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PROPERTY & LIFE MAGAZINE Property, Business, Investments & Lifestyles

Issue 04

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEWS Extending the Brand p. 16

COVER STORy Interview with Sara Grech, Chairman and CEO of Engel & Vรถlkers Sara Grech p. 6 A Revolution in Maltese Real Estate

SpECIAL FEATURE polo Ralph Lauren presents Spring 2013 collection p. 25-28

Princess Bettina Wittgenstein talks about Co-branding

An Empowering Brand p. 8 A Corporate look at Laferla Insurance Agency Ltd

FOCUS Intelligent Future Homes p. 21 Controlling Your Home with a Smartphone



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Property & Life Magazine




There was an interesting article recently in Business Week about why so many people lie at work on the pretext of making the company better. If we are being honest, most of us have lied somewhere along the line. Studies show that the average Maltese tells two lies a day and most often at work. We do it to cover our butts and to make us feel better. “Most workplace lies are not actually anti-business,” says David Shulman, associate professor at Lafayette College and author of From Hire to Liar: The Role of Deception in the Workplace. “They are really in the interest of getting the job done.” I find that the problem is not the little or initial lies. It is what happens as that gray line is crossed and when lies may become a habit. It is usually the coverup, that gets people in the biggest trouble. So in reality where do these lies actually lead? What is worst, every employee may be forced to follow your example and your actions build the culture they all follow. Other research has exposed the greater dishonesty among people in senior positions who abuse the power of their authority. The 2009 movie “The Invention of Lying” depicted a world completely devoid of falsehoods. Everyone tells the complete and honest truth all the time, and everything a person says is taken at face value. The premise is humorous because it’s so contrary to the world we live in. Can you imagine admitting to your employee that you would have been reading his private e-mails?

06 A Revolution in Maltese Real Estate An accomplished Interview with accomplished entrepreneur Sara Grech who talks about the new market center concept Engel & Volkers Sara Grech SPECIAL FEATURE 25 Exclusive: Polo Ralph Lauren Spring 2013 Collection The latest and hottest Spring fashion courtesy of DeFort Ltd. EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEWS


We have just exited an election full of twists and turns, with a surprising outcome. We will stand behind the new government in its endeavours to lead our country. We firmly believe that the government should be there elected for the people, by the people and of the people. Lots of politicians may have lied to us in past, but let us look ahead and draw a line over the past as we beam to the future. Martin Vella Managing Editor

“Know your enemy and know yourself and you can fight a hundred battles without disaster”. Sun Tzu Disclaimer All rights reserved. No part of this work covered by the copyright may be reproduced or copied and reproduction in whole or part is strictly 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, publication or party should rely, or on any way act upon any part of the contents of this publication, whether that information is sourced from the website, magazine or related product without first obtaining consent from the editor. The opinions expressed in the Property & Life Magazine are those of the authors, and are not necessarily those of the editor or publisher.

08 An Empowering Brand A Corporate Interview with Mark Jr and Keith Laferla as we take a look at what makes this family-run insurance business unique 16 Extending the Brand A rare interview with Her Highness Princess Bettina Wittgenstein who aims to capture the Maltese luxury market for German firm Engel & Volkers


To some extent, we can be proud of our lies. Lying is considered a sign of intelligence and cognitive skill, because it takes some aptitude to recognise the way things are, and then create and present an alternative to that reality. And it’s a skill that some tend to exercise quite a bit that their entire work style becomes engulfed in lies and deceit. People lie because it works for the short term, thinking that they may avoid punishment. When lying ceases to work (when the lie is discovered) and has more drawbacks than perks, only then do some people realise their own falsehood and misdeeds. However, in the end, there is always a price to pay for those who think that they can get away with lying.

Issue 04

22 Authenticity & Emotion We talk with Eddie Woods, famous mariner, navigator, marine trader and entrepreneur who talks about the past, the present and shares his vision on the future 30 Leadership Perspectives An absorbing interview with Ivan Bartolo, CEO of 6PM FOCUS


20 Intelligent Homes Controlling your home from any Smartphone or tablet 37 Realising Perfect Beauty We visit the NEW Goldwell Saloon and meet up with Pat Vella, hairdresser par excellence 43 A Culture of Inclusion An interview with Allcare Insurance Managing Director Judith Galea

Publisher: Martin Vella Co-Publisher: Adrian Friggieri Technical Adviser: Marcelle D’Argy Smith Publication Manager: Martin Vella Advertising: 9926 0162; 9940 6743; email: Contributors: Aldo Cutajar, George Carol, Guillaume Dreyfuss, Sara Grech, Mark J Galea, Johan Ditz Lemche, Gilbert Schembri, Ruggiero Vilardi Special Thanks: HE Princess Bettina Wittgenstein; Sara Grech; BPC; HSBC Bank; Xara Palace Relais & Châteaux; Art Director: Ian Farrugia Content: Martin Vella Print Production: Union Print Co. Ltd. Office: PLM Group, North Quay Apartments, Fl 4, St Paul’s Street, St Paul’s Bay Telephone: (+356) 99260162 


Property & Life Magazine

Cover Story

Issue 04



ara Grech and Comm.Raymond Bugeja have decided to bring together their experiences, skills and resources in establishing family businesses in real estate, catering, retail and more. They plan to do this both in Malta where they mostly reside, and possibly in London, where they plan to have a second home. Their shared passion is to offer high-quality brands and products in family - and lifestyle-related customer segments. Clients walking into any of their lounges (which international clients will immediately recognise for their unique look) are met by a Concierge. The Concierge, having identified the client’s needs, calls in one of the many expert agents based in the market centre. PLM: With the co-branding enterprise Sara Grech has done with Engel & Völkers, how will you address the wishes of a discerning international clientele and what does it mean to have access to a broad and upscale customer network? SG: You have chosen the key word - ‘discerning’. In Malta, properties, like restaurants, are abundant. We aim to offer good properties at the right market price. This places the emphasis on ‘listing’ rather than simply selling, being selective as to the properties and their prices that one puts on the database. We will manage the expectations of sellers/landlords and those of buyers/tenants – thus procuring a quicker sale/letting to the satisfaction of both parties. Giving the local offerings access to an international client network will of itself bring more buyers/tenants but on internationally competitive terms. This will give the local market a sounder and more sustainable footing. All staff and agents have access to the same database available to the entire international Engel & Völkers network of shops and clients. PLM: How do the services provided by Engel & Völkers Sara Grech encompass the brokerage of residential property and commercial real estate, and how is it focused on the prestigious premium market segment? SG: Although Engel & Völkers Sara Grech will list all properties which are of good quality and priced in line with the market, the focus of the Engel & Völkers brand is on mid- to high-end offerings in both the residential and commercial sectors. The business model, systems and training of agents

Editor’s Note

is geared to passion, competence and exclusivity – the three pillars of the brand. The considerable and on-going investment in people, systems and the brand is aimed at focusing attention on quality offerings and quality clients. This focus is further strengthened by the family concept – all lounges are our own and are not given out to sub-franchisees who compete with each other. This gives us a comptetitve advantage to other franchise realtors on the islands.

“The business model, systems and training of agents is geared to passion, competence and exclusivity – the three pillars of the brand”

PLM: What value added benefit does the presence of Engel & Völkers Sara Grech offices located in prime strategic locations throughout Malta offer? SG: The market centre concept allows the housing of the agents in one location, which brings all the benefits of togetherness in terms of communication, operational synergies and overhead cost containment. As a result it provides the right economics for a more extensive coverage of Malta and Gozo through smaller lounges which nonetheless contain all of the look and feel of the brand in a uniform manner throughout. The lounges are connected to the same database as the market centre and the entire Engel &Völkers international network and are staffed by Concierges who are in immediate contact with the agents, who are experts within their own personal choice of farming areas.

Sara Grech: Ms Grech’s father, Alexander Grech, set up the first ever real-estate agency in Malta in 1962. After completing her studies overseas, Ms Grech set up her own real-estate agency, Sara Grech Ltd. The company has 5 strategically located outlets in Malta and has 60 employees. The brand has established itself as a leader in Malta, operating in the sale and letting of residential and commercial properties. Sara Grech Ltd obtained ISO 9001 certification in 2010. A destination management company La Krosse was formed in 2010. Ms Grech attended college at Mount Carmel Academy in New Orleans, has a diploma in hospitality management from the University of San Francisco and has an MBA in general and strategic management from the Maastricht School of Management. She is the Honorary Consul General for the Philippines in Malta. She is on the Board of the Malta Federation of Estate Agents, a member of the Malta Chamber of Commerce and a Board member of the Malta Guide Dogs Foundation. 6 


Cover Story

Property & Life Magazine Issue 04

background is in real estate, Ray’s is in finance. His ventures in restaurants and more recently yachting were driven more by events. But, like me, he will put all his efforts into making a success of whatever he gets involved with. We have strongly complementary skills which we put to use in a synergic manner across all businesses. The choice of Engel & Völkers Yachting came naturally when we were looking at Engel & Völkers Real Estate, (a) to take on whatever Engel & Völkers wishes to offer in Malta and (b) because they are two lifestyle offerings which can gain from crossmarketing. It is not difficult to imagine some foreign property buyers wishing to buy also a yacht and sometimes vice-versa. Apart from that, Malta has the largest shipping register in Europe and offers idyllic conditions for yachting.

through the togetherness generated by the market centre where all agents are located and work together, giving me the opportunity of meeting all agents on a daily basis and (c) through the team leaders who take the CEO’s culture to the agents under their leadership. All this will be enforced by having regular contact with all team leaders and indeed with all agents. The strength of the one brand and core values throughout will also sustain the one, family culture.

PLM: Which key areas should advocates for the real estate industry be addressing? SG: To name but a few:

“We share a strong liking for everything to do with lifestyle and this is the common denominator across all of our businesses, present and future”

i. Quality, rather than quantity developments, in terms of both market positioning and living space ii. A far more operator-sensitive MEPA as is the case with the MFSA for financial services

PLM: How does the partnership between you and your fiancé Raymond Bugeja bring together your wealth of experiences, skills and resources, with the launching of the Engel & Völkers Yachting Lounge in Portomaso? SG: The partnership cuts across all of our respective businesses – from real estate to yachting to restaurants and to other developments we are considering. We share a strong liking for everything to do with lifestyle and this is the common denominator across all of our businesses, present and future. While my

iii. Less stringent rules on foreign investors – there should be freedom of movement as with tourists - one takes care of abuses through regulation and control of the industry, not through discrimination on investors

PLM: Is it difficult for customers to understand that higher rates most often offer more value? SG: This is the same concept as that of ‘false economy’ or ‘ you get what you pay for’. We intend to market good quality properties at the right market price throughout.This is in the best interest of both sellers/landlords and buyers/tenants. The key will therefore become that whatever property fits one’s budget, it is a good buy/let. This will ensure a quicker, satisfactory deal for both parties. In this way the market will thrive and the concepts of price/quality and value for money should apply at whatever price one is paying.

iv. More embellishment of common areas to compensate for urbanisation v. For yachting, the much greater availability of berths PLM: As the brand Engel & Völkers Sara Grech expands, will it be difficult to transfer the relationships you have built when your customers want you? SG: Any growing organisation needs to adjust its business model so that the client does not lose the personalised attention. Clearly, I cannot continue to be in direct contact with all clients as this growth takes place. We are addressing this in two ways (a) recruiting top team leaders who will constitute a senior management tier and will be able to give the same personalised attention to clients that I give today and (b) training the agents so that they are as autonomous as possible in closing a deal, under the guidance of their team leader.

PLM: What is the value in being part of the Engel & Völkers Sara Grech brand? Is there coordination among properties in terms of how you market? SG: The value is being part of an extensive, international family with its three core values of passion, competence and exclusivity. There is one owner, one brand, one systems infrastructure, one database and one training programme across the 37 countries (and growing). The value is being focused on good properties at the right market price across all tiers of the market offerings. We market all properties in the same manner – whatever their positioning along the price scale – with transparency, factual accuracy and a highly professional service to both parties in the deal.

PLM: How do you maintain a family culture within the organisation? SG: In three ways (a) through the fact all lounges are our own and therefore belong to the same family and do not compete with each other, (b) 


Property & Life Magazine

Corporate INterview

Issue 04

An Empowering

Brand The highest standards of service to customers are to be reflected in all of Laferla’s Group company affairs; in the calibre of the staff engaged, in the appearance of the offices and in the maintaining of a competitive edge through continued investment in modern technology, and particularly with emerging second-generation managers Mark Jr and Keith, who embody the family spirit of innovation, commitment and excellence.

Firm Brief


aferla Insurance Agency Limited is a leader in insurance and advisory services. Laferla customers are united by their shared values and an unwavering commitment to quality. The closely knit family firm provides individual and commercial clients, in Malta and within the Mediterranean Basin, with high calibre international professional insurance services and expertise.

PLM: What makes this brand so special? Mark Jr: Strength. Stability. Longevity. We have been serving the insurance industry for almost 30 years, the company has maintained a fundamental commitment to helping people build sound secure futures and to providing customers with strategies, products and services to help them build and protect their wealth in a sustainable manner. When one goes to purchase insurance, they yearn for strength, which we provide and it is reflected in our philosophy, together with reliability and good service. And that is why the brand is so special. PLM: How do you differentiate among the leading companies on the product side and how innovative is Laferla’s culture? Keith: Laferla Insurance Agency Limited has always been a leader in product innovation. Today more than ever our industry needs substantive innovation to help clients navigate market conditions. We have developed new, innovative products which are specifically designed to address clients’ needs in their respective

environments. We have managed this despite market volatility and adverse economic conditions. There is a lot of innovation now but innovation on its own is not enough – you need ways to deliver it and help your customers understand it, and we are well-positioned to do that through our strong investment in technology and 24/7 availability. It is our seven day settlement promise, which is the pinnacle of the service we offer our clients. When they submit a valid claim together with all supporting documentation, they are guaranteed to have their claim settled within seven days, and we are the only insurance firm on the island to provide such a promise.

“We want our brand to reside in the hearts and minds of current and prospective customers”

PLM: You have some of the largest companies in Malta as clients, so what is your top-end strategy? Keith: We have an unparalleled brand, serving our clients’ needs and wants. But our topend strategy does not only orbit around the servicing of great companies - as organizations per se, but rather the entrepreneurs behind the respective companies we call clients; because, like our own company and our team, these businessmen and women aim to grow into the future market-leaders of tomorrow. Mark Jr: Our top-end strategy is simple – provide top-end quality.

PLM: Is the business making the necessary strides today in diversity and inclusion?

PLM: How has technology impacted the way you deliver products and information to your customers?

Keith: Diverse teams are either incredible or horrible. You need to have the right culture to bring all kinds of different ideas to the table. If you don’t have that culture, then you will simply find yourself with a bunch of unappreciated ideas and a demoralised team. So our strength lies with the mix of talent we have and the maintaining of the culture that makes that mix work effectively.

Mark Jr: Our customers want access to the company through multiple channels: researching products on-the-go on their tablets or smartphones; contacting us to request an estimate or for a claim; or talking to an advisor. So our mindset is to match what customers are doing. That requires some firepower behind the scenes to make sure everybody understands what the customer needs.

Mark Laferla JR Holds the post of Assistant General Manager, responsible for Motor, Marine and Non-Motor business on private and commercial classes. Holds the title of ACII Chartered Insurer from the Chartered Insurance Institute, UK. Enjoys good food, cooking and travelling. Is a licensed private pilot and is keen on all forms of aviation. 8 


Property & Life Magazine

Corporate INterview

Issue 04

Keith: We are also exploring some exciting projects on the marketing side. Furthermore, from an operational stand-point, we are looking into enhancing our clients’ experience by improving on the concept of straight-through electronic-processing. The use of various technologies allows the customer to take advantage of an increased accessibility and a better end-to-end experience. On the backend, technology is an important part of the efficiency we promote and promise. PLM: Can you guarantee full security for customers? Mark Jr: We do guarantee peace of mind to all those who entrust us with the responsibility of securing their financial stability in the event of an insurance claim. PLM: How critical is the brand to delivering growth as you look at the challenging times we are experiencing? Keith: In my view, a strong and reputable brand is a critical component to enable growth in today’s highly demanding market. We want our brand to reside in the hearts and minds of current and prospective customers, which, once accomplished, will drive the continued

interest and need for our products and services. In an uncertain and changing market, our brand must be consistent and reflect a predictable customer experience. This consistency gives our customers confidence in their decision to select Laferla Insurance Agency Limited over any other insurance provider.


LAFERLA Insurance Agency Limited is today one of the leading private insurance organisations in Malta covering risks within the Mediterranean basin and beyond. It is backed by sound financial investments, professional staff and strong local and overseas connections. The office standards of the Group only reflect the quality of professional service for which the LAFERLA Organisation has built a reputation.

“Today more than ever our industry needs substantive innovation to help clients navigate market conditions”

This professional set-up, which is today recognised by leading international insurance underwriters and brokers alike, guarantees that the LAFERLA Insurance Group is in a unique position to provide any client, however huge his business may be, with the highest order of professional insurance service. LAFERLA Insurance Agency Limited are agents for:

PLM: As the company has grown in size and scale, how have you made sure not to lose that innovative edge?

Middlesea Insurance p.l.c. on all classes of General Insurance Business (Marine and Non-Marine Insurance), including Motor, Home, Travel, Private Medical, Commercial and Industrial risks as well as Marine Cargo and Pleasure Craft Insurances.

Mark Jr: The company has grown steadily over the period of almost 30 years, by maintaining its personal touch with all clients and constantly investing in the latest technology and adopting cutting-edge methods. We are never stagnant. We set the bar high and we achieve our goals. Upon achieving those goals, we set the bar even higher. That’s how we never lose our innovative edge.

LAFERLA Holdings Limited is a Tied Insurance Intermediary of: MSV Life p.l.c. for Individual Life Assurance Middlesea Insurance p.l.c. for Group Life Assurance Tel: (+356) 21224405 / 21246340 / 21240828 | 204A | Old Bakery Street | Valletta VLT 1423 | Malta

Keith Laferla Holds the post of Assistant General Manager, responsible for the Health Insurance Department, Marketing and IT. Holds the title of ACII Chartered Insurer from the Chartered Insurance Institute, UK. Enjoys cooking, travelling and sports. Keith is also a member of White Hart Hockey Club. 


Presenting a device that inspires

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BOV top entrepreneur awards 2012

Property & Life Magazine Issue 04

Innovation & Inspire by Geroge Carol

Following the success of last year’s edition of the Top Entrepreneur Of the Year Awards, Circle Events Malta launched the BOV Entrepreneur of the Year Awards 2013, together with The Economic Update.


hese prestigious awards acknowledge the vital contributions made by business executives and companies to our economy at both local and international levels. A Gala Dinner Event will be held at the Westin Dragonara Resort on Friday May 10th 2013.

ROCS Group Directors Colin Aquilina and Rachel Vella together with ROCS Group staff

The aim of the award is to publically recognise all entrepreneurs within our shores whilst highlighting the exceptional contribution done by specific individuals via Category Award winners and Grand Award winner. As the economic update begins its 2013 quest for the Malta’s most innovative entrepreneurs, we hope you will share the vision and nominate someone in your place of work, or even yourself, to be included among the next generation of business leaders.

Alfred Attard and Kenneth Micallef with partners and VIP guests

Guests attending the Gala dinner held at the Grand Hotel Excelsior 2012

Mr & Mrs Angelo Xuereb

Alexander Bonello and partner

Entry process, voting and judging From February through April nominee profiles and pictures will be published on the BOV Top Entrepreneur of the Year Awards monthly Special Features. Voting for nominees is done via The Economic Update readers through accounting for 40% of the voting weight, whilst an appointed panel of judges will account for the other 60%. Joe Cutajar and Ruth Vella

All nominees will be seated on tables of eight which would include the nominee together with his/her business partners, colleagues, family and friends. During the four course plated dinner, entertainment will be provided via stand-up comedian Geoff Whiting, the show’s compere, and will feature international choreography dance, including a hair and fashion show with evening gowns. Sponsors will then assign the awards to the category winners with BOV providing the climax of the evening through the presentation of the BOV Top Entrepreneur of the Year – Grand Award Winner 2013.

Categories 2013 1. BOV Top Female Entrepreneur of the Year 2013 2. BOV Top Male Entrepreneur of the Year 2013 3. BOV Top Young Female Entrepreneur of the Year 2013 4. BOV Top Young Male Entrepreneur of the Year 2013 5. BOV Award for Excellence (NEW) 6. BOV The Grand Award Winner (‘Young’ category indicates any individual below the age of 30)

For further details please contact: Margaret Brincat M: 9940 6743 | E: | W: 


Property & Life Magazine


Issue 04

HSBC Emerging Markets Index Broad-based slowdown in emerging markets growth in February Key points

HSBC Emerging Markets Index: 52.3 (prior 53.8) Weaker increases in output across China, India and Brazil Future output expectations improve The HSBC Emerging Markets Index (EMI), a monthly indicator derived from the PMI™ surveys, fell from 53.8 in January to 52.3 in February. That was the lowest figure since August 2012 and indicated a moderation in economic growth in global emerging markets. Data broken down by broad sector showed that the slowdown in the pace of expansion was broad-based across service providers and manufacturers. Goods production rose at the slowest rate since November, while services activity growth eased to a sixmonth low. Among the largest economies covered, growth rates slowed in China, India and Brazil in February. Moreover, softer increases in output were evident in both the manufacturing and services sectors of these countries (except for India, were goods production growth accelerated). New business growth in emerging markets slowed to a six-month low in February, and was also weaker than the trend shown over the course of 2012. All four BRIC economies registered slower increases in new business since January. Meanwhile, employment rose at the weakest rate in three months. The rate of input price inflation in emerging markets accelerated to a ten-month high in February, with broadly similar increases seen in manufacturing and services. Meanwhile, prices charged for goods and services rose for the sixth successive month, albeit at a modest rate.

Business expectations The HSBC Emerging Markets Future Output Index is a new series tracking firms’ expectations for activity in 12 months’ time. The Index rose for the second month running in February, to its highest since May 2012. This was largely driven by improving sentiment in the manufacturing sector, where the Future Output Index was the highest in 11 months of data collection to date. Business expectations at service providers were the strongest in three months.




Property & Life Magazine Issue 04

Miss World Malta 2013


wenty-five contestants where chosen to be the finalist to represent different localities in Malta and Gozo will contest in Miss World Malta which is due to be held on the 27th April at The Hilton. Sue Rossi & Claudia Calleja under the organization of Modelle International will be responsible for organizing this local prestigious event. Auditions have started few months ago by interviewing different girls which finally were selected as finalists to take part in the final night. It was most important that all participants selected by having background of education and good personality. Miss World Jersey Ltd organizers of Miss World pageant will only select the winner by choosing good values and personality winner. This year Modelle International will be also organising a charity event under “Beauty with a Purpose” since Miss World is also well known for helping World wild children’s charities and Variety Clubs International. This was created by Julia Morley “Chairman of Miss World Jersey Ltd” 26 years ago. All monies raised from tickets sales or donations of the charity events are entirely donated to the underprivileged and handicapped children. All this year’s participants will be involved in taking part in this event later on during the month of May. The contestants will have the opportunity to appear on the Fashion & Beauty TV Programme “Miss World Malta – Indonasia edition” presented by Claudia Dalli and produced by Modelle International. The program will also featured on Net TV presenting various photoshoots and other education features related to “Fashion & Beauty”. The highlights of this event will be the final night of Miss World Malta were the winner will be selected to represent Malta in the finals of Miss World this year to be held in Indonasia, with Bali and Jakarta chosen as joint hosts. It will be the first time that a Miss World event has been held in Indosanis and will meet more than130 other countries for the largest Beauty Pageant held for the last past 62 years.

A Unique Quintet of Flutes


altese and British Flautist join forces to form a unique quintet of flutes. Lead by the international and distinguished flautist Andrea Kuypers and Maltese foremost flautist Silvio Zammit, the Quintet of flutes will be giving a sparkling performance at Palazzo de Piro, Mdina on Tuesday, 2 April 2013 at 8pm. The event is being organized by Barocco Foundation in collaboration with Palazzo de Piro, with the kind support of Bank of Valletta. The tickets are on sale for €25 per person. Bookings are available at Palazzo de Piro and The Xara Palace Relais & Chateaux or by phoning 21 450560 or e-mailing events@ or contact Barocco Foundation on 7968 0952 or website: www.

Crimsonwing plc Interim Directors’ Statement


rimsonwing has continued to maintain very good progress on sales and service delivery across all its markets. Like-for-like sales to end January 2013 are up 19 percent at €14.91m (end January 2012 - €12.57m). As a result the Group’s second half-year profit performance will be broadly similar to the first half-year. During the period, we have continued to maintain our investment in our selected solution propositions: - In Dynamics we have become one of the first companies to achieve Certified Software Advisor status for Dynamics AX solutions. This is a level above Gold status which requires an additional investment of at least 15 certified consultants, as well as demonstrable industry and technical expertise. - In eCommerce, Magento (our open source solution choice now owned by eBay) has introduced a new accreditation programme for partners. Today we have the largest number of accredited developers in Europe. - Also in eCommerce we have invested heavily in our Intershop Enterprise solutions as we skill-up to take on the latest product versions. Because of these investments, our increasing scale of operation, and our complete business offerings (from back office through to multi-channel), we are experiencing very good market demand, and particularly those of an international nature. Additionally, and in order to keep building annuity revenues, we have introduced a new proposition whereby our clients can commit to working with us over several years directly with our Solution Centre based in Malta. This provides them with the level of control and specific skills they can find hard to acquire in their local markets, as well as a very competitively priced and well managed service. We call this proposition ‘YourTeam’. As well as building these longer term commitments, we are offering this service in our core competencies so that we can scale our capability in Malta – enhancing our attractiveness there as an employer and offering new career opportunities. There is no question that our Malta location, so successful in servicing our clients in Western Europe and beyond, is a very well received location for the YourTeam service, and we expect to announce our first clients in the next quarter.” 


building restoration

Property & Life Magazine Issue 04

Decorative Paints and Plaster Finishes

Decorative Paints and Plaster Finishes

Today, lime-based mixes are the logical choices for restoring buildings External Plaster, Paints and Insulation Systems

by Ruggiero Vilardi

Malta is currently going through a crucial and historical transition in the construction industry in particular in the area of building restoration. It is a time during which it is inevitable for one to evaluate and contemplate the decisions that will need to be taken in this regard in the near future. Decisions which unfortunately were not given their due consideration in the past.


oday, lime-based mixes are the logical choices for restoring buildings. The reason being that high lime content mortars and plasters are compatible with historic materials. In addition since mortars, plasters and stuccos have high levels of lime, they are vapour permeable and hence reduce the potential for damage due to water buildup in the wall. However most importantly, the use of lime-based products can replicate original building practices. An important factor that carefully needs to be evaluated when planning restoration of buildings, is cost as this will justify the works that need to be carried out, works that not only need to stand the test of time but also which need to add value to the final restored building.. In the past years, Bitmac Ltd, an established company in this sector, has specialised in this area and has today expanded its operations offering the market quality and certified building restoration products of the highest quality.

Bitmac today offers a range of materials and a variety of plasters for building restoration and renovation. These include : 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13.

Traditional Plasters Lime Based Plasters (Micro and Macro porous) Dehumidifying Plasters and different solutions Thermal Plasters Internal and External Insulation systems External Silicate and Siloxane Plaster Finishes Silicate and Siloxane Paints Internal Paints Decorative Paints A wide range of Adhesives Decorative Floor Tiles External Laminated Wooden Window Frames Waterproofing for various applications.

The company, also offers Professional Technical Assistance both for recommending the most suitable materials as well as advice on their usage and application. This service has been extended to the private sector as well as to applicators, designers, architects and engineers willing to apprehend new techniques and skills in this sector.

For more information or to set an appointment, call: Bitmac Ltd, on 21 41 8411 or email: 


Property & Life Magazine

interview of the month

Issue 04



ngel & Völkers is one of the world’s leading service companies specialised in the sale and leasehold of premium residential property, commercial real estate and yachts. With its licence system, Engel & Völkers is the only Germany-based firm to rank amongst the top 100 franchise companies worldwide. Around 520 residential property shops specialised in high-class real estate and 40 commercial offices brokering retail, office and industrial space, investment properties, multi-purpose apartment and office blocks and property portfolios offer both private and institutional clients a professionally tailored range of services. Leasing, sales, consultancy and valuations form the core competences of the staff of around 5,200 employees, specialised in all aspects of real estate transactions. The Company is currently operating in 37 countries over five continents. Intensive training schemes in its in-house real estate Academy and the high level of quality assurance governing its systematically structures service provision are key factors that account for the Company’s success. In 2012, Engel & Völkers was named the most valuable property brand in Germany in the category “Property broker” by the European for Real estate brand Observation (EU-GIMB) . The Engel & Völkers group, based in Hamburg, Germany, and one of the world’s leading real estate licensing companies specialising in the sale of high-end property, is now expanding in the Maltese market by co-branding with Sara Grech, a move which sees the realisation of a timecherished dream of Ms Grech’s to partner with a global company that shares her key business values of expertise, dedicated customer care, the highest standards and total discretion.

“As a leading broker of residential and commercial real estate on Malta, Sara Grech is specialised in catering to the wishes of a sophisticated, elite international clientele”

by Martin Vella This Spring Sara Grech, together with a European Aristocrat, is shaking up the local real estate market. Property & Life Magazine have been priviliged to witness the historical co-branding of Engel & Völkers Sara Grech, recently meeting with Her Highness Princess Bettina Wittgenstein, who aims to capture the Maltese market for German luxury firm Engel & Völkers. 16 


The entry of Engel & Völkers into the Maltese market also reflects the demands of its customers. I ask Princess Bettina how strong is the prestigious first-class real estate market and why is it so resilient? “We are seeing an increase in demand for high-end property in all sought-after regions around the world. In the case of premium real estate in very exclusive locations, we are expecting to see an ongoing rise in value in the future too, as the level of supply far exceeds the actual supply available. Many buyers regard prestigious homes in prime locations as an alternative investment offering security in light of the current period of unrest on the capital and financial markets. The general rule here is: location, location, location! The more exclusive the location, i.e. the less available homes there are in a particular location, the more secure the investment. Investing in a first-class property in a prime location will always be a good move. There is nothing you can do wrong as it were.” In Germany and across Europe, Engel & Völkers is one of the world’s largest licensors of high-end, residential real estate shops. So my next question is natural, “Are you surprised

interview of the month

Property & Life Magazine Issue 04

by the prices being received in the upper-end residential market, especially in the various new trendy markets?” “No, as the prices are rising more than anywhere else in extremely soughtafter locations. This is true for major cities and for the traditional markets in the Mediterranean, in Florida, in California’s prestigious beach resorts, and in the sought-after holiday regions of Germany, Austria and Switzerland. The desirable locations here are in short supply by their very nature, meaning that prices are governed by a sustained upward trend,” says Princess Bettina. The Group’s licensed partners broker luxury residential real estate in world’s most exclusive locations for numerous celebrities, businesspeople, top managers and also politicians. The demand for high-end second homes in Malta both from Europe and elsewhere has increased in the past few years. Engel & Völkers has witnessed this trend and so I ask Her Highness how does Engel & Völkers define their strategic business partnership with Sara Grech and what is the competitive advantage that Engel & Völkers Sara Grech bring to the local real estate market. She does not hesitate to answer, “Malta is a strategically important market for Engel & Völkers. The mild all-year-round Mediterranean climate, the stable political and economic situation, and the excellent flight connections all mean that international interest in premium properties on Malta is growing continuously. As a leading broker of residential and commercial real estate on Malta, Sara Grech is specialised in catering to the wishes of a sophisticated international clientele. I am very confident that we have found the perfect partner with her. Her experience and cross-sector expertise are of enormous value for our joint venture. The cooperation gives us the opportunity to offer the finest properties on Malta to our international clients. At the same time, Sara Grech can enjoy access to search clients and properties from our global network based in 37 countries.”

Engel & Völkers is a leader in market research. So how critical is it to be that trusted advisor? “By producing comparative studies, in-depth market reports and ranking lists, we deliver the necessary background knowledge and make

services. In the future, will there be the need for networking when there is so much now being done online? “Online media is of course a very important sales channel for us too. Our company is very strongly focused around digital platforms. The market here has to be regarded in a very differentiated way however. Personal consultancy and the discrete referral of clients in a select network are absolutely crucial in the premium segment. We deal with the wishes and aspirations of our clients with the greatest possible level of discretion. Very prestigious properties are often not brokered in the public domain at all. Rather, they are offered to a very small, bookmarked group of potential buyers.

sure that the property market is as transparent as it should be. In Germany and in many other parts of the world, we have become renowned as a very good partner for the purchase and sale of premium properties. Engel & Völkers stands for reliability and professionalism. The brand is recognised, accepted and reputed, and clients trust in our company. Sellers and buyers of firstclass homes go to a broker that they think has comprehensive market knowledge, and we can guarantee this based on our specialisation in our core markets,” says Princess Bettina.

“We have become renowned as a very good partner for the purchase and sale of premium properties. Engel & Völkers stands for reliability and professionalism” And how has pricing come back since the boom years between 2002 and 2006? “Let me put it this way: Property is the winner in the crisis. The economically turbulent times of recent years and the fears for monetary stability that have emerged as a result have triggered a strong worldwide trend towards the purchase of real estate. House prices are on the rise in almost all sought-after locations. The premium segment of the market has proven to be particularly stable, and this is generally true of locations where properties are scarce and therefore desirable. That’s why wealthy buyers remain willing to pay top prices for “trophy homes”, meaning topquality properties at prime residential addresses. This is not set to change in the future either,” Wittgenstein says. Engel & Völkers is one of the first German companies to show that Germany can not only export high technology, machinery and systems, but also exports top-quality

My last question is personal, “You have done countless deals. Does it still give you a thrill?” The managing director of Engel & Völkers global communications concludes, “I myself have not been involved in direct brokerage operations for many years, but as Head of Global Corporate Communication, I am in close contact and enjoy a dynamic exchange with our partners and property consultants. New record sales are witnessed almost on a daily basis, or we are commissioned with the brokerage of particularly outstanding properties. Our company has also managed to increase its revenues on an ongoing basis over recent years. I am of course delighted about the brokerage success of our network and the constant growth of the company!”


• Born in Munich, Germany • Studies in Business & Management in Munich • Studies in Art History in London • Since 1993 member of the Management of Engel & Völkers AG, initially responsible for castles and manor houses • 1994 until 2007 managing director of the publishing house Grund Genug (GG) • 1994 until today Head of Global Corporate Communication 



Product of the month

Property & Life Magazine Issue 04

Intelligent Future Homes

by George Carol

JMARTANS offer the JUNG KNX home systems which embeds your house in a network of intercommunication devices, regulated lighting, air conditioning, security and multimedia of its own accord. This optimises the use of energy and reduces operating costs. JMARTANS offset the cool appearance of the concrete and limestone traditional building, succeeding in creating a cosy atmosphere by offering the JUNG KNX system providing a big plus in convenience, security and economy both in private dwellings and commercial construction. All the house functions and numerous multimedia functions can be networked together and controlled ce ntr all y

and in the screen diagonal of 229 mm. The JMARTANS model could be a good indicator of what ‘Smart Remote’ app is all about. Everything in this German engineered product is regulated by KNX sensors which control shade and light, air quality and temperature as well as audio and entertainment.

with the KNX intelligent building system technology. The visualisation and evaluation of energy consumption, the Smart Metering, can also be implemented easily with KNX technology. The function of the individual components is determined by their programming, which can be changed and adapted at any time. What this means for the user is a convenient and flexible form of building technology that can be customised to meet his or her individual needs.

“ The JMARTANS model could be a good indicator of what ‘Smart Remote’ app is all about”

The finless KNX Smart Panel display for wall installation makes the control of modern KNX house technology simply more convenient. Used as the central control unit, the control and monitoring of light, blinds and shutters, heating and air-conditioning systems, alarm systems and multimedia is thus carried out from a central location. In addition, the Smart Panel has an integrated 1.3 megapixel digital camera, a highquality loudspeaker and a microphone. With elegant design frames in glass, aluminium or stainless steel, the Smart Panel wins over with an elegant appearance.

The intelligent Jung KNX building system apparently eliminates the need for features like light switches. “The Smart Home features a Facility Pilot which controls the technology of the building system. Just think your home wakes up as you come home and goes to sleep when you leave,” according to Home Design Find. The system also has features like a weather station sensor so that if it rains, for example, it will make adjustments like raising the blinds and closing the windows, and turning up the heat if it cools down.

Thanks to the new, integrated JUNG configuration software, the initial setup of the Smart Panel is fast and easy. In addition, the uniform JUNG operating interface provides intuitive control of all functions. The logical interface structure can be recognised in the colour touch display in 16:9 format

Contact deatils at bottom pls: T (+356) 21420655; Mobile (+356) 7970 4983 Email:; 


Property & Life Magazine

Talking point

Issue 04

Authenticity and Emotion by Martin Vella

Trader Marine is an international yacht brokerage and marine consultancy company based in Malta offering sales, service and charter of the highest quality motor and super yachts. I talk with Eddie Woods, Managing Director, who gave me a greater understanding of the company’s competitive advantage and why they are well positioned to do better over time.

Eddie with one of his treasured possessions



rader Marine is 100% customer driven and offers a seamless ser vice to both first time and experienced boat purchasers. The company shares a deep understanding of the responsibilities of boat ownership, the market and local marine conditions ensuring that their clients’ leisure cruising per fec tly matches their requirements. The company ’s ser vices include sales, af ter sales, consultancy, marine finance, marine insurance, gardiennage, yacht deliveries, professional yacht skippers, skipper courses and worldwide yacht char ter with limousine or helicopter transfers.

PLM: Can you discuss how your comeback impacts the local scene and what is your business plan? EW: It is not exactly a comeback; it is mostly concentrating more on Trader Marine operations. We never left it. In our business a lot of people could have a representation of a company. As far as that is concerned, we are almost fully operational and of course, the other thing that we do is the after sales, which is very important. We look after people’s boats and make sure that they are maintained properly, especially those lying in our marina. We do have a whole line of sub contractors. They will call us, we will go there and they will 22 


The eco issue is very important, exhaust systems, green issues and the environment come into it a lot, including reducing noise pollution” give us a list, and we will sort everything out. For example, engineers for different types of engines, electronic, sales and miscellaneous needs. As backup we believe we have got a solid operation.

PLM: As an experienced yachtsman, how do you balance creating a boat that has new and interesting features for the consumer while keeping costs down? Do you think this is an issue that needs more attention from the industry as a whole? EW: No, I do not think so and that is a good question because each boat builder in the world is looking at new concepts all the time. For example, the electronic side is always changing, every year. If you ordered a boat today, by the time you get it there will be new electronics because it has been upgraded. They are looking at a lot of things; obviously the eco issue is very important, exhaust systems, green issues and the environment

talking point

Property & Life Magazine Issue 04

come into it a lot, including reducing noise pollution. Today, these are essential issues. And even they way they are designing the boats, the design has to incorporate fuel efficiency and be more economical. They are working on hybrids all the time, experimenting on fuel cells and prototypes are in the pipeline. PLM: What do you feel is the biggest challenges facing the recreational boating industry in Malta and what can be done to solve those problems? EW: First of all, my view is that I think there is an over-saturation of importers, albeit the product has to be here. If you mention the name of three or four sailing boat types, or five or six power boat types, they are here. So you know that’s the diffusion. The biggest problem that we are facing is berthing availability. That is something that needs to be addressed. As an active member of the Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry, we have spoken to the authorities, and I believe there are some plans to expand. We had a forum recently and my view is that I believe that Sliema Creek, and other harbour entrances should be reviewed and have their own breakwaters. This can be done, not from the external rather from the internal side. And once you have created that you have created Sliema Creek, Ta’ Xbiex Creek, Msida Creek, Pleta Creek, Senglea, Birgu and Kalkara Creeks. Instead of spreading these little marinas here and there, we would have a nucleus, combined with a centralised shipyard at Manoel Island, thus creating the perfect hub. Once it is all organized, there will be hundreds of marinas. Nobody swims in these areas, because that was one of the issues raised in the past. PLM: Have you got a message to the new government? What would you like to state or ask them so that you will get more attention to this problem and try to solve it? EW: I think we can talk to the government and say, “listen, these are our proposals.” And now I am talking about trading them in, as a member of the Chamber, having had previous discussion with the government, previously in Opposition, and when in Opposition told us that basically If they are in government, they are going to look into this, and they are

PLM: What about participation in boating? What can be done to get more people out on the water?

looking at it as an industry. I am not saying that the other government did not. The other thing I could see here about two years ago is reclaiming land. There are one or two spots where this could happen economically, creating work and generating a lot of business.

EW: There is the middle sea race, which is the third most popular race internationally. There is no question that there we are well looked after. I think the government does what they can to support this. Now, you mentioned The America’s Cup, I think it would be difficult to hold the actual America’s Cup here. What can be done? They do a series of races that lead up to the event and next month there is going to be one in Naples. They have approached me and asked if I wanted to speak to somebody. The cost is formally in Euros, so it is not easy. It is not out of this world and you get foreign people that want to advertise, marketing fall-out, spill-over effect of a variety of the luxurious tourist and everything can happen.

“The other idea that in my view could complement further marina projects together with commercial and residential properties is reclaiming land” We look at it as an investment attracting foreigners with a huge spending power. It has been known that these people spend much more than anybody that comes by a charter flight here and there. So we believe that this could be an industry. The other thing we also believe is that our industry should fall under tourism because it is coastal tourism, it is a new world. We should fall under that ministry. I resent the fact that I have to go to MEPA to ask for a permit for a marina, and they know nothing about it, absolutely nothing. I know I have mentioned a time bomb but these things should be addressed. If the government is really interested then we will go to MEPA, or they will come and see us. But I do not want to mention politics to be honest.

PLM: You mentioned the spill-over effect? EW: If I could tell you, the whole world and its cousin will know about Malta. We have not mentioned anything about this but we are looking at basically seeing what the possibilities are in 2014 – 2015. They do it every year and the build-up that leads up to the race is a formidable venture. Obviously Malta is embracing the challenges ahead and we want to retain our leading position. This is possible only if one is able to consistently implement strategies driven by the objective of continued growth through the provision of personalised services. The new opportunity will certainly support us in our continual commitment towards excellence.


Eddie Woods is synonymous within the boating industry, particularly brokerage and chartering. Enjoying a lifetime knowledge of the maritime sector, Eddie made his presence felt in two of the most important and prestigious marinas on the island. Mr Woods successfully established a partnership with MIPS and has offered RYA courses that includes Practical Power Cruising, Practical Powerboat, Theoretical Shore Based and Sailing courses. He is Managing Director of Trader Marine, offering clients new boats, used boats, charters, servicing, yacht management, crew placement and various other ancillary services. 


Property & Life Magazine presents

Spring 2013 collection brought to you by De Fort

Editor’s Choice Fine Dine & Wine Feature

Property & Life Magazine Issue 04

Ta’ Kris Restaurant

A Mediterranean Gastronomical treat


idden in a narrow serene alleyway from the hustle and bustle of the Bisazza Street shops, Ta’ Kris restaurant offers an intimate eatery with a friendly culinary service. Set in a former bakery, with the old oven still in place, the atmosphere is warm and homely, and the food is fresh and traditional with superb value for money. Specialising in Maltese and Mediterranean cuisine, with fresh fish available daily, Chef Patron Kris Cassar cooks popular traditional dishes like rabbit, bragioli, beef stew, and specials that change every day. Diners may find medallions of pork loin with gbejna, Maltese sausage and sundried tomatoes one day, and lamb shank with peppermint tea, baked almonds or fresh melon stuffed with seafood the next. Meat lovers may indulge themselves to the house speciality of prime USDA RibEye or an exquisitely prepared Rump

80, Fawwara Lane, Sliema

steak. Dessert options include cassatella, banoffee pie and even rich Maltese trifle made by Kris’ own mother (although this must be ordered in advance). With a tantalising mix of Mediterranean and Maltese cuisine, one can only expect to be pleasantly intrigued. Rated ***** by PLM Members

Ta’ Kris Restaurant Open:

Every day for lunch and dinner 12.30pm till 3.30 pm and 7pm till 11pm. A Mediterranean Gastronomical Treat

Tel: 2133 7367 / 9984 7713


Cellini Coffee Shop, Bistro, Wine Bar


ellini is a quaint wine bar & bistro situated in the heart of the village of Naxxar, Malta. It is named after Piju Cellini, a reputable designer and painter born in 1863, the designer and maker of the town’s parish church door, the first bronze door in Malta at that time. But why name it after Pio Cellini? This house was built by Vincenzo Bonavia towards the middle of the 19th century and the coat of arms on the entrance door shows the griffon, a symbol of Christ representing the right road (‘Bona’ + ‘Via’). Dun Salvatore Bonavia, only son of six children of Vincenzo, lived here till he died in 1946. Dun Salv had served on the committee set up in the early years of the 20th century to make plans and oversee the works on the widened church faCade which now cried out for a much larger door. Seeing the friendship that developed between him and Cellini, one would be forgiven for thinking that Dun Salv had had a big say in the choice of

Cellini Wine Bar 2, Triq Toni Bajjada, Naxxar, Malta


the artist. Cellini was in fact a regular visitor to this house where he spent many hours with his priest friend. He did not sit in the same chair you are sitting on now, but he probably often sat in the same spot. You may wish to imagine what topics turned up in those long, relaxed and pleasant conversations; ones we wish you too are having now. Cellini Wine Bar & Bistro serves typical nibbles, platters, small eats, mouthwatering dishes prepared by our resident Chef including our popular grilled fresh rib eye, duck and other dishes. Well chosen wines from all over the world. Rated ***** by PLM Members Open every day from 19:00-late. Private functions also accepted! Directions - facing the church, Cellini Wine Bar & Bistro is on the right hand side, between Naxxar Football Club and Gasan & Mamo Insurance Agency.

T: 2143 3670 - M: 9921 8279 


Property & Life Magazine


Issue 04

Leadership Perspectives by Martin Vella

The minute something goes wrong there is no opportunity for emotions. Ivan Bartolo considers the most expensive item on earth is not gold, diamonds or oil. The self-made entrepreneur maintains that the most expensive thing on earth is called procrastination – time. Here he tells Property & Life Magazine that if you procrastinate you are killing yourself. PLM: Failure is inevitable, but is there a right way to go wrong, is an open mindset and willingness to learn from mistakes the way forward? IB: The first thing you need to learn about mistakes is very simple. When you take a decision you will definitely taken it in the best interest of yourself and your business. You always have to have that in the back of your mind, so you can go back and say: that was the way I thought about it at the time. Therefore, never regret any of your decisions in life. The first thing I tell people is that if you do not want to fail, do not procrastinate. If you need to take a decision, you have to take it no matter how hard it is. At times you have to take decisions to reduce headcount, to reduce people, to actually let a costumer go or to basically throw away products you have in stock. Whatever it is, kill it. Take your decision. The most important part of this is to carry out an ‘after action review’ every day to take ownership of your self development. Ask yourself: Today what did I achieve? Today what did I learn? Today what could I have done better? Tomorrow what am I going to do different? In addition, you need to be able to have a positive attitude in order to achieve the 100%. If you convert the word attitude and you convert each letter to a value, with A equals to 1% and Z equals 26%, Attitude translates into a hundred percent. So attitude has to give you a 30 


hundred percent. To give you a hundred percent in the instance of failure you have to embrace failure as an opportunity which you are going to learn from. The most important thing is that life, within your business and your personal life, will throw you into corners. It is not about how fast you can get up and out of that corner, but in what manner. You can get out of that corner like a bull in a china shop, which means you are going to go down and take everything down with you. Or you can come out of that corner with your head held high. But that requires thought, it requires process, honesty and a positive attitude.

“Humility is important because humility inspires people” PLM: How do you inspire others with your achievements and success? IB: The first that comes to mind is umiltà – humbleness. Do not show off, you have to be humble. At the end of the day you have to remember your roots. Being humble is important because humility inspires people. When we are talking about inspiring people, you must always offer an opinion not advice. I don’t like to offer advice. I have been through a lot in my life and the reality is that if you offer people and especially young people advice, you

are almost telling them what to do. If you offer an opinion you are giving them the opportunity to have a bit more of an open mind. I think the first thing you need to do to inspire people is to admit your own weaknesses, admit your own faults. Show people that you are not here out of coincidence but on the other hand do not brag about it either. Make people understand that there was a journey, a composed journey. Do talk about the pain because people are far more inspired by the pain then what was easy. I am going to say this because I really feel it. The secret of success is definitely a certain amount of spirituality. I am not going to go into the subject of religion or God. I am talking about the subject of spirituality. What you need to do is remember that you are a human being and I think through a level of communications with others, you will definitely inspire them. Last but not least, having the ability to influence and teach others with real life pragmatic examples, not theoretical stuff. You cannot talk to people about what you have learned in a text book, you have to talk about people and real life examples. At the end of the day they need to be able to relate and touch - they need to see something tangible. Unless they see that I do believe they are not going to be inspired. Inspiring others is only going to happen if people are able to see the honesty in what you are trying to say.


Property & Life Magazine Issue 04

Support and tolerance translates to growth, yes. But I must repeat that growth is not just about the bottom line. If you are simply helping somebody to grow to extract more profit out of them, that is not the way forward. I want to help my workforce to grow first of all for their own benefit. I am very proud of one fact at 6PM; it is that out of this business at least three other companies were generated. People that used to work here and sit in this office got to a level and felt confident enough to simply walk out of this office and set up on their own. You know what? We work with them as well. And I think that is fantastic. For me that is a certificate that 6PM is a place where you can build a real career from. Now, I am not suggesting that everybody should leave and attempt their luck in business. What I am suggesting is that within 6PM there is a lot of support and tolerance, which is translated into growth.

There are twenty four hours in a day, eight hours we are sleeping, eight to ten hours we are at work. And the truth is that if you are not happy with what you are doing at work and you are not happy with what you are doing in life, it is time to move on. I am convinced that many people don’t appreciate what I do but it does not bother me. I do not expect it. At the end of the day, what really matters is that I am enjoying it. If you want to be successful in business, do not do it for the money. Money is a byproduct of passion. PLM: Support and tolerance lead to growth and success. Do you agree?

I tell people to try their best, do their best and to set up their own businesses and then say how great it is and so on. This does not have to be applied in business only but also in everyday life. It is about enabling people to understand that the only way they are going to be successful is whether they do what they really want to do in life. I want to be at 6PM, I love being at 6PM and I want to be here every day. I have been offered jobs where I could earn much more than I make here. Yes I am a founder and a shareholder here, but putting that aside I would never leave this place, if they did not ask me to. Why? I enjoy it. That is the reality of life in my opinion.

IB: I fully agree. At 6PM there were some difficult moments due to what happened with the global economy in 2010 and 2011. It took a lot of support, tolerance and a lot of perseverance. It took a lot of heart to keep it all flowing and move forward. Growth is not the bottom line. I don’t believe in growth only as a bottom line. For example, in this environment I see a lot of growth happening because of the maturity in the workforce. Effectively the people I employed two years ago were twenty four years old, now they are twenty six – twenty seven; you start seeing a certain amount of growth coming into the organisation.

Achievements by Ivan Bartolo Set-up the company 6PM in 2000. • From 1 to 150 employees in 13 years • From €120,000 turnover to €10 million in 13 years • Listing on the Malta Stock Exchange in 2007 • Successful Rights Issue in 2011 • Deputy Chairman of the Malta Communications Authority 2008 – March 2013 • A Certified Practitioner, Trainer and Examiner in Agile • Served as International Business Development Director for the International Dynamic Systems Development Method (DSDM) Consortium between 1997 and 1999 • Successfully launched the DSDM Consortium in USA and Canada • Delivered Agile Project Management, Agile Practitioner, Facilitator and Agile Awareness training and mentoring to over 50 organisations including IBM, Fujitsu and BT • Worked on major Agile rollout projects with British Airways (UK), Verizon (USA), Manulife (Canada), Storebrand (Norway) and others • Highly involved with introducing Agile within the University curriculums and other major ICT colleges in Malta

“You cannot talk to people about what you have learned in a text book, you have to talk about people and real life examples” The truth is the only way we can benefit from growth and maturity of our work force is through support, tolerance, education. Enabling them to see and look at things in a different light. I think another big thing about growth is also to understand that you are recruiting people and that you are effectively recruiting what I would call hard skills and soft skills. Hard skills are the people coming out of university with all the necessary skills. But you have to look at their background and their walk of life. Why? Because there are certain things you can never teach in life. The success factors are not the academic education but the ability to face customers, having the ability to talk, to present and sell yourself. It is having the ability to influence others. You would be very surprised at how many people have those skills, especially Maltese people.

Specialised in Business Analysis, System Analysis and IT management in general • Professional Facilitator • Creator/Innovator of QuickFocus Quick Professional Mentor Quick User Interface Quick Business Intelligence Testimonial by Leonie Baldacchino, Lecturer in Entrepreneurship, Creativity and Innovation University of Malta: “A prosperous enterprise in today’s competitive ICT industry can only be possible with a true visionary at the helm. It requires a leader who constantly injects new life into the organisation, and whose passion and integrity inspire his team to strive for excellence. This is 6pm. This is Ivan Bartolo.” 


Property & Life Magazine

Editor’s Choice Fine Dine & Wine Feature

Issue 04

Etienne`s Restaurant & Wine Bar


tienne’s is a restaurant with a focus on local produce, be it wines, food or desserts. The patrons try to source everything locally whenever possible and all dishes are freshly prepared for you on the premises. Set in the heart of Attard, just one minute away from the Parish church, Etienne’s is a cosy 400-year-old converted house consisting of a wine bar at ground floor level and a fine dining restaurant located on its upper level. The premises are situated in a tiny charming village piazza with a very old bevitoio on which stands a lamp post. It is an ideal set-up to meet friends over a platter and a bottle of wine, or a quiet meal with great food in a pleasant warm atmosphere. Chef Robert Cordina revisits Mediterranean cuisine offering a careful selection of staters, main courses and desserts. At Etienne’s the owners strive to use locally grown seasonal ingredients and hence you can taste the freshness in all of our dishes. They also prepare items such as fresh pasta,

desserts, dips and sauces ourselves, hence ensuring the premium quality in all of our dishes. A good 35% of the wine list comprises of local wines and the rest is a good blend of both Old World and New World wines which have been selected one-by-one by the Chef who has also worked in the wine industry and therefore can also suggest what wine to pair with particular food items on the menu. We also have experience in organising staff parties or parties for special occasions. We have specialised menus for such occasions however one can also have a meeting with the Chef and discuss the various options available to customise the event.

13, Main Street, Attard | Reservations: 99137926 / 21424647


Restaurant details

Good for: Romance Description: Etienne’s is a restaurant with a focus on local produce, be it wines, food or desserts. We try to source everything locally whenever possible and all dishes are freshly prepared for you on the premises. Highly recommended as a place for a friendly welcome, superb food that is prepared with real care and attention. Amenities: Air Conditioned, Free WiFi, Gluten Free Dishes, Outside Seating, Separate Room for Parties, Vegetarian Options Cuisine: Mediterranean Opening Hours: Tue-Sat 19:00-late. Sun 10:00-15:00. Rated ***** by PLM Members



he Xara Palace Relais & Chateaux, was once again this year voted one of the world’s top 10 castle hotels by Fox News, underlining the leap that this Mediterranean hospitality icon has made as a must-visit destination. The hotel has been featured in the world’s leading style and glamour magazines such as Vogue and Vanity Fair, as well as attracting visits by celebrities such as Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, Sharon Stone, Orlando Bloom, Jennifer Anniston, Bruce Willis, Simply Red’s Mick Hucknall, Josef Calleja, Lucio Dalla, Rupert Everett, and a raft of VIP’s, politicians, entrepreneurs, business leaders and other prominent figures. Several prestige publications, including the Wall Street Journal and Diplomat Magazine, have written glowing reviews about the property, it has been featured in the Roux Brothers Magazine, showcased at Harrods in London March 2012, and became the recipient of numerous dining awards including an unprecedented performance in the Salon Culinaire competition, winning a sixth title for gastronomy as well as a Runners-up Award for the Best Dining Boutique Hotel in the World. The starting point for The Xara Palace Relais & Chateaux vision is to create a memory for its guests. Given that vision, the property strongly believes in customizing its services to individual guests to increase the fondness of that memory. This can best be understood by reference to the individually designed interiors for each of the 17 luxury bedrooms in the hotel. Each creates a different mood and atmosphere for the guest through its antique paintings, furniture and fresh decorative style.

Fox News lists The Xara Palace Relais & Chateaux with the 10 Top Castle Hotels in the World 32 


This vision is the foundation upon which Infinitely Xara was launched in 2012, with 2 new properties, The Xara Lodge and Palazzo de Piro, to extend this unique place in the world of Mediterranean hospitality and to improve our service to business travellers and the corporate market.

insurance listings

Property & Life Magazine Issue 04

Laferla has been underwriting risks and settling claims since 1984 and has since established itself as a market leader in the health insurance scene with an excellent reputation for guaranteed settlement of all valid claims within seven working days from receipt of all documentation. The Laferla Healthplans offer a better service, more attractive rates, and superior benefits.

GasanMamo is one of the leading insurance companies in Malta, providing competitively priced insurance products for both personal and commercial clients throughout Malta & Gozo.

Allcare Insurance will offer a range of products including motor, home, travel, health, and pleasure craft insurance cover. The company will also cater for business, commercial, industrial and professional insurance requirements.

GlobalCapital offers clients a comprehensive range of financial products which compliments the financial planning service offered by their Financial Planning Managers. The Group has its own expertise in the development of a number of in house products ranging from life assurance endowment policies to structured investment products that are customised according to the clients’ needs.

Atlas Insurance PCC Limited is one of Malta’s foremost insurance organisations – operating an extensive branch and intermediary network throughout Malta and Gozo. Atlas PCC gives promoters the opportunity to own their own EU insurance vehicle with less capital and less cost also avoiding fronting requirements.

Elmo Insurance is a respected company linked to global and financially strong reinsurers. Through a commitment to financial strength, quality underwriting and products, we will ensure that the expectations of our shareholders, reinsurers, customers and staff are fully met.

Middlesea Insurance p.l.c, a composite insurance company listed on the Malta Stock Exchange and operating since 1981 enjoys a substantial share of the highly competitive general insurance markets in Malta, offering an extensive range of quality and flexible products aimed at both personal and commercial protection.

Citadel Insurance is a leading provider of private insurance and business insurance in Malta. We also offer profitable savings plans, private retirement plans and children’s saving plans. Through our health insurance subsidiary Citadel Health Insurance Agency Ltd we offer several options for private medical insurance.

MSV Life p.l.c. (MSV) is the leading provider of life insurance protection, long term savings and retirement planning in Malta. MSV is jointly owned between Bank of Valletta p.l.c. (50%) and Middlesea Insurance p.l.c. (50%). 


We’ll do thIs on easteR sunday lunch so you don’t have to

To reserve a table at Cavalieri for Easter Sunday Lunch call (+356) 2318 0836 / 2318 0849 or email us on


Property & Life Magazine Issue 04

Realising Perfect

Beauty by Geroge Carol

Patrick Bugeja believes that perfect beauty is an art, different for every woman and that achieving it need not be a daily struggle. That is why Pat always tailors the look considering the individual’s unique features and needs when conceiving their cut and colour. Let’s find out more about what the NEW GOLDWELL Hairdressing Salon is all about.


OLDWELL is an international hairdressing company found in over 60 countries. Its strength is Colouring and the brand is also renowned for its educational system with academies worldwide. For the first time in Malta, GOLDWELL have opened a salon to render services to their esteemed customers. The NEW GOLDWELL hairdressing salon in Paceville is under the leadership of salon and creative director Pat Bugeja, and is set to change the local salon landscape. In joining forces with Pat Bugeja as the salon director, GOLDWELL can produce colour and styling to customers, heading up a dream team of colour, cut and styling talent in a new concept where the salon and session world collide. Pat Bugeja is one of the leading hairstylist in Malta with a vast background in the hairdressing industry. He has been in the hairdressing industry for a number of years both here in Malta, London and Stockholm. Patrick has held various positions within international companies from being a stylist to salon director, artistic director, creative director and also managing director. “We never concoct styles that just wash out, but cut a shape that stays in the hair, making it quick and simple to recreate every day,” says Patrick. A team four at the NEW GOLDWELL SALON are fully qualified in the field. The salon is designed to make customers feel very relaxed as the style is a raw retro feeling. The NEW GOLDWELL SALON light drenched with the interior space

design, where natural daylight is controlled giving the colourist the optimum environment to work within and the client the perfect setting to see their colour in a number of light scenarios. The GOLDWELL team is always creating new ideas within colouring and complementing the colours which Pat Bugeja unearths for that suitable style to suit any lifestyle. The NEW GOLDWELL hairdressing concept at Wilga Street Paceville is a first on the island; the salon works in delighting clients throughout the day and in the evening it sees students that are undergoing a hairdressing educational programme under the direction of Pat Bugeja as the educational director .

Goldwell Hairdressing Salon are offering Property & Life Magazine readers a complementary treatment and a 50% off on the blowdry for the women and a 50% off to the men. GOLDWELL Hairdressing Wilga street Paceville St.Julians Tel: 27331113. fb: GOLDWELL Hairdressing Paceville St.Julians 




IT concierge

Property & Life Magazine Issue 04

You cannot avoid IT technology problems. But you can find the right way to solve them. by Gilbert Schembri Definitely the services of an IT concierge are a very valuable and, in many respect, an indispensable move that a healthy and ambitious business cannot live without. In today’s world renovation is not a luxury and the IT sector has to be continually updated and renewed in order to facilitate the smooth running of all the other aspects of your business activity. It can be compared to the oil that lubricates the components of a business engine


his can be realised by the IT concierge who has the resources and specialized abilities to provide expert overall service. This means avoiding all the hustle of engaging different IT providers to solve different problems of IT. In this way channelling all your IT related issues to an IT concierge is surely very, first of all, time saving, practical and efficient. The greatest benefit that your company can attain when involving an IT concierge is by building an ongoing personalized attention that evolves into a healthy relationship that almost translates itself into a business partnership. The IT concierge achieves all this by building an ongoing personalised attention to your IT business technology. With this attention gained by engaging an IT concierge, is constantly guarding your IT failures that eventually result in negative business performance. This same attention keeps your system running smoothly and uninterrupted to save you unwanted headaches. This attention enables also your setup to remain modernised

Therefore the IT concierge can be considered as a one stop service onsite or remote 24/7. We can formally define its operations as follows:

“ The greatest benefit that your company can attain when involving an IT concierge is by building an ongoing personalised attention that evolves into a healthy relationship that almost translates itself into a business partnership. ”

• To setup and customize the required IT solutions • To educate on how to use the system • To support and maintenance the running of the project • To advise and recommend any necessary renovations • To install what every updates may be needed • To protect the overall performance of IT technology • To be always there for any question any time

and renovated resulting in fruitful competiveness. Besides, this attention provides you with instant access to useful changes and innovations that would ultimately increase your business efficiency. It gives you also all the necessary support to install whatever technical modern changes are required in order to render the running of your IT solutions more user friendly.

Any frustration resulting from your IT technology or any desire to tap its full potential or any past experience of misunderstandings can be overwhelmed by referring to the services of an IT concierge and get that very much needed specialized and personalised assistance.


Gilbert Schembri business developer at XISVO is Malta’s first IT concierge. With 12 years’ experience in IT consultancy he has managed IT system in various operations across Malta. Pairing his past experience and knowledge in the IT field allows Gilbert to listen and better understand your business needs and provides customized solutions for your business. 




Cleaning excess Grouting, dirt buildup on ceramic surfaces or joints between tiles, Gres tiles, mosaic on walls and floors. Cleaning off residue of cement-based products used as adhesives or for grouting ceramic surfaces. 1880 Enterprise Tel: 9999-1880 (Malta) 9944-4471 (Gozo)

Web: Email:

FX market

Property & Life Magazine Issue 04

Monetary Policy and Geopolitical risks main drivers for FX markets in 2013 by Johan Ditz Lemche

Despite global growth is expected to be on the weak side, there are great opportunities in FX markets as the economic climate poses several challenges for policy makers.


t is no secret that the Euro zone throughout the financial crisis has been navigating through rough waters. Increases in sovereign debt and lacking demand from consumers have caused growth to be subdued, despite massive monetary easing and global interest rates at historic lows. Concurrently job creation has been suffering and the Euro zone is seeing alltime highs with unemployment close to 12%. The low interest rates and Central Bank efforts to stable liquidity conditions have kept cost of capital at low, triggering impressive gains in equity markets for 2012, ranging from a 13.41% gain in the US S&P500 index to 29.06% in the German DAX index. Against the US Dollar, the Euro gained 1.79% and the Japanese Yen lost 11.34%. Strongest against the US Dollar were the Mexican Peso, the Korean Won as well as the Norwegian Krone.

“ The Euro zone is facing another tough year and the crisis will not be solved in 2013” Despite the current low-growth cycle, FX markets could see a pick-up in volatility in 2013. The export-related economy of Japan recently changed government and Prime Minister Abe is back in the chair and expected to introduce an inflation target of 2%. This should cause a substantial devaluation of the Yen and boost conditions for exporters, but there will naturally be spill-over effects into the Asian region as the actions from the Bank of Japan could weaken

more hawkish tone than expected following a stabilisation in cyclical growth. The Euro zone is facing another tough year and the crisis will not be solved in 2013. Interest rates are skewed to the upside while growth is lacking and unemployment is on the rise. Spain is suffering and we have not heard the last from Greece and Italy. Although the ECB has managed to somewhat cool down fixed income markets, the markets are still very cautious about whether or not the European project will produce solid growth and confidence in policymakers needs to be restored. To highlight this scenario, the last time we heard politicians saying that the European economy was still intact was just before Ireland and Portugal needed bailing out. This would result in greater probability that investors would need to hedge their downside risk. FX provides one of the best alternate liquid instruments on that matter.

the Yen with more than 10%. This could give scope for a test of the 2011 highs around 95 in USD/JPY. Although Japan’s main trading partner is China, the Chinese currency is not expected to suffer from a potential Japanese devaluation. What could be a joker in this setup is if we see tensions between China and Japan over the disputed islands in the East China Sea escalate and potentially result in trade embargos. For the commodity-currencies, especially the Australian Dollar and the New Zealand Dollar, recent development has led to a safe haven status, but this could change in 2013 following a decrease in economic activity on China. This could in the longer term result in rate decreases in the Australian region, which would make the currencies in the region less attractive. With regards to spot gold, there are no reasons for it to come down drastically from current levels in 2013 – it is the best currency out there and there are no ways for a Central Bank to increase the supply artificially. On the Euro zone front, although ECB President Draghi, during the January meeting, revealed a

EDITOR’S NOTE NSFX Ltd. was founded by a group of professionals in the financial industry with a clear vision of creating a regulated online trading brokerage that would provide investment services to all types of traders and institutions, globally. The company’s technological infrastructure was built with a deep understanding of trader’s ongoing needs. Combined with strong connections within the banking system and with liquidity providers, NSFX Ltd. offers one of the best trading experiences in the market today. 


Property & Life Magazine

Training opportunites

Issue 04

The Academy for Chief Executives by Mark J Galea How it works: • each Group member will be from non- competing businesses • the group meets monthly for 4 hours, facilitated by the Group Chairman • regular monthly one-to-one mentoring and coaching session with the group Chairman • expert professional speakers are invited to present at many meetings

Why worry about your business by yourself? It’s tough at the top. Running a business is a huge responsibility, as we all know. That’s why they’ve joined the Academy – and some of their reasons below may strike a chord with you: • Never sure if you’re doing the right thing and no one impartial to discuss it with? • Need to refuel with new ideas, inspirations and directions? • Wonder how others in the same position tackle the same problems you face? • Want access to the latest business thinking and help applying it to your own company? • Worried about the sheer volume of work and poor work/life balance? • Struggling with the pace of change in your market place?

The benefits you get: • a s a f e p l a c e f o r y o u t o s h a r e b e s t practice every month • your own independent sounding board and source of new ideas • expert speakers to inspire you with the latest business thinking • professional development of your leadership skills through one-to-one mentoring and coaching • accelerated and sustained results for you and your business • ongoing support, networking and the group dynamic of being among your peers

Leaders learning with leaders The Academy for Chief Executives is a place where successful business leaders, CEOs and MDs meet to learn from each other, where their assumptions are tested, their ideas challenged and their dreams are achieved. Inspiring each other to excel, enjoying access to world-class speakers and developing leadership skills through professional oneto-one coaching provides a powerful mix of dynamic support for both personal and business success. 42 


ACE was set up in 1996 in the UK and it spread out fast all throughout the country. Recently, it has broadened its reach through its international expansion, and this includes Malta, Gibraltar, Cyprus, Ireland, and other countries.

The Academy for Chief Executives is represented in Malta by Quad Consultancy. Please contact Mark J Galea on 99990312 or

insurance spotlight

Property & Life Magazine Issue 04

Insuring your


People often pay lip service to insurance until they’ve been bitten. Property & Life sit down with Judith Galea, CEO at Allcare Insurance Ltd to discuss the importance of insuring your homes and its contents. PLM: Has awareness increased about the importance of home insurance and how has the market developed? JG: Many home owners typically hold home insurance policies as they are bound by virtue of a contract such as a home loan. However the cover required by the bank is normally limited to Buildings Insurance. This would mean that, if one limits the policy taken out to the basic contractual requirement, there would be no protection for damage to the Contents and valuables in the home. Unfortunately there is still little awareness about the importance of upgrading or taking out a separate home policy to cover contents which are more vulnerable to damage than the actual structure itself (e.g. fire, water damage, theft). If one were to stop and sum up all that he has spent on buildings and furnishing his home and that with one unfortunate event he can risk losing it all, one will realise why it is so important to have adequate insurance cover for both buildings and contents. PLM: When taking out a home insurance policy how should the values insured be established ? JG: To ensure adequate protection, the most important thing when taking out a home insurance policy is to ensure that the sum insured under Buildings and Contents reflects the actual value of the property insured. The Buildings Sum Insured should not be the market value of the property but should reflect the actual rebuilding cost of the property including the cost of the fixtures and fittings installed being bathrooms, doors and apertures, staircases, fitted air-conditioning systems and fitted kitchens.

PLM: The insurance market has become a highly competitive market. How do you differentiate your approach to Home Insurance and what gives your policies competitive advantage?

The Contents Sum Insured should reflect the replacement value of all movable property inside the home being furniture, household goods and personal belongings. One can also cover valuable items like precious jewellery whilst these are contained both within or outside the home.

JG: The Allcare home policy, apart from being very competitively priced, provides a much wider cover than the traditional home policy. Our cover is based on an ‘all risks’ basis of cover rather than the standard specified perils insurance. One important feature is that our policies provide cover for practically all damages which are accidental even if these are caused by the Insured himself. Moreover, Allcare provides a number of additional benefits, which would normally be at an additional premium, as part of the standard cover.

“Our cover is based on an ‘all risks’ basis of cover rather than the standard specified perils insurance” PLM: Home insurance policies vary, in your experience what are the most important things that a client should ensure that their policies cater for?

Allcare also provides a Home Loan Insurance Policy providing a tailor made cover at reduced rates for people requiring a home policy as part of their home loan requirements.

JG: Since the rebuilding cost of property and the replacement value of contents is constantly changing, it is important that the home policy provides cover on a “new for old” basis. This would mean that in the event of a claim the insurer would pay the full replacement value of the damaged item at the time of the loss without applying any deduction for wear and tear or depreciation. Another important aspect is that a home policy should also adequately cater for damage caused to third parties, particularly those living on top, underneath or adjacent to other properties stand a greater risk that an incident in their home can cause damage to neighboring property.

PLM: How much would a home policy with Allcare cost? JG: A Home Insurance policy is much cheaper than most people think. The premium depends on the sum insured of the property however a typical example on an average property insured on a Buildings sum Insured of €100,000 and Contents Sum Insured of €20,000 would cost as little as €11 a month.


Judith Galea, Chief Executive Officer of Allcare Insurance Limited has been with the Allcare Group for the past twenty years and has experience in all classes of insurance business. Judith has previously managed the Underwriting Department of the Company for seven years and is specialized in Undewriting Personal Lines and General Insurance Business.



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Property & Life Magazine Issue 04

by Guillaume Dreyfuss

There is a definite and easily defined correlation between the industrialisation and modernisation of European cities in the 19th century and the intensification of heritage protection. This connection is, with hindsight, easily understandable and entirely justifiable, given the steady loss of traditional manufacturing techniques and craftsmanship with the introduction of the machine in every sector of human labour.


here is however a dichotomy in the fact that as much as we have embraced and nurtured both industrial development and technological progress, we have had to struggle with the acceptance and critical understanding of our past, as enshrined in our cities’ heritage. It would be wrong to assume that Valletta has escaped that process. In fact it has been probably exacerbated by the fact that Valletta is not only a European capital city, it is also a fortified one. These fortifications have been the sine qua non to the development of the actual urban fabric, to the extent that they have been cited as the justification of Valletta’s inscription the UNESCO World Heritage List. In spite of this, over the years, projects attempting to neutralize the hard edge of the town, its very raison d’être, have taken precedence over purely preservationist considerations to render this town always alive, vibrant and desirable.

This shift in the perception of Valletta as a fortified city was however sealed during the 19th century when the increase in activity in the city, which centralised all the government services, catalysed the development of transport and the provision of efficient access to and from the walled city. These developments were inaugurated with the creation of a railway in 1883 that connected the town with the centre of the island.

Although originally conceived following the Great Siege of 1565 as a fortress, Valletta soon underwent an irrevocable change of image from the austere, inward-looking fortified town of the sixteenth century to the booming, outward-looking commercial town of the eighteenth century, the result of a conscious, long sighted drive of successive Grand Masters to consolidate Malta’s strategic commercial role in the Mediterranean. This was achieved by the realization of several improvements to the infrastructure of the town, in particular the building of the Lascaris stores (1636-1657), and of the Pinto stores (1741-1773), the Custom House (1776) and the opening of the tunnel in the landward bastions that served to connect the town with the port activity on its periphery.

In 1897, a proposal that envisaged the possibility of connecting Marsamxett harbour to Grand Harbour via an electric tramway that would run at the bottom of the main ditch, connecting to passenger ferries on either side of the peninsula, was drawn up. Although this proposal was never carried out, it nevertheless contributed to the introduction of a lift at Barrakka gardens in 1905, and to the introduction the same year of a tramway service connecting Valletta to Cottonera, Zebbug and Birkirkara. The lift itself served as a vital link between the waterfront with its mercantile and naval activities, over the massive landfront fortifications, and the residential centre of the town. Deeper and more drastic transformations were to change the image of Valletta with the steady and irreversible increase in individual

motorised traffic in the interwar period and after. Three decades after the dismantling of the original lift, and after several attempts at providing alternative access routes to Valletta, the new Barrakka lift opened in December 2012. The design was the result of an inclusive approach that took into consideration a number of factors including pedestrian flows between the Grand Harbour and Valletta; the historical surroundings which form its context; the user experience – from the horizontal movement through Lascaris Ditch, vertically through the lift with views of the bastions and the Harbour, to the arrival in Upper Barrakka Gardens; and the analysis of a system that would be reversible and respectful of the adjacent heritage components.

“The shape of the apertures in the mesh relates to the shapes found in traditional metal elements used in buildings throughout Valletta”

The screen plays a vital part in the design. Its translucent qualities vary according to the point of view, provide a play between the solid and open parts of the structure, and manipulate light and shadow to give the skin a veil-like quality. It consists of an anodised aluminium mesh, mild bronze in colour to blend with the earthy tones of the bastions, with subtle reflective properties to allow for a delicate change in colour depending on the angle and intensity of the sun. The shape of the apertures in the mesh relates to the shapes found in traditional metal elements used in buildings throughout Valletta. The metallic nature of the new structure also provides a psychological link with the historical lift and recreates an industrial aura not unlike that of the original structure. At 58m the lift is one of the tallest buildings on the islands. Yet, it integrates elegantly with its historical setting and whilst assuming its industrial inheritance, it is clearly a product of contemporary times.

Editor’s Note

Guillaume Dreyfuss is a heritage and historical researcher with Architecture Project since 2001. After a first degree in Art History followed by a postgraduate degree in Mediterranean Heritage from the University of Aix-Marseille I, he obtained a Master’s degree in Built Environment: Sustainable Heritage from University College London in 2007. He has extensive experience in the identification, assessment and presentation of values associated with heritage assets, as well as in the preparation of restoration, maintenance, and management strategies. During his time at AP, he has been responsible also for the preparation of heritage management strategies and maintenance plans for various buildings in Malta, as well as the assessment of heritage site values, and the formulation of proposals for the sustainable conservation and adaptive re-use of heritage buildings. He is co-editor of The Founding Myths of Architecture (Black Dog Publishing/Artifice). 




Industrial Heritage

Property & Life Magazine Issue 04

The future of Malta’s

Industrial Heritage


(from left) Simonds Farsons Cisk plc Company Secretary, Ms Antoinette Caruana, The Farsons Foundation Chairman, Mr Bryan A. Gera, Simonds Farsons Cisk plc Chairman, Mr Louis A. Farrugia, Minister for Tourism, Culture and the Environment, Dr Mario de Marco, international heritage and museums advisor Mr Tim Ambrose, Dean of the Faculty for the Built Environment at the University of Malta, Professor Alex Torpiano.

A conference on how Malta’s industrial heritage can add value to the islands’ cultural tourism was held at The Brewery of Simonds Farsons Cisk plc in Mriehel. Entitled: “Approaches to Industrial Heritage in Malta: What works?”, the one-day conference aimed to highlight important aspects of Malta’s industrial past, its general appreciation and its significance for future generations.


he conference was organised by The Farsons Foundation in collaboration with the Department of Built Heritage, Faculty for the Built Environment at the University of Malta. In his opening address, the Farsons Foundation’s Chairman Mr Bryan A. Gera said: “Industrial heritage existed in all phases of human development from the time of the Industrial Revolution – in mid 18th century. The achievements and grandiose constructions which started off in that era set off a momentum which carries on unabated to this day.” “Farsons is counted among the pioneers of industrialisation in Malta. It is therefore quite fitting that the distinguished audience is convened today in what is referred as Farsons’ ‘Old Boardroom’ where part of the industrial heritage we enjoy today was decided upon in the late 1940s,” continued Mr Gera. The keynote speaker was Mr Timothy Ambrose, an international specialist in cultural destination development and cultural heritage management. Mr Ambrose outlined a range of factors that create value from industrial heritage assets. He said that the future of our historical and economic heritage depends on a number of factors, such as securing funds for sustainable preservation, reviewing existing policies and priorities for the care and conservation, and improving public understanding of the value of historical heritage.

participation of a number of professionals and organisations that are pioneering industrial heritage in Malta. The panel consisted of Prof Robert Ghirlando from the Faculty of Engineering; Mr James Licari, President Malta Association of Professional Conservator-Restorers (MASPCoRe); Mr Joseph Magro Conti, Heritage Planning Unit Manager at MEPA’s Planning Directorate; Mr Ray Polidano, Director General of Malta Aviation Museum Foundation and Mr Godwin Vella, Senior Curator Ethnography at Heritage Malta. The debate was chaired by Prof JoAnn Cassar, Head Department of Built Heritage, Faculty for the Built Environment.

Mr Ambrose said: “Industrial history is an important part of cultural history. People value it for its intrinsic and instrumental values. Today’s conference could serve as an issue for discussion in relation to Malta’s National Strategy for Cultural Heritage, the Cultural Heritage Inventory and MEPA’s scheduled sites.” The Dean of the Faculty for the Built Environment at the University of Malta Professor Alex Torpiano thanked the Farsons Foundation for taking the leading role in organising this conference – a first in Malta. He explained the identity of industrial heritage. “Industrial heritage is not only a history of architecture but encompasses machines, and the buildings in which they were housed, as well as the fabric of a changing society. It is that which a past generation has preserved and handed to the present and which a significant group of the population wishes to hand to the future. The building we are in is an example of this process.”

“Industrial heritage is not only a history of architecture but encompasses machines, and the buildings in which they were housed, as well as the fabric of a changing society”

“As can be seen, the industrial heritage, in this case, is therefore not just the façade of the building, but the whole building, with its construction process and materials it was built with, the drawings specifying how it was to be constructed, as well the whole brewing processes contained within it. Preservation of heritage needs to facilitate the telling of a story, so that the whole point of preservation is widely understood,” added Prof Torpiano.

The conference was also addressed by the exMinister for Tourism, Culture and the Environment Dr Mario de Marco, Simonds Farsons Cisk plc, Chairman Mr Louis A. Farrugia, Simonds Farsons Cisk plc Director Mr Michael Farrugia, and Dr Reuben Grima from the University’s Faculty for the Built Environment.

A panel discussion on how to repair, restore and reuse Malta’s industrial past was held with the 




Interior design

Property & Life Magazine Issue 04

The Three “F’s”-

Function, Focal Point and Flow Considerations by Aldo Cutajar


ocal Point - What do you want to emphasize? If you have a big bay window that looks out over a scenic vista, perhaps you want to highlight the view. Maybe your pride and joy is a majestic decorative fireplace. Orient your furniture to direct attention to the focal point. If viewing a widescreen HD television is important to you, the optimal distance between the TV set and any seating is roughly three times the size of the screen. Flow - Can people move easily from place to place? Notice at how people enter and exit the room, and how doors open and close. Cluttered pathways can make you feel like you’re in a pinball machine, so avoid placing large pieces of furniture in the natural lane of traffic if at all possible. Allow at least 3 feet of open space for your primary traffic routes Placing Furniture First, place the larger pieces of furniture (e.g. couch, loveseat, desk or bed) facing the focal point. To ensure a cosier, more intimate setting, move seating in from the walls, placing pieces within 8 feet of one another. Angling a few pieces of furniture can give a softer, more casual feel to a room, while geometric alignment conveys a sense of formality and seriousness. Sofas and chaise lounges make great dividers, if you need to separate areas of a room. Next, arrange related pieces (e.g. tables and chairs) accordingly. Place tables within easy

Function - What kind of room is it? Arranging furniture in a dining room is much different than in a living room, bedroom or office. Does the room need to accommodate a lot of people or just a few? sleeping and seating. Ottomans, tables and beds with hidden storage compartments help keep a room uncluttered and stylish at the same time. And don’t forget about vertical space.

reach of all chairs and make sure that coffee tables allow 14-18 inches of legroom. In dining rooms, be sure to account for the fact that people will need to pull their chairs out from the table before they are seated and that someone may need to walk behind the chair.

Shelving provides a home for books, photos and other accents, while wall or ceilingmounted racks can store bikes and save precious floor space. Wall mirrors can give the illusion of a larger room and alleviate claustrophobic feelings, especially if there are few window treatments (e.g. curtains or blinds). The brighter the room is, either from natural or artificial light, the more open the room will appear.

Last, add accents to make your room more functional or aesthetically pleasing. Shelves, table lamps and floor lamps improve storage and general visibility, while wall art and rugs add to the ambiance of room. Accents also help you direct how people’s eyes move up and down as they scan the room. You can balance a room by placing furniture of similar height (with or without accents) across from each other. Optimising Space The smaller the room, the more concerned you should be about using the available space efficiently. People who favour a Spartan décor have a distinct advantage over those with luxurious tastes - the less stuff you have, the easier it is to accommodate. Additionally, multifunctional furniture can provide invaluable benefits. Sofa beds are ideal for small apartments, since they serve two functions -

Tel: + 356 21332527 Cell: + 356 99470984 email: web: facebook:

PROFILE Aldo Cutajar was born in 1964 in Attard, Malta, Europe. Influenced by his father’s artistic flair, and after completing his education at the University of Malta where he graduated in Business Management, he opened his interior design business in 1992. Aldo Cutajar is a national lifestyle designer. Known for his no-nonsense philosophy and straightforward approach, Aldo helps people make their home reflective of their lifestyle no matter their circumstances. 


Property & Life Magazine


Issue 04

Medieval Mdina Festival


Medieval Puppet Show and Crafts Workshop for Children

ransporting the Silent City and its visitors back in time, the Medieval Mdina Festival on 13th and 14th April 2013 celebrates our distinctive medieval past through re-enactments, pageantry, floral displays, street markets, jousting tournaments, displays of birds of prey, as well as medieval games including medieval football and human chess challenges for everyone.

Music World Entertainment, in collaboration with Infinitely Xara will be hosting a Jazz Night at the Silent City on Saturday 20th April at the magnificent Palazzo de Piro in Mdina.


As part of this unique festival, Infinitely Xara is organizing a Medieval Puppet Show and Crafts Workshop for Children on Saturday 13th April and Sunday 14th April at Palazzo de Piro’s Sala Grande. A tale of wizards, knights and dragons that will transport children back in the mystery of medieval times and help them relive the glory of Malta’s past.

Together, these three remarkable musicians are preparing to turn this evening into a great playing famous immortal jazz standard songs and surprising the audience with a few local songs chosen especially to be recreated with a jazzy twist.

Pre-booked tickets for either the 13th or 14th April are Euro 3 per child and can be reserved by calling 22 567 567 or e-mail events@

his event is being organized in aid of Puttinu Cares and will feature three renowned Maltese artists; Geordie Debono on the piano and vocals, Amante Farrugia on the bass and Chris Camilleri on drums and percussion.


The festival also features an exquisite selection of traditional medieval food and drink and Mdina’s various museums, historic palaces and churches will be open throughout the two days with discounted entrance fees to all attractions in Mdina. 


Subject to availability, tickets will also be available at the door at Euro 5 per child.



Property & Life Magazine Issue 4  

Property & Life Magazine Issue 4

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