative manner, whilst seeking to meet the demands and expectations of both depositors and borrowers. Concurrently, we are acutely aware of our responsibilities to other stakeholder groups, including our people and the community at large.”


ACCOUNTANCY

Malta Business Review

Striving for Excellence By Chiara Taggiasco

DConsulta is an established Malta-based boutique consultancy firm. More than that, however, DConsulta are geared towards becoming an extension of their customer’s organisation, offering assistance and advice on a range of issues which are core to the success of your business. Chinese wisdom is world renowned and one of its prime examples of its distilled knowledge lies in the proverb “Do not fear a long road”. With this maxim in mind, DConsulta has recently launched its revamped website, www.dconsulta.eu, which is a call for SMEs, private and public entities, voluntary organisations and local councils, to look forward to the future and aspire to start afresh. The recently revamped DConsulta website, apart from being fresh is truly reflective of the current firm flavour and harnesses the latest technology to render it siutable for today’s gadgets such as tablets and smartphones. For DConsulta the website is not only a window on its capabilities and service offering, but also a possibility to interact with clients, suppliers and people at large. It outlines its service offering in the fields of accountancy, finance and tax, company service provision, EU funding and business growth services. DConsulta is therefore a fully registered accountancy firm offering a tailormade and friendly services offering accounting, VAT compliance and advisory and Direct Taxation compliance and advisory. It is also duly registered as a company service

provider with the MFSA, thus able to offer company incorporation, company secretarial, back office and directorship services. Through its affiliated firms it can also direct its clients towards the setting of fiduciary relationship, setting of of trusts or private foundations in Malta.

The firm in fact was involved in the project and financial management of ESF projects for Government, ERDF projects for local councils and also ItaliaMalta projects However, the firm’s CEO, Michael Debono, is proud of the introduction of the d Update, its aptly named blog, which will be the focal point of interaction with clients and potential clients, for this dynamic accounting and consultancy firm, with an indisputable reputation in the EU funding field. Over the last years the firm has provided sterling services to local councils, enterprises and voluntary organisations, in the field of EU funding, be it at the application phase or the subsequent phases of project or financial

management. The firm in fact was involved in the project and financial management of ESF projects for Government, ERDF projects for local councils and also Italia-Malta projects for Government Ministries and Entities. Its consulting arm is there to assist you not to fear the long road towards setting up your business or embarking on a growth path, thus benefitting from various incentives and schemes that are from time to time available to you. Our constant task is to keep ourselves abreast of developments in this field so as to be able to assist organisations out there which are interested in tapping into these schemes or opportunities. Therefore if you would like to embark on a growth path for your entity or would like to find a siutable accountancy firm for your needs, do contact our firm for a meeting followed up by a free quote. The launch of the new DConsulta website coincided with Budget 2016 and this was no coincidence. See how you can benefit from the grants, incentives and fiscal advantages emanating from Budget 2016 by contacting the DConsulta team. MBR

All Rights Reserved | © Copyright 2015

www.maltabusinessreview.net

73


Malta Business Review

NEWSMAKERS

We should not be afraid to take on Malta’s economic challenges Minister for Finance Edward Scicluna “Malta’s economic future is indeed bright, but not without risks,” said Minister for Finance, Edward Scicluna. “Our economy and its operators have reached a very high level of sophistication. Therefore, we should not be afraid to take on the challenges that lie ahead.” He was addressing the Institute of Financial Services (IFS)’s Annual Dinner at the Hilton, on Friday 20th November 2015. Referring to the last report on Malta by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which noted that the solid economic growth being experienced in Malta is due to policy intitives, Minister Scicluna spoke about how the last four national Budgets have contributed to Malta’s economic success by identifying and addressing those weaknesses mainly on the supply side of the economy - that were limiting the country’s potential. These included the hight cost of electricity production and a high reliance on oil, together with a lack of a plan for the energy sector; very low targets with regard to labour force participation; a worrying degree of illiteracy and drop-outs; and institutional factors such as a lack of desicion making, delays in the law courts, and a public procurement process that leaves much to be desired. Another very important issue that had to be tackled was the high level of taxation on the middle-income bracket. Tax on work was higher than warranted, so the Government turned to

structural reforms to bring about higher economic growth. “We took the opportunity that there was a promise taken by the previous government to cut income tax and we tied it to a shift towards a greater emphasis on excise tax,” Minister Scicluna said. “We did this for three consecutive years, costing €42m, and in the last Budget we went further by another €11m, reducing the tax wedge on work and placing Malta at the top on the list of countries with the least tax burden on work.” The Finance Minister said there are several other challenges ahead, such as that of access to credit for SMEs. Because of the current regulatory landscape and new risks, many SMEs will not be getting the credit they used to get in the past. The Minister mentioned the possibility of schemes through which the European Investment Bank or Malta’s national development bank will make up for that kind of risk. Enterprises should also be encouraged and incentivised to move their capital not just into banks but consider the wider picture. IFS President, Mr Kenneth Micallef, and Central Bank of Malta Governor, Josef Bonnici, also addressed the event. Amongst the distinguished guests was the Commonwealth’s Deputy Secretary General (Economic and Social Development), Mr Deodat Maharaj. MBR Photo: DOI - Clifton Fenech All Rights Reserved | © Copyright 2015

Minister for Finance Edward Scicluna

During the conference

José Herrera addresses the Malta iGaming Seminar (MiGS) Malta iGaming Seminar Parliamentary Secretary, José Herrera addressed the seventh edition of the Malta iGaming Seminar held at the Corinthia St George’s Bay Hotel this morning. During this Seminar, which consisted mainly of an exhibition of various stakeholders, master classes and workshops delivered by speakers and gaming experts coming from all parts of the world, José Herrera said that this industry is a major contributor to the economy, two-thirds of which is accounted for by remote gaming. “This seminar is one of the most important events in the gaming calendar. Last year this conference attracted more than 400 delegates from Europe, America, Asia and the Middle East. MiGS 2015 is bigger and better than last year and I am delighted with the high profile discussions and presentations. This augurs well for the future of this industry, which we are proud of. I am convinced that MiGS – this year more than the last - will leave a positive impact on the gaming industry, considering the 74

different coversations, master classes and speakers lined up. This event will also serve as an opportunity for networking and as a showcase for those seeking employment. Our mission is to support the industry and we will do our utmost to facilitate its growth in a responsible way.” Malta was the first country in Europe to identify this market eleven years ago. It enjoys a competitive advantage when compared to other jurisdictions, as it offers a favourable climate in both regulations and tax – all approved by the European Union – which continues to attract iGaming companies here. The remote gaming sector is a dynamic and fast-growing sector in Malta. It is regulated by the Remote Gaming Regulations which is a subsidiary legislation to the main Act regulating all forms of gambling in Malta. Malta’s online gaming regulatory regime is based on fair, responsible, safe and secure provision of gaming services and seeks to ensure that the three main pillars of gaming, namely (i) the fairness

José Herrera of games, (ii) the protection of minors and vulnerable persons and (iii) the prevention of crime, fraud and money laundering, are safeguarded. Dr Herrera also mentioned the Gaming Academy, an academy which will seek to bridge the skill gap in the Maltese workforce within the gaming industry. “However, if want to succeed further and bring more work, I believe that we need to tackle some very important issues, among them the workforce - and that is why we will soon launch the gaming academy. On this point I am pleased to announce that the authority, together with the government, is proposing a revised and consolidated regulatory framework, the results of which will help provide more consistent, evidencebased and progressive governance of the gaming sector. This new framework will contribute towards further growth.” MBR Photo: DOI - Pierre Sammut All Rights Reserved | © Copyright 2015


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Malta Business Review Issue 15  

Malta Business Review Issue 15

Malta Business Review Issue 15  

Malta Business Review Issue 15

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