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THIS ISSUE

CASE STUDY APS Chairman Emanuel P. Delia on the importance of re-inventing institutions and placing ethics at the centre of a business model.

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Issue 16 | October – November 2013

business agenda

NEWSPAPER POST TECHNOLOGY Discover the basics of taking your business online.

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THE Official Business publication of the Malta business Bureau

GOVERNMENT EXPECTED TO INCREASE EU FUNDS ALLOCATED TO BUSINESSES interview Oliver Gajda, President of the European Crowdfunding Network, discusses how crowdfunding is rapidly expanding as an alternative instrument of raising finance for SMEs.

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ENVIRONMENT As the EU Life+ Investing in Water Project approaches its last phase, a number of businesses that adopted solutions managed to reduce a considerable amount of water consumption.

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EU POLICY EU rules governing the definition of what constitutes package travel are in the process of being changed to reflect the realities of modern-day online booking systems.

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Recently, Government published a strategy policy document ‘Programming of European Funds for Malta 2014-2020’, which outlines the country’s objectives for the use of EU funds in the next seven years. Consequently, a public consultation process was initiated to listen to stakeholders’ views on how to make best use of the €1.128 billion allocated to Malta.

funds to private enterprise when compared to what would have been invested by the end of 2013. The report sheds light on the fact that 8 per cent of EU Cohesion Policy Funds was made available to private enterprise during the last programming period. This amounts to only €70 million of a possible €855 million which was accessible to business.

The MBB has contributed to this public consultation by presenting a report to Government, which presents a case on the importance of allocating a larger share of EU

While the contribution boosted Malta’s economy considerably, it makes economic sense for the contribution allocated to private enterprise to be increased fur-

ther. This is due to the multiplier benefits that added investment injected into the private sector brings about – yielding higher rates of economic growth. The private sector is most certainly a better alternative than the public sector to bring higher returns from EU Structural Funds to meet the country’s needs. Studies show that regions that have experienced the best performance in terms of economic growth are the ones that allocated funds more efficiently across productive sectors.

The MBB report suggests that during the 2014-2020 programming period, €180-200 million of Structural Funds should be allocated for direct use by the private sector. This would reduce the need of having to turn down eligible project proposals of private enterprise. Also, this estimated amount would be able to meet the demand for both grants and financial engineering instruments. See full story on page 4.

EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT 2013: 1.5 MILLION ADOPTS ONLINE TOURIST MILESTONE GAMBLING RESOLUTION TO BE ACHIEVED The European Parliament has adopted a Resolution on online gambling, which although not legally binding, may call for a more active role by the EU in the future. Any action in this regard may impact the Maltese economy, particularly due to its online gambling sector, which has developed into a strong industry over the past years. This would also have a trickledown effect on many other sectors. While the Resolution includes some positive aspects such as the

call on the European Commission to launch infringement proceedings against any member state where the gambling legislation is incompliant with EU law, other proposals call for a joint definition of legal operators, which is incompatible with Maltese legislation. This prompted the Maltese MEPs to vote against the Resolution. See full story on page 8.

This year is proving to be yet another successful one for the Maltese tourism industry. The number of tourists visiting Malta has been on the increase despite the volatile international economic climate. This can be attributed to the hard work that all stakeholders are putting into promoting the islands, investing in the product and increasing the connectivity to new destinations. Nevertheless, the Maltese tourism industry is open all year long

and there is a lot of potential to increase the volume of tourists coming to Malta during the shoulder months. A collective effort is required by the public authorities and the private sector to ensure that activities are running continuously and to tap into expanding niche markets. See full story on page 6.


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editorial

LET’S SET THE RECORD STRAIGHT Recently the MBB presented a report to Government, suggesting a revamp in the allocation of EU funds put to the disposal of the private sector. This report argues the case that funds allocated to the private sector are put to use more efficiently than if they were used by the public sector. Government agreed that there is potential for better allocation of funds towards the private sector (see page 4 for a detailed report). The MBB is following up on this agreement with concrete project proposals for consideration by Government. However, at the MBB we are also aware of the existence of several misconceptions permeating businesses’ approach towards EU funding opportunities. It is regrettable that a number of SMEs consider EU funds to be somehow or other the equivalent of public subsidies. This misconception cannot be entirely blamed on businesses either. The governance of EU funds in terms of project calls and management processes is much more policy-driven; therefore it is hard for enterprises to

conceptualise their efficient use. Government, hand in hand with business organisations, should do more to help businesses to understand the nature of EU funds and how best they can be put to use. It is time to set the record straight. EU funds are not free money that can be made use of as one wishes. EU funds are taxpayers’ contributions, construed to fund the programming of activities directly supportive of EU policy objectives. Often the purpose of EU funds is to leverage an impact on macroeconomic performance by supplementing with further investment options the means for businesses to become more competitive in areas such as energy efficiency, internationalisation and workforce skilling. The public accountability of EU funding is safeguarded by rules and procedures which the beneficiaries must adhere to. Failure to abide by the rules can result in instances of reimbursement of the EU public aid. It is also important to bear in mind that when applying for EU funds, an emphasis is made on the inno-

vative aspect of the project for which the funds shall be used. EU funds must be used to boost the development of a company. In some cases applicants do not take into account the stiff competition that characterises the access to direct EU funding streams. When enterprises apply for EU funds, they are in competition with a hundred and one other companies applying for the same grant. It is for this reason that an innovative project is attributed a higher score at project evaluation stage. The more innovative the project is, the more of a chance there is for the grant to be awarded. EU funds are also limited to annual budgetary programming and consequently, calls for project proposals are not based on a rolling application basis. There is no endless pot of free gold at the end of the rainbow, and anyone who believes otherwise will be disillusioned. The money will eventually end, and one has to put in a great effort to earn a piece of the cake.

By Joe Tanti, Chief Executive Officer, MBB Tapping EU funds and grants can be complex, but it is not unachievable, and it is most certainly worth the effort, despite the accompanying administrative burdens. While the MBB acknowledges and has been lobbying Government and EU institutions to reduce the administrative red tape for SMEs, an administrative element will always exist. A better understanding of what EU funds entail can most certainly help businesses by directing them through the right channels and thus saving them precious time and resources.

In this respect, the MBB has a key role to play. For the time being, we can serve by helping companies identify which EU funds would be appropriate for their businesses. The MBB is calling on Government to work with business organisations in setting up a capacity building structure to support local SMEs in identifying and applying for the appropriate project for their business development requirements in the most efficient manner. We believe that such an initiative can start addressing some of the misconceptions related to EU funds.

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The Malta Business Bureau is a non-profit making organisation acting as the European-Business Advisory and Support Office of the Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry and the Malta Hotels and Restaurants Association. The MBB has two offices, the Head Office in Malta and the Representation Office in Brussels. Editor: Joe Tanti Editorial Team: Omar Cutajar, Daniel Debono, Mariella Scicluna, Mark Seychell Advertising Sales Executives: Edward Magri , Leigh Pisani Business Agenda is the quarterly publication of the Malta Business Bureau. It is distributed to all members of the Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry, all the members of the Malta Hotels and Restaurants Association, and to all other leading businesses by Mailbox Distribution Services, part of Mailbox Group. Business Agenda is also distributed by the Malta Business Bureau to leading European and business institutions in Brussels.


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cover story

cover story

Government expected

to increase EU funds

Allocated to businesses Hard-fought negotiations preceded Malta’s allocation of €1.128 billion in EU funding for the period 2014-2020. In the light of the high level of funding obtained by Malta, the Malta Business Bureau (MBB) drew up a solid report focusing on the importance of more funding being allocated to the private sector. CHIARA BONELLO speaks to leading protagonists in the field. The Government is set to accede to a recommendation made by the Malta Business Bureau to increase the level of EU funding to the private sector for the next EU budgetary period 20142020. In a report, the MBB has recommended that the allocation to the private sector should be increased to between €180 million to €200 million. The Parliamentary Secretary responsible for EU funds, Dr Ian Borg told Business Agenda that the Government is set to accept the recommendations made by the MBB, although perhaps not to the extent proposed by the MBB: “Government will definitely heed the MBB’s recommendations, although perhaps not the amounts proposed due to the limited budget,” he asserts. Dr Borg says that the private sector will certainly be allocated its fair share, as the Government believes that SMEs and the pri-

vate sector are the motor for economic growth.

facilitate their operations while simplifying bureaucratic procedures.”

“It is the private sector that can help us achieve our country’s sustainable economic growth projections, which will ultimately benefit everyone.” – Parliamentary Secretary Ian Borg

Malta’s main priorities for the next programming period, as outlined in the Partnership Agreement, include cultivating competitiveness through innovation and creation of a positive commercial environment, providing economic support in order to have an economy which favours the environment and makes efficient use of available resources, and creating opportunities through investment in human capital and health.

He affirms “it is the private sector that can help us achieve our country’s sustainable economic growth projections, which will ultimately benefit everyone. Therefore it is our duty as a Government to allow business to work and where needed to

Economist Stephanie Vella explains that these priorities continue to build on those of the current programming period, with further emphasis on enhancing competitiveness, which is highly important for a small country like Malta, and renewed emphasis on the importance of human resources and the environment. Malta’s allocation is higher than that of the previous period, she explains. Taking into account the contribution Malta makes to the EU budget, it renders an overall net position of €627 million. Ms Vella explains that Malta’s allocation is considered particularly favourable in view of the fact that the overall EU budget was reduced and that Malta lost its status as a convergence objective, as its GDP per capita is higher than 75 per cent of the EU average, resulting in Malta being considered a transition region. “Furthermore, in view of the fact that investment aid intensities are likely to be revised downwards, thus limiting the financial assistance through grant schemes offered to the private sector, it is of utmost importance that sufficient funds are allocated to the private sector and that funds are utilised in the most effective way possible,” she states. MBB President George Vella says that while the report was well received by Government and social partners, we have not won

George Vella, MBB President sionary period whereby growth, albeit weak, was maintained. This was partly down to funding earmarked for the private sector, she argues.

Stephanie Vella, Economist over enough minds to be satisfied that our mission is accomplished. There is still a lot more convincing that needs to be done. The issue now is how much the Government is willing to change direction in the way funds are allocated and operated, in comparison to the current programming period. “We hope that lessons are really learnt from previous mistakes and funds are now allocated more efficiently and effectively,” he says, pointing out that this may be the last programming period whereby Malta remains a net beneficiary, before becoming a net contributor towards the EU Budget post-2020. Economist Vella agrees that the private sector is a key pillar of the Maltese economy, driving economic growth and generating employment. Its importance is also evident from the pivotal role it played during the reces-

Ian Borg, Parliamentary Secretary

A key feature of the private sector is its composition, as it is made up of a large number of SMEs, particularly micro firms, which tend to be characterised by limitations related to their size, such as limited ability to exploit economies of scale, which is further exacerbated by the fact that these firms operate within a small economy which in itself also experiences a number of inherent vulnerabilities. She adds that to this end, funding serves as an important input for the private sector to overcome its challenges, while at the same time exploiting opportunities. The potential growth of the Maltese economy strongly depends on the productivity of the private sector and its ability to compete. This emphasises the importance of funds being earmarked for the private sector, particularly towards investment purposes, since the level of investment in Malta has declined in recent years, potentially denting future growth prospects. The need for more funds is also evident from the fact that take-up

of funds by the private sector in the current programming period has been significant, with a number of measures for enterprise support which have been closed due to the exhaustion of funds. Furthermore the private sector through its investment is a catalyst of economic growth, Ms Vella affirms. Ms Vella agrees with the MBB President that efficient and effective use of funds is paramount: “there is no doubt that for the Maltese economy to converge towards the EU level of income, the level of productivity has to increase at a faster pace, which in turn depends on the level of investment, which at present is below the EU average. Therefore for the Maltese economy to converge, investment needs to increase at an even faster pace. There are strong economic arguments noting that the private sector is better suited to providing such investment, given the efficiency and effectiveness with which it operates in terms of seeking the highest economic rates of return. There is thus great scope for the allocation of funds for the private sector to increase, ensuring however that they are absorbed in the most efficient and effective manner.”

The Government is set to accede to a recommendation made by the Malta Business Bureau to increase the level of EU funding to the private sector for the next EU budgetary period 2014-2020. MBB President Vella is of the firm opinion that to date the private sector has benefitted immensely from EU funds, however as the report states, there were many instances where, due to high demand, particular schemes were oversubscribed and thus some firms remained empty handed. There were other instances where reimbursements of funds took a long time to be effected, creating liquidity problems for enterprises, he explains, adding that given the limited resources of local SMEs, the cumbersome and bureaucratic process to apply for funds at times also makes some businesses wonder whether it is worth pursuing such funds. “These are all factors that have been outlined repeatedly with public authorities,” he claims, “and we hope that action will be taken to avoid such circumstances in the new programming period.” It appears that the Government has in fact picked up on this issue. Parliamentary Secretary

Borg states that during his first days in office, he noted all the difficulties encountered in gaining access to finance by SMEs during the 2007-2013 programming period, and argues that the Government must ensure that these issues are addressed and not repeated in the next financial programme, so that the private sector can continue to expand its operations, thus generating more jobs. “Malta’s priority,” Mr Vella says, “is orienting its strategy towards achieving the Europe 2020 tar-

gets set specifically by the European Commission. Meeting these targets, which vary from research and innovation, to education, employment and renewable energy, is of critical importance in order for future generations to be in a position to face coming challenges. Private sector investment expressed as a percentage of Malta's GDP is trailing behind other European member states by three percentage points which is equivalent to a gap of close to €200 million a year. We therefore need to use these funds to stimulate further

private sector investment if we are to see growth in the Maltese economy. Malta needs to use EU funds to strengthen its traditional industries, as well as to nurture other niche sectors that can add a real value to our economy.” It is private sector initiatives and investments that will ultimately contribute most to the final output of the country and to the creation of “decent” jobs, Dr Borg maintains, adding that through better support the private sector can also increase its contribution to the country’s savings and

investment, thus contributing more to the development of the country. He says that the fact that the private sector benefitted from around 8 per cent of Malta’s allocation for the 2007-2013 period may not have met the private sector’s expectations and reiterates that Government will undoubtedly take into account MBB’s suggestions and address some of its concerns in the next programming period.


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tourism

tourism

2013: 1.5 million tourist

milestone to be achieved ‘A SUMMER THAT WILL GO DOWN IN THE RECORD BOOKS’ – MTA CEO Josef Formosa Gauci Early this year, the Malta Hotels and Restaurants Association (MHRA) predicted that summer 2013 would be 'the perfect summer' in terms of tourist arrivals, and according to figures released by the National Statistics Office, showing an increase of 11.6 per cent of departing tourists in June and 4.2 per cent in July, it would appear they were right. SARAH MICALLEF finds out more. Indeed, as MHRA President Tony Zahra maintains, “Malta is experiencing near double digit growths month over month over the same period last year. We expect to end the year with an incredible 1.5 million arrivals, which will be 100,000 more arrivals than in 2012. Given that Malta has had four years where each year broke records beating the previous years, it is no mean feat to achieve this growth this year.” Malta Tourism Authority CEO Josef Formosa Gauci agrees, stating “all indications are that this will be a summer that will go down in the record books. All basic performance indicators are positive, with actual departures, overnights and expenditure all up on last year. Our tourism performance has been positive from all markets of significance and all segments are reporting growth.”

ing and product development. “On the accessibility front, we not only ensured that our existing markets had adequate airline seat capacity, but also managed to attract a number of new routes and extended services on existing routes. We have meanwhile ensured that our marketing presence extends to stimulate demand in all our markets by featuring a mix of traditional print and outdoor advertising options, together with a range of digital media to address all segments of potential visitors. On the product front, besides all the ongoing works and the completion of a number of EU-funded projects, our biggest efforts during the peak

summer months concentrated on beach management and providing assistance in resort management, particularly through improved waste management.” Indeed, all things considered, there is still room for improvement. As Mr Formosa Gauci suggests, certain aspects of the infrastructure need to be further improved to reach the levels which visiting tourists are accustomed to in their countries of residence. “We also need to offer a more consistent level of service, as the feedback we receive suggests that there is still a wide gap in the consistency of service delivery. Tourism today is also

about value for money and satisfied customers.”

spend more to get a better quality of service.”

Moreover, as a spokesperson from San Giuliano Restaurants asserts, despite receiving similar or higher quantities of tourists across their restaurants than in previous years, they have largely been of a lesser quality – the majority with far less spending power. She argues that “attracting a better quality of tourist is hard given the current economic climate, but Malta can do so by offering a better brand of tourism in the form of a five-star experience. Emphasis also needs to be placed on cleanliness. One thing leads to the other – you have to

Mr Paul Bugeja, CFO of Corinthia Hotels International Ltd comments that “cleanliness is one of the top priorities. I also think that quality and hospitality is important, and is what everyone wants to experience when they come to Malta. Despite being known for it, hospitality does not currently appear to be at the top of the agenda across the board.” Another aspect Mr Bugeja emphasises is product knowledge in relation to the Maltese islands. “Everyone, and not just people within the industry, should know a little

“Our medium term objective is to uplift winter from a breakeven period for our tourism service providers into one during which at least a marginal profit is registered.” – MTA CEO Josef Formosa Gauci Asked about what has been done on the part of Maltese hoteliers and restaurateurs to promote tourism this past summer season, Mr Zahra explains that people within the industry realise that it is important to invest in their product if they want to remain competitive. “We are no doubt witnessing a continuous renewal of the product, and those organisations that are investing are seeing a return whereas those that are not are losing ground.” Similarly, the MTA, according to Mr Formosa Gauci, has worked hard on the three main pillars of its tourism strategy: aviation, market-

Photo by Mario Galea - www.viewingmalta.com

Photo by Alison Galea - www.viewingmalta.com more about Malta. Each tourist is a potential PR agent, and if we know more about Product Malta, we would be able to offer that little bit extra.” Lastly, he maintains that we should not forget to promote Gozo. “For some, Gozo is just a day trip, but I think a Gozo experience makes a visit to Malta more holistic.”

“We expect to end the year with an incredible 1.5 million arrivals, which will be 100,000 more arrivals than in 2012.” – MHRA President Tony Zahra As for the MHRA, Mr Zahra maintains that the next target must be to have arrivals increase in the winter in order to have an equal number of arrivals each month. “This is, of course, a big task,” he asserts, “however we believe that with a strategic plan for weekly activities targeted toward various markets we can achieve this objective. It's been done elsewhere, so we don't need to reinvent the wheel. We also need to put targeted investments into this area. This will be of tremendous benefit to the industry and increase revenues substantially for employers, employees and the Government alike.” Indeed, as Mr Zahra explains, increased numbers of arrivals increase spending in Malta, calculating that “this year Government revenue will increase by circa €45 million in VAT revenues only.” With the peak season behind us, attention now shifts to the slower, winter season. Mr Zahra is optimistic about the coming months, stating that the MHRA already foresees a record number of arrivals this coming winter. On the part of the MTA, Mr Formosa Gauci affirms, “we have ensured that there is adequate airline seat capacity for the winter months and will be working with our partners to maximise our off-season performance. As was the case in summer, we are building on a number of good past-winters, so our objective is to maintain our gains and build on them further. Our medium term objective is to uplift winter from a break-even period for our tourism service providers into one during which at least a marginal profit is registered.”


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EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT

EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT

EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT ADOPTS ONLINE GAMBLING RESOLUTION

MALTESE MEPs VOTED AGAINST

During a vote taken within the European Parliament (EP) in September 2013, a Resolution on online gambling was adopted by a vast majority of MEPs, whilst Maltese MEPs voted against. CHIARA BONELLO talks to the experts to discuss the outcome vis-à-vis the local gaming industry. Online gambling is one the EU’s fastest growing service activities, with annual revenues in 2015 predicted to reach €13 billion, but it is also characterised by a diversity of regulatory frameworks. A Green Paper on Online Gambling in the Internal Market was drawn up by the European Commission to address this issue and found that member states converge on the objective of protecting citizens but differ in terms of the regulatory and technical approaches undertaken to achieve this objective. As a result, the Commission adopted a Communication that aims to develop a comprehensive European framework for online gambling by developing a set of common principles – though not common legislation – at EU level that aim to ensure a high level of protection of all citizens. In concrete terms, the principles according to the Commission, should include effective and efficient registration, age verification and identification controls, self-limitation possibilities, signposting to helplines, clear notices on ‘no underage gambling’ and socially responsible advertisements and marketing.

The EP Resolution follows the Commission’s efforts in this field and calls on it to ensure that stricter codes are introduced in the sector. But where does this leave Malta, a country whose online gambling industry provides a significant contribution to its GDP, with more than 7,000 people employed directly or indirectly, 240 registered companies and more than 400 operating licences? According to Malta Chamber’s Gaming Section Chairman George Debrincat, the call on the European Commission to launch infringement proceedings against any member state where the gambling legislation is incompliant with European Union (EU) law is a particularly welcome part of the Resolution. He explains that some of these cases date back to 2006 and action is already long overdue. He adds that with member states re-regulating their local markets, the need to create legal certainty is as great as ever. Another positive aspect of this Resolution, he continues, is that

it encourages increased cooperation between member states and the EU, in areas such as e-verification and information sharing. “We hope that this will lead to more streamlined identification procedures and licensing processes. It is also a necessary, albeit small, first step towards a common European online gaming and betting market.” He says that in line with the EP’s suggestions, it is important that member states share information. Malta, for example, has a voice within the EU institutions and as one of the first member states to regulate online gaming and betting. It holds a unique understanding in relation to operational conditions, the importance of an attractive product scope, as well as the necessity of a reasonable tax level in order to attract players to the legal offer, whilst upholding high responsible gaming standards and consumer protection. European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) Rapporteur Stefano Mallia argues that the Resolution does not aim to propose a sectoral harmonisation of online

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gambling, stating that “generally speaking this Resolution reflects the drive undertaken by a number of member states to ensure that they maintain full control of the online gambling sector. It is also clear that there is zero appetite for any form of legislative initiative that could be taken on an EU level, which effectively means that giving this sector any semblance of a single market is still many years away (if indeed at all).” He says that the Resolution certainly seeks to tackle all the key issues linked to online gambling, such as consumer protection, sports integrity and illegal gambling, in some instances proposing measures that have been on the agenda for quite some time. In other areas the European Parliament is pushing for stricter controls, in, for example, the area of advertising and for some form of harmonisation of software platforms. Commenting on the Resolution, Parliamentary Secretary for Competitiveness and Economic Growth Edward Zammit Lewis states that Malta's position remains the same;

it is in agreement with parts of the Resolution, such as the need to regulate remote gaming on an EU scale, and disagrees with others; and while it welcomes any initiative that promotes responsible gaming, these initiatives must be in line with the Treaty and should not be construed simply to create barriers at cross-border levels. One should also keep in mind that cross-border gambling does not only impact online gaming. There are many other forms of gaming that occur between states that do not involve gambling, but which are impacted by this Resolution, he says. MEP Roberta Metsola claims that she voted against the Resolution as it touches upon issues which are fundamental for Malta and the industry in the country. “That is not to say that the Resolution is entirely bad,” she claims, “it contains a number of positive measures such as calls for protection of minors and for the Commission to take enforcement action against member states that are in breach of EU law. However it makes a number of points which on balance I considered unacceptable. For example it proposes a joint definition of legal operators, which is incompatible with Maltese legislation. I also could not accept the call for national tax regimes for gambling services to be brought in line with one another; this should remain strictly a member state competence.” MEP Claudette Abela Baldacchino is of a similar opinion: “whilst I consider that the Resolution has some positive elements, such as the calls for the protection of minors and self-exclusion mechanisms, the Resolution goes against the interest of the Maltese online gambling sector on essential elements. For instance, it takes a strong stance against so-called unauthorised operators without an additional authorisation in the member state in which they offer their services – that is, Maltese operators. Also, it calls for black lists, which would discriminate against properly licensed Maltese operators, and for national tax regimes to be harmonised.”

DISCUSSING THE DRAWBACKS Mr Mallia questions whether the EU has the competence to take certain action in the field. “What is somewhat baffling is that this

same Resolution is also calling for action in an area which frankly is not within the EU’s competence. I am referring to tax issues. The Resolution calls on the Commission to address ‘the problem of tax avoidance by authorised operators who provide online gambling services in the EU market but have their registered offices in tax havens within or outside the EU’. Of course this is a very positive thing which should be pursued by all, but I’m not too sure it lies within the competence of the Commission at all.”

Whether any concrete action and perhaps stricter legislation will result from the Resolution is yet to be seen, he says, what is certain is that it will increase pressure on the Commission to take further action especially in the field of cross-border offers. It also gives the Commission a greater impetus in its infringement proceedings against those member states that have put in place national legislation that goes against the EU acquis. Alan Alden, a Director at Kyte Consultants is of the opinion that

“it is always a good idea to have some minimum standards that would have to be applied across all jurisdictions, and it is a good idea to have a common database for problem gamblers, but these are the only benefits.” “Once you start to restrict trade, offer inferior and more expensive products, people go elsewhere. With the tax regimes in place where national licensing is obligatory (we are still awaiting results of the infringement procedures against them) operators cannot make money

and no-one wants to run a lossmaking business. We are noticing a rise in licensing outside the EU and at this rate we will have the situation that existed prior to 2004 (i.e. when Malta started regulating on online gambling), where business was conducted outside the EU. We are also heading into a ridiculous situation where to operate in Europe a company would need 28 licenses with different compliance and tax requirements to follow. This is unacceptable and kills off all SMEs and any potential startups,” he laments.

Mr Alden claims that the Remote Gaming Regulations of Malta, although not perfect, cater for the real and potential issues of online gambling, namely transparency, fair play, protection of players’ funds and player protection. Mr Debrincat points out that furthermore, the Resolution calls for enforcement measures against ‘illegal operators’, but no distinction is made between EU operators and others. There is no mention, for example, he claims, of the fact that Maltese operators are licensed by the Lotteries and Gaming Authority and undergo exhaustive corporate due diligence and operational audits. Mr Debrincat says that it would have been beneficial had the Resolution recognised the importance of market reality and consumer choice to a larger extent. In the online environment, the more attractive and cheaper offer is only a click away for the customers. As has been recognised by the European Commission and the Commissioner for the Internal Market, the development of an attractive range of legal gambling opportunities is therefore the key to effectively channel consumers to the regulated offer.

THE WAY FORWARD MEP Metsola points out that as this is an Own Initiative Report, and not a piece of legislation per se, it will not lead to any direct changes to the law. However as reports are often used as a launching pad or pretext for possible extension of EU legislation in the area, she argues, one will have to wait and see. Parliamentary Secretary Zammit Lewis agrees, stating that, therefore, the only potential effect of this Resolution is that it may encourage the Commission to take action. This could take the form of proposals for legislation in the medium- to long-term. In Mr Mallia’s opinion, the way forward is as yet uncertain and will certainly be the subject of considerable discussion; however what preoccupies him is the fact that the EU takes a long time to register progress when this industry is moving at breakneck speed in terms of technological developments. “As a member state with considerable interests in the sector,” he cautions, “we must be vigilant to protect these interests within the framework of the acquis. In my mind I have no doubt that the journey towards a fully regulated pan-European online gambling sector is a very long one. This Resolution will not bring about a revolution, but will be an important step which will lead to other important steps.”


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interview

interview

REACHING

NEW HEIGHTS FIMBank’s project team Jason Zammit, First Vice President with Silvio Mifsud, Executive Vice President

While strolling through St Julian’s it is likely that an elegant towering complex will capture your attention. This new building hosts the head office of global trade finance specialist FIMBank plc. CHIARA BONELLO meets two of the bank’s senior officers responsible for the project to discuss the bank’s vision, the project itself and its execution. FIMBank obtained its banking licence in 1994 and started operating from the Plaza Commercial Centre in Sliema 18 years ago. In recent years, however, as the bank expanded steadily, it has sought to find its own premises. Executive Vice-President Silvio Mifsud, who joined the bank in 1998, explains that from the Plaza offices, a compact team was providing a very limited set of trade finance services, but with time the FIMBank Group grew and matured. Today FIMBank employs more than 400 people worldwide, including 185 at its Malta head office and now provides a comprehensive range of trade finance and banking services. Mr Mifsud explains that the new premises coincided with an important milestone for the bank, as a controlling stake was taken up by two premier Middle Eastern banks, which have invested substantially and will be doubling FIMBank’s capital. On a global level, FIMBank boasts a physical presence in 11 financial centres worldwide across five continents including offices in London, New York, Dubai, Singapore and Sao Paolo. I discover that the hub of FIMBank’s international network is

the new state-of-the-art Mercury Tower in St Julian’s which was very recently inaugurated by Prime Minister Joseph Muscat during a ceremony held to mark the occasion. The development, which has been conceived by leading architects and designers, consists of a fifteen-storey structure, with over 8,000 square metres of modern office space, car parking and storage facilities.

LOCATION! LOCATION! The project kick-started some four years ago, recalls Jason Zammit, First Vice-President Administration. Various sites were considered to host the new location for FIMBank’s head office but the ultimate choice fell on St Julian’s. When I ask why, Mr Zammit explains that St Julian’s is fast developing into Malta’s premier business district. “Apart from the Portomaso Tower and Aragon House, there is a transformation taking place in the area with modern high-end office space being created to cater for the businesses moving to this central location,” he asserts. He also explains that being close to high quality accommodation was very important for FIMBank, and today its head office is just a few

minutes away from most five-star hotels on the island. “Accessibility is also critical,” he continues, “and this convenient location allows our customers, employees and guests immediate access to the major north-south and east-west traffic arterial roads.” “We were looking for the right land to build on. This was a prerequisite for us, since we wanted to custom-build an office block to suit our specific needs,” Mr Zammit explains, adding that their new premises lay a solid foundation, both for the bank and for its clients. “It sends a strong and clear message that we are here and we’re here to stay,” he says.

“Each elevation of Mercury Tower is designed to respond to the individual orientation of each facade. My favourite is the north façade, with its terracotta covering, featuring a set of 22 coordinated, but irregularly placed, windows.” – Silvio Mifsud Executive Vice President THE DESIGN Turning the conversation to the design of the building, Mr Mifsud explains that the objectives listed in the bank management’s vision included the construction of a prominent landmark building which would be highly accessible and comfortable for users, while

offering employees a pleasant working environment.

to minimise its environmental impact.

clear that nothing but the best was put in place.

Therefore, when it came to the design of the project a strong emphasis was placed on creating a workplace which would support the culture and aspirations of the FIMBank Group.

The property is equipped with superior ventilation systems, intelligent lighting controls, building management systems and high performance insulation materials, while the selected glazed curtain walling system reduces heat gains and the requirement of artificial lighting, hence improving the health and well-being of its occupants.

Mr Zammit, who is also responsible for marketing, highlights the clever use of a mix of sleek and luxurious materials including timber, stainless steel and marble. These were utilised to create a subtle contrast of colours that reflect the company’s corporate identity, and to communicate a subliminal message of confidence and trust to all those who enter the building.

The building’s energy consumption is also significantly diminished by the use of heat recovery units that reduce the load of the air-conditioning, therefore lessening the environmental impact.

Different areas were subject to specific design specifications and the execution is sublime. By way of example, as Mr Zammit explains, the design brief for the canteen was to create a completely different feeling to the rest of the building; a recreational space with a more relaxed aura.

“Each elevation of Mercury Tower is designed to respond to the individual orientation of each facade. My favourite is the north facade, with its terracotta covering, featuring a set of 22 coordinated, but irregularly placed, windows,” he enthuses. Mr Mifsud recalls the difficulties encountered along the way, including the design development, which was a long and detailed process that started with a thorough data collection and analysis exercise so that architects, engineers and designers could better comprehend the bank’s current and future requirements. I learn that Mr Mifsud is also the bank’s Head of Information Technology and that the installations within this office block include some of the latest technologies, such as biometric access control and sophisticated CCTV and security systems, specifically designed for financial institutions.

ENVIRONMENTAL AWARENESS

Mr Mifsud comments that as a result of the various environmentally friendly measures implemented, energy consumption at the new head office has remained much the same as that at the previously occupied Sliema premises, despite the current one being a much larger building Water was also an important consideration. The bank understood the scarcity of this commodity on the island and therefore took a conscious decision to construct a reservoir for rain water harvesting beneath the tower, with a capacity of 480,000 litres.

With environmental awareness high on the agenda, Mr Mifsud explains that it was important for the bank that the building should incorporate the latest environmentally friendly features.

“Besides all these eco-friendly features within our head office, we believe that Mercury Tower itself contributes towards the upgrading of the surrounding area,” suggests Mr Mifsud.

In keeping with FIMBank’s community values, this sustainable office building uses energy-efficient heating, cooling, ventilation and lighting, in order

IMPRESSIVE INTERIORS During a tour of the building interior, including the main lobby, customer meeting rooms, the boardroom and the staff canteen, it is

Interior designers succeeded in achieving this effect through the

creation of visual contrast between the tailored floors, wall and ceiling finishes, and the natural fair-faced concrete used, as well as through the clear and distinct decorative lighting plan. When we reach Level 9, I am gobsmacked by the elegant interior that cleverly marries modernity with functionality and exquisite design. And the pièce de resistance here – the spectacular view – has been fully exploited by the design team as the focal point of this floor. The end result? Mr Zammit claims that “feedback has been very positive and not just from our clients, shareholders and employees. The building has been described as one of the best around, both in terms of its exterior and interior designs. Although FIMBank was already quite well-known, this project has really helped increase our visibility.”


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BUSINESS AGENDA | October – November 2013

A Golf Experience

to Remember First founded in 1888 by Lieutenant-General Sir Henry D’Oyley Torrens KCB KCMG, the Royal Malta Golf Club has come a long way since the days when it hosted its members in the Floriana ditch. CHIARA BONELLO pays the club a visit to find out more. Indeed, today, the Royal Malta Golf Club in Marsa, which is one of just 62 worldwide that can claim the exclusive Royal status, boasts a clubhouse, extensive practice facilities, including a driving range, and several putting and pitching practice greens, as well as the Terrace View Bar, that can be enjoyed during the warm summer months, and the Putters’ Inn Bar and Restaurant, ideally cosy for the winter. Both eateries enjoy stunning views of the golf course.

more junior members than there were members in total around 100 years ago.

The course offers 18 holes of golf in spectacular, historical, landscaped grounds, which are maintained daily.

With introductions out of the way, Henning suggests we take a short walk through an area of the course, in order for me to get a better idea of what golf involves and what sort of facilities are offered. I’m impressed by the sheer size and quality of what’s available locally.

The Royal Malta Golf Club recently marked 125 years of golf in Malta, an event which was commemorated in style as the club’s centenary festivities had to be cancelled due to violent storms in 1988. Special dispensation to celebrate the 125th anniversary and make up for the lost celebrations came from the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews. I was more than thrilled when I was offered to spend a few hours at this prestigious club to learn about this intriguing sport which is attracting young and old by the droves. I learnt, in fact, that membership has rocketed through the years, and today there are

I head to the Marsa Sports Club, where the Royal Malta Golf Club is housed, at around midday on a beautiful Monday. I’m directed to the driving range where I am introduced to my professional coach, Henning Schultze Doerring, who will be talking me through the basics of golf and attempting to guide me through my first forays into the sport.

The course offers 18 holes of golf in spectacular, historical, landscaped grounds, which are maintained daily. Today, at par 68, the course is a good challenge for the more experienced, without being unkind to the novice. Although things might seem easy on the course, don’t be deceived. Henning explains that sand pits and some strategically placed water hazards lie in wait. It is immediately clear that Henning is passionate about golf, and knows a great deal about the sport. Although he starts with what might seem the absolute basics, it soon becomes clear that this is necessary if one is to take any further steps into the golfing

world. Before I know it I’m hitting the ball, and it’s actually travelling a fair distance too.

how best to hold and swing the club, and how to master this elegant sport altogether.

As I’m still rejoicing at the fact that I don’t seem to be half bad at this, Henning calls us to the green, where he proceeds to explain that whilst the chip (the shot we’ve just learnt), is important, it would be no good to us once the ball is close to the hole, which is when you’ve got to make the ball travel a shorter distance, and in a far more specific direction.

Golf, however, is not just about the sport itself I find out; it’s an entire experience. I just take one look around me and my surroundings are smooth, lush and serene, and the conditions are perfect – the warm sun accentuates nature’s colours while we are kept cool by a slight breeze. It’s also a social experience, with the great-looking eateries luring golfers before and after a round.

This is followed by a brief physics lesson, as we try to work out what needs to be done to get the ball to travel much further. Turns out the answer is in the wrist, which needs to be turned back into a 90o position to gain more power. Technique is evidently paramount and I'm more than keen to learn

As I find myself truly enjoying it, Tiger Woods’ words come to mind: “I'm addicted. I'm addicted to golf.” Although I definitely won’t go as far as to make that claim, I will certainly be making the time to head to Marsa in an attempt to develop my new-found skills

further in the near future. Now all I need to do is drop by the Golf Shop to get myself kitted out. For more information visit www.royalmaltagolfclub.com or call the club on tel: 2122 3704. Henning, a PGA golf professional, is always at hand to introduce you to the exciting game of golf and offers various introductory courses, for both children and adults.

BUSINESS AGENDA | October – November 2013

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BUSINESS AGENDA | October – November 2013

International Business

Challenges and

opportunities in post-revolution Libya Malta Enterprise makes concrete efforts to help Maltese entrepreneurs seek business opportunities in Libya. BUSINESS AGENDA outlines the prospects. When Libya finally achieves the political stability necessary for business to flourish, foreign companies that will not have waited for fair weather to establish serious contacts in the country with Africa’s largest oil reserves will be better placed than the 'johnnies-come-lately' to reap the fruit of their efforts. Economic activity collapsed during the conflict in 2011 but recovered at an equally fast pace in the following year, notwithstanding the volatile environment. In 2011, real GDP contracted by 62.1 per cent and average consumer prices rose by 15.9 per cent, with inflation peaking at a year-on-year rate of 29.7 per cent. Growth in 2012 is estimated at 104.5 per cent with annual average inflation declining to 6.1 per cent. According to the International Monetary Fund earlier this year, “Libya faces the challenges of stabilising the economy and responding to the aspirations of the revolution. The short-term challenges are to manage the political transition, normalise the security situation while exercising budget discipline and maintaining macroeconomic stability.”

“Libya also needs to address issues including capacity building, improving education, rebuilding infrastructure, establishing a social safety net, developing the financial system and reducing hydrocarbon dependency.”

Malta Enterprise is poised to establish a presence in Benghazi and Misurata, and to strengthen its presence in Tripoli. Through its proximity and its strong relations with Libya, Malta is in a privileged position to assist in the reconstruction process, while private enterprises based

on the island are likewise ideally located to do business in Libya and take advantage of the opportunities the country is offering. Malta’s generous provision of humanitarian assistance to the Libyan people during and immediately after the conflict, has generated a wealth of goodwill towards our country. This, together with the traditionally friendly relations between the two countries, is an advantage for Maltese enterprises working at the Libya market. This, however, is not in itself a guarantee of success. If Maltese companies are to succeed in Libya they need to be competitive


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BUSINESS AGENDA | October – November 2013

International Business Recently, an agreement was reached between the two countries under which Malta can buy Libyan oil and other energy products at preferential rates, thereby enabling Malta to stabilise the price of fuel amid international price fluctuations.

in terms of both prices and quality of their products and services. International competition in Libya is stronger than ever before and is bound to increase when the situation stabilises. Malta Enterprise has already taken concrete steps to assist Maltese companies interested in Libya. It has taken fruitful initiatives in the maritime, construction and healthcare sectors. It is also poised to establish a presence in Benghazi and Misurata, and to strengthen its presence in Tripoli. It is also working to assist Maltese SMEs to penetrate the often neglected markets of various towns along the coast and interior.

In 2011, real GDP contracted by 62.1 per cent and average consumer prices rose by 15.9 per cent, with inflation peaking at a year-on-year rate of 29.7 per cent. Growth in 2012 is estimated at 104.5 per cent with annual average inflation declining to 6.1 per cent. More recently, an agreement was reached between the two countries under which Malta can buy Libyan oil and other energy products at preferential rates, thereby enabling Malta to stabilise the price of fuel amid international price fluctuations. The ground-breaking agreement is further evidence of the strong relations between the two neighbouring countries that have also agreed to opt for joint oil exploration in disputed areas in the Mediterranean. On its part, Malta will provide Libyan oil and gas workers the possibility to learn English in Malta. Besides its direct implications, the agreement also has a huge potential in terms of the multiplier effect it may have on related services, such as logistics and support for oil platforms, engineering, as well as professional services, among others. Malta Enterprise offers Maltese entrepreneurs a broad range of services, from assistance to establish contacts to the identification of business opportunities, and from market research to advice regarding Libyan business institutions and practices. Our door is always open to entrepreneurs seriously interested in Libya.

BUSINESS AGENDA | October – November 2013

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business

business

transportING Goods by sea within the EU what lies on the horizon

The European Commission suggested a system whereby EU and non-EU goods on board can be distinguished from each other, which will enable easier discharge of EU goods. custom procedures for ships by implementing a number of proposals, in order to create an area within the EU in which ships can operate freely. If the proposals go through, the aim is to do away with some of the red tape and to restrict port delays, making

the sector more competitive by abolishing the necessity for ships to wait in ports for clearance, which will in turn reduce shipping costs and simplify administration. It is expected that as a result of these changes, trade will increase and shipping transport can be

utilised to its full potential within both the EU internal market and beyond. Indeed, as indicated by the European Shipowners Association (ECSA) as a result of information collected by shipping companies forming part of the association, around €25 can be saved per container simply by making administrative procedures simpler. In effect, the Commission’s two proposals aim at reducing shipping procedures. The first of the two will alleviate customs

formalities for intra-EU shipping by upgrading regular shipping services and making processes timelier and more adaptable. The second is set to simplify customs procedures for vessels that visit third-country ports. Additionally, the European Commission also suggested a system whereby EU and non-EU goods on board can be distinguished from each other, which will enable easier discharge of EU goods. By the end of the year, the Commission is set to put forward a proposal for the harmonisation of the electronic

Last July, the European Commission put forward two proposals for a single transport area for shipping throughout the EU known as a Blue Belt, which is set to facilitate the free movement of goods transported by sea within the EU member states’ territorial waters. SARAH MICALLEF looks into the current local scenario and how the Commission’s proposed developments will facilitate the operation of the single market in the transhipment of goods. As it stands, ships carrying goods within the EU single market but that leave member states’ territorial waters, irrespective of their destination, are deemed to have travelled across the EU’s external borders. In other words, such vessels travelling from one EU port to another are considered to have journeyed out of the EU customs territory, necessitating expensive and lengthy customs formalities upon leaving the port of departure and again upon reaching the port of destination, regardless of the fact that both ports are within EU member states. The EU’s Blue Belt proposal seeks to address these issues and reduce such barriers with the aim of creating a real single market in this sector.

The plans laid out by the European Commission via its Blue Belt proposal aim to alleviate custom procedures for ships by implementing a number of proposals, in order to create an area within the EU in which ships can operate freely. Malta has been an EU member state for almost a decade. How have local companies within the shipping and logistics sector fared so far? As Mr Joe Gerada, Managing Director at Thomas Smith Group states, Malta’s forming part of the EU has had little effect on demand, and such cumbersome procedures may have something to do with it. “Demand changes subject to the services being delivered

to the shipping lines, flexibility, efficiency, quick ship turnarounds, safety of cargo and the ability to deal with short notice unexpected demands.” When faced with costly and timeconsuming procedures, Malta’s potentially useful geographical position in relation to transhipment is not nearly enough. As Mr Gerada maintains, “transhipment is a facility that has to be efficient, fully integrated with its clients' systems and cost-effective. The terminal is a partner with the shipowner. Given a good geographical position, the real game starts, and competition exists, so trying to develop transhipment solely via the geographical position argument is a non-starter – it's the total performance of the transhipment facility in relation to its competitors that counts.” At present, the significant administrative load at ports brings about added costs and considerable delays for freight

The plans laid out by the European Commission via its Blue Belt proposal aim to alleviate

From a local perspective, Mr Gerada looks positively towards the future of the transhipment industry, asserting that it will continue to flourish, provided “the facilities available stay sharp and the country stays stable. We have recently won business due to unrest around us, but we should take nothing for granted. Competition is fierce and shipping companies that use Malta as a transhipment hub are world leaders that only take the best. We need to stay the best in the region.” Should the Blue Belt proposal be adopted, it will come into force by 2015, coinciding with Malta’s evaluations of the possibility of adopting a National Integrated Maritime Policy and, it is hoped, expanding the horizons of the local transhipment industry.

forwarders and exporters who select short sea shipping as a mode to transport goods across Europe, with vessels sometimes waiting for hours and even days in ports for customs clearance. Indeed, as Mr Melvin Gouder of local agency Troy Shipping points out, “demand has gone down at the Valletta Gateway terminal due to high costs. Better rates would motivate people to go through Malta. We have a great geographical position, but if suppliers find better services elsewhere, that is where they will go.” Certainly, such drawbacks make the maritime sector less appealing in comparison to other modes of transport, and while continental businesses have the alternative of road and rail transportation, Maltese businesses could fall victim to double insularity.

cargo declaration or ‘e-Manifest’ which would enable shipping companies to supply information regarding the status of goods to customs officials in all manifests (intra-EU and extra-EU).

Troy Shipping Agency Your Perfect Shipping Partner Troy Shipping Agency has its roots in a successful business founded more than 45 years ago. Today, through a continued programme of strategic development, the company offers a range of exceptional shipping and logistics services.

We coordinate the visit from planning phase, liaising with port authorities and procuring supplies to order, through to being on hand throughout the entire visit to provide personal service to meet the needs of the vessel and crew.

Troy Shipping Agency gives a top quality personal service and tailormade solutions through a motivated team and passionate maritime culture. We are proud to offer you the very best and most dedicated service for all the needs of a ship's call, for both port and shore handling operations, with maximum efficiency.

• Attendance of transit calls • Attendance of cargo operations – Loading/Discharging • Attendance as charterers/owners protecting agent

With a solid background and more than 45 years of service to the shipping industry, Troy Shipping Agency has extensive experience in all relevant aspects. We attend to all types of ships in all Malta Ports and Oil Terminals, providing first class service to vessels consigned to our care. Our team always strives to provide the best logistics services in the beset manner and up to the client's full satisfaction.

SHIPPING AGENCY Troy Shipping Agency offers a complete range of agency activities to protect your interests as owners or charterer agents, representing your company in Malta ports.

HUSBANDRY SERVICES A vessel may require much more than simple ship agency services when in port. The need often arises for husbandry services, and Troy Shipping can provide a professional service at port and terminal. These services include, but are not restricted, to: • Crew handling – meet and greet, hotel bookings, shore pass arrangements, etc. Service is rendered both inside and outside port. • Crew welfare – doctor, dentist, mail etc. • Spares clearance and delivery • Inward and outward clearance • Liaison with local authorities • Follow-up activities with workshops, contractors, etc. • Communication assistance

• Transhipment of heavy lifts and other general cargo • Conveyance service – loading stores/spares/provisions/BA charts/Cash to Master • Ship’s repair and dry-docking • Underwater cleaning and inspection • Marine surveying reports

CHARTERING At Troy Shipping, we enjoy a fair local share market to accommodate clients for the carriage of general cargo. Since 2006, we have been providing a regular monthly service calling Porto Nogaro/Malta for general cargo. The cargo carried on this service consists mainly of steel and timber. We also cater carriage for marble products, as well as bulk cargoes such as cereals, cement and sand. In addition we also charter vessels for the export of scrap iron in bulk, mainly to Turkey and Spain. Apart from the above services, we also perform voyage charters from and to various other EU destinations. CONTACT US AT: Troy Shipping Agency, 8, Cross Road, Marsa. tel: 2122 7950/2122 7951; email: troyship@maltanet.net; www.troyshippingagency.com


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BUSINESS AGENDA | October – November 2013

BUSINESS AGENDA | October – November 2013

interview

interview

“Institutions can’t stop, they have to keep growing” – APS Chairman Emanuel P. Delia

APS Bank Chairman EMANUEL P. DELIA discusses the bank’s growth strategy, in which ethics play an integral role, with CHIARA BONELLO. In order to remain profitable and relevant in changing commercial environments, institutions cannot stop, they have to keep reinventing themselves, APS Chairman Emanuel P. Delia explains.

the Catholic Church in the Maltese islands. It is now widening its horizon outside Malta in so far as collaboration with other similarly minded institutions is involved,” Prof. Delia explains.

APS Bank was created a century ago as a Savings Bank (Cassa di Risparmio), in order to encourage workers to build up a pool of resources that could help them throughout their lives, as capital assets that are used wisely tend to generate a sense of belonging in a community, besides enhancing personal, physical and intellectual development.

As part of its mission, the bank has to be socially minded. “The way we address sectoral priorities and the creation and marketing of financial products is guided by considerations related to all those involved directly or indirectly in such transactions. Similarly, our support to various initiatives in the environmental, cultural/heritage, literary and educational sectors take their cue from the same tenets: we try to complement the good work that other institutions are carrying out. In this way society will benefit from a wider spread of activities,” he explains.

Its founders, the Unione Cattolica San Giuseppe (UCSG), saw the bank as a tool among a variety of activities that were meant to increase the fruitful participation of many in the everyday life of society and to boost the economic and cultural development of Maltese families. It was in fact originally devised as one of several tools to implement change in Maltese society and support personal and group development. “It remains one such tool in an array of organisations run by

Prof. Delia asserts that the bank seeks to come up with projects that are simultaneously innovative and that sustain the development of the person in several dimensions. “We carried out projects in the agricultural and fisheries sector, and supported the evaluation of institutional development, like

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“It is in the allocation of these funds,” he argues “that we combine the dual objective of being efficient, and hence create a surplus or profit, and assist as much as possible many to reach their objectives in life: become home-owners, run businesses, extend social infrastructure and restructure economic sectors. We abide by the conditions of the banking licence; it is in the implementation of such conditions that we are guided by the same basic moral tenets that inspired the founders of the savings institution to set it up in 1910.” He adds that the evaluation of activities carried out by APS Bank in the cultural and educational sectors, which are financed directly through resources generated throughout the financial year, is a priority for the bank, as is planning for the future in a wider geographical context. One example of such an initiative is APS Consult, which was created to support the restructuring of several economic and social welfare sectors.

the models of the co-operative and producer organisation, with the aim of generating a buoyant agricultural and fisheries sector. We also promoted Malta’s musical heritage and literary production through the bank’s annual concerts and recordings, and the financing of literary works in Maltese. We are addressing the education of the young generations both in terms of Maltese literature and music, and in terms of their understanding of the true meaning of participation in the social and political life of a nation. The bank’s publication on the role of the Maltese Parliament is one such example.” The main thrust for APS’ initiatives comes from Catholic social teaching, which promotes the personal dignity and the social nature of every human being. In 1948 this savings institution was transferred to the Archdiocese of Malta, together with some other of UCSG’s assets. The savings institution was later given a commercial

banking licence and today has four shareholders, the main ones being AROM, a holding company of the Archdiocese of Malta and the Diocese of Gozo. Legally similar to other commercial banks operating in Malta, APS’ present day shareholders provided the capital resources needed to strengthen its operations. In the latest capital injection, part of the new equity was raised from past reserves, reflecting the prudent dividend policy pursued to date. Although the legal framework on which APS Bank is structured is that of a limited liability company, he continues, with its more rigorous demands for corporate governance, including capital requirements and internal and external controls, and subject to the normal, non-preferential income tax regime in Malta – since it is a local bank – the working model it strives to implement is not the ‘shareholder model of the firm’ but the

‘stakeholder model’. The latter recognises that there are various groups which are impacted by the activity of a company, and consequently, have a ‘stake’ in the company. “We strive to interpret such an idea in a changing economic, financial and demographic environment. Malta is a member of both the European Union and the euro-zone, has links with the British Commonwealth and is geographically located in a region which is going through massive political transformations. At the same time, it has an ageing population, with all that it implies for economic flexibility and future welfare service demands,” he states. Furthermore, while the Church provided some of the capital resources that launched this operation, the funds with which the bank reaches its commercial objectives are supplied by the many savers who trust the bank with their resources.

The social teaching of the Church envisages a wider domain of collaboration through networking based on the promotion of economic and social development in areas not bound by the nation state.

The main thrust for APS’ initiatives comes from Catholic social teaching, which promotes the personal dignity and the social nature of every human being. APS Bank has been participating in FEBEA (the European Federation of Ethical and Alternative Banks) in addition to being a member of European Banking Federation through the Malta Bankers’ Association. It is also considering other relationships within the euro-zone and beyond. Such initiatives will lead to commercial transactions, but these will be an outcome of a project that combines the two principles of complementarity and subsidiarity. What happens to the local share of the market is a different issue. “We aim for growth, which may come from outside Malta. We apply this same philosophy in all initiatives that we undertake locally even in the cultural and educational sectors. These fall under what is now being referred to as Corporate Social Responsibility.” “We shall be considering the role of APS Consult. We want the company to be an instrument of support. We shall adapt our strategy according to the results obtained to date and to the envisaged demographic and related developments underway in Maltese society.”

“At all times, we are guided by the spirit of ‘collaboration with others’. Let those who can do it best carry out the task, while we provide the necessary logistical support. The results registered so far have been very encouraging, especially in the cultural sector. So we will continue, and seek other areas which are at present relatively ‘neglected’. There are very interesting ideas circulating, but not the resources to carry them out. Within our limits, we will support them. By being selective and focused, we aim to impact positively the areas chosen,” he says.


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BUSINESS AGENDA | October – November 2013

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BUSINESS AGENDA | October – November 2013

Smart City Malta launches new buildings SmartCity Malta is a joint venture between the Republic of Malta and SmartCity Dubai, an international organisation that develops and manages a global network of self-sustained business parks dedicated to the knowledgedriven industries. SmartCity® leverages the expertise of Dubai Holding in the development and management of business clusters in Dubai. Every day, these Dubai business clusters attract 50,000 knowledge workers in 11 business parks across five sectors in Dubai. Encompassing an area of approximately 360,000m2 along the picturesque coast between Ricasoli Point and Valletta’s Grand Harbour, SmartCity Malta is developing a state-of-the-art international work-play-live business park for knowledge-based companies. The project offers a blend of places for work and leisure – all designed following international sustainability standards. SmartCity Malta inaugurated Phase One when it opened its first ready-to-operate, state-of-theart office space building, SCM01. Even with the current global financial crisis, SmartCity Malta is successful in attracting leading global, regional and local knowledge-based companies, such as HP, CISCO and Global College, that are based in SCM01. Phase Two of development ushers in the latest SCM product offering comprises of four more buildings: two of the buildings are office blocks, SCM02 and SCM03, and the other two are devoted to retail, SCM04 and SCM05. SCM02 and SCM03, located adjacent to the island’s only lagoon district, offers panoramic views of the Mediterranean sea and the lagoon – providing an unrivalled view of the grand dancing fountains. Designed as a multi-level, open-air esplanade, buildings SCM04 and SCM05 will house a good range of food and beverage outlets, all of which are just a few steps away from the lagoon. Lush, terraced outdoor areas create the ideal setting for dining and recreation activities. A number of other phases are also planned, each independent of the

The latest SCM product offering comprises of four more buildings, a grand dancing fountain and lush outdoor areas, making it a vibrant destination for both business and leisure.

other, to be undertaken over the coming years.

and foreign direct investment to Malta.

Business partners at SmartCity Malta benefit from the expertise and resources acquired from the business clusters in Dubai, including Dubai Internet City and Dubai Media City. By clustering various industries, companies, research organisations and educational institutions within a business park, participants are able to closely and systematically collaborate between themselves. SmartCity Malta aims to create such a collaborative, synergetic cluster in Malta and hence generate a compelling value proposition to attract companies

One of the ways SmartCity Malta rises to the challenge of attracting foreign companies to the island is by providing prime infrastructure for companies that already consider Malta as a destination for investment. SmartCity Malta is thus designed to provide the most advanced ICT infrastructure available in Malta. Through a progressive integration of technology and services, SmartCity Malta has developed an ICT Infrastructure to meet the technical demands of mission critical digital operations. Such an ICT infrastructure concept, forming the blueprint

of all current and future SmartCities, incorporates five crucial elements, namely a built-in core telecom IP network, a multihomed fibre network to doorstep, the most secured and sufficient power supply in Malta, a unified central campus and building management, and on-site technical support. Such an infrastructure is able to excellently cater for Malta's knowledge-based sectors, such as financial services, business process outsourcing, digital gaming, digital media and so on, which depend on a robust ICT infrastructure to operate for an international clientele from Malta. Indeed, SmartCity Malta is designed to be more than simply an international work-playlive business park concept, with localised practices. The invest-

ment made into SmartCity Malta is spurred from the vision of making it the latest destination on the Maltese islands. The project’s offering continues to become even more comprehensive, providing corporate identity and huge networking potential. Opening up a world of opportunities, the project uniquely facilitates success for companies through a world-class intelligent infrastructure designed for assured business continuity, a thoughtful environment and a responsive support system. SmartCity Malta aims to host a vibrant community anchored by leading global, regional and local companies, and serve as their strategic launch pad to European, North-African and Middle-East markets.


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interview

interview

Crowdfunding: Access to finance opportunity for the digital age

Crowdfunding is the collective effort of individuals who network and pool resources together to support efforts initiated by entrepreneurs and organisations, usually via the Internet. Projects and businesses are financed with small contributions from a large number of persons, allowing innovators, entrepreneurs and business owners to use their social networks to raise capital. DANIEL DEBONO speaks to OLIVER GAJDA, President of the European Crowdfunding Network, on this fast-growing industry and its alternative means of raising finance for SMEs. the associated market failures of the incumbent financial services industry providing finance to SMEs.”

Oliver Gajda, President of the European Crowdfunding Network The rise of crowdfunding over the past decade is a result of the ongoing digitalisation of processes and communication in our society, with easy access to high speed internet and digital devices. But according to Mr Gajda, “crowdfunding has recently been moved to the forefront in the discussion on access to finance as a result of the economic crisis and

SMEs are the main contributors to job creation and represent more than 60 per cent of all jobs in Europe, but in the last years they have been less able to access finance for their investment and growth. Mr Gajda refers to statistics that show how the availability of bank loans for SMEs has declined by 23 per cent, while collateral requirements have increased by 34 per cent and interest rates by 54 per cent over the past years. “This drastic lack of finance for SMEs has a visible impact on Europe’s economy. It is the key reason why today we witness a lively discussion around crowdfunding, which involves political actors of the highest level,” Mr Gajda asserts. However crowdfunding remains largely unregulated and fragmented in the way it operates in different EU member states. Many questions arise whether this can be considered as a positive or negative factor, particularly if it increases the risk factor for investors.

In this respect, Mr Gajda argues that, “the fragmentation of the European Union is a key hurdle for crowdfunding – as it has been for the venture capital industry, too. Although national laws allow for local crowdfunding industries to grow, the markets are limited in size and do not offer room for scale. The different legislations and interpretations of European directives will effectively prohibit a healthy European industry from emerging across border. The fragmentation also concerns a number of other related issues, including e-commerce laws, tax rules and company laws.”

“Crowdfunding has recently been moved to the forefront in the discussion on access to finance as a result of the economic crisis and the associated market failures of the incumbent financial services industry providing finance to SMEs.”

In this light, he continues, “it is alarming for the potential of SME finance that crowdfunding may be regulated on a national basis without a common pan-European principle. So far, national financial services regulators have been slow to reach out to their counterparts in other European countries in order to build a joint position. The European Commission (EC) will not be able to solve this alone. We need cooperation across borders also with regard to politics. Many European investors and entrepreneurs need the possibility to be active across the Union in order to build synergies and scale, while oth-

ers will be sufficiently happy with a local or regional solution. It is important to address the needs and protect the interests of all.” This was one main reason behind the setting up of a European Crowdfunding Network two years ago. It intended to launch a public discourse on crowdfunding in Brussels and across Europe. The EC has already made several high level statements in support of crowdfunding, but more importantly is currently discussing across different Directorate Generals a common position on crowdfunding. To this end, a public statement or

some form of public consultation is expected later this year, ahead of the EC’s presentation of an official opinion in 2014. Mr Gajda is pleased to note that, “now that we have a political discourse in Europe, we are also going to focus on the aspects of professional conduct and transparency. We believe that crowdfunding has to engage proactively with its customers and stakeholders, unlike traditional financial services firms, with openness and honesty.” He believes that, “this requires professional standards, best behaviours and open data provision, as well as open and ongoing evaluation and monitoring.”

“In the long term, we believe crowdfunding will, in some form or other, become an established aspect of our way of allocation investment, donation or consumption.” When asked to compare European crowdfunding platforms to the ones in the United States, Mr Gajda believes that there is little difference, especially in view of the donation, social lending or rewardbased models. “The difference has to do with the environment in which they operate. The US is a large single market, while Europe is fragmented into many small markets and languages. For US crowdfunding platforms to reach scale is easier than in Europe. In comparison with the typical European (if there is such a person), a US citizen is in general more familiar with stock investing, is more willing to assume financial risks and celebrates risk taking entrepreneurs.” On whether crowdfunding platforms can take off in smaller economies, particularly when other alternative instruments providing finance such as Venture Capital (VC) and Business Angels (BA) have struggled to succeed, Mr Gajda maintains that “crowdfunding can provide funding for companies with less ambitious growth plans. It can provide debt and equity, or offer pre-sales revenue. Important to the crowdfunding platform is its profit margin. But in contrast to VC and BA, lower margins can be made up for by larger numbers of transactions.” Furthermore he adds that “crowdfunding benefits from the automated online processes, which reduce the operational cost. There are many different models being tried as this is written and there will surely be many innovative approaches changing the way we conduct investment in SMEs for good.” Crowdfunding has so far been largely successful in the creative industries. Many wonder whether this alternative financial instrument is exclusive to such an industry or whether there is a potential

for other sectors too. Mr Gajda admits that crowdfunding has repeatedly been said to be best known for its success in creative industries. However he maintains that “in reality it covers a wide range of areas already for a long time, such as social lending and donations for development projects. And the largest fundraising campaigns, topping million dollar or euro amounts, are most of the time technology-focused products or solutions. Personal credit facilities are also thriving in some countries, as are investments in and loans for businesses and project

finance, and citizens engagement for renewable energy.” In conclusion, what is the potential growth for crowdfunding in Europe? Mr Gajda believes that “for crowdfunding platforms the main problem is the size of the accessible market in order to reach scale. As long as Europe does not offer a de facto single market – and language barriers are a cost factor just as regulation is – the majority of European players will act in national or regional markets, with some exceptions. This is also one of the real growth opportunities, local-

ised platforms, citizens’ engagement, personalised production and collaborative consumption. On top, there will be a number of platforms that will be able to establish a panEuropean presence. These might also be overseas platforms.” He is confident that “especially with reward-based and donationbased crowdfunding, where regulation is less restrictive, we will see such developments. For financial services, we expect to see banks, VC funds and other intermediaries to enter the crowdfunding space in larger numbers within a short

period of time. In the long term, we believe crowdfunding will, in some form or other, become an established aspect of our way of allocation investment, donation or consumption. The market is today estimated to be worth around €1 billion in Europe alone – this is sure to grow significantly, even without enabling policy decisions and regulation.”


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Business News MBB Update 4th June –

6th June –

MBB CEO participates in a conference on Apprenticeships and Traineeship schemes with ESF support in Brussels

MBB President visits Brussels for high profile meetings

MBB CEO Joe Tanti participated in a European conference aimed at providing information and conducting working sessions on apprenticeship and traineeship schemes throughout the EU. The conference also sought to explore how European funding can be used to develop new schemes or improve existing ones, and to provide an opportunity to refine commitments of actions and pledges from stakeholders.

The conference was hosted by László Andor, Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion; and was part of the European Social Fund's Technical Assistance to member states on apprenticeship and traineeship schemes. It also marked an important milestone in the roadmap towards establishing the European Alliance for Apprenticeships.

Mr Tanti’s visit was funded by the European Commission.

28th June –

Business seminar on start-up finance opportunities The MBB partnered with the European Commission Representation in Malta and Bank of Valletta to organise a business seminar discussing finance for business, particularly start-ups, through the assistance of EU initiatives. The seminar gave an overview of the availability of finance and types of finance products including debt, grants, banking products and alternative sources of finance for the present and opportunities for the next programming period 2014-2020. A number of distinguished guests with a vast experience addressed

the audience. The key note speaker was Joanna Drake, who is Director of Promotion of SMEs Competitiveness at DG Enterprise and Industry, European Commission. Other speakers included Bruno Robino, Head of Region Southern Countries, European Investment Fund (EIF); Albert Frendo, BOV Chief Officer Credit; Helga Ellul, former President Malta Chamber; and Steven Galea, a certified public accountant. The seminar was also addressed by the Head of the European Commission Representation in Malta Martin Bugelli and MBB President George Vella.

The MBB Brussels office coordinated a visit for Mr George Vella in his capacity of MBB President. The main aim was to follow up on recent visits and to further spur on the business development of the MBB on the Brussels front. In this regard, a meeting was held with the secretariat of the European Business Network during which the MBB’s prospective associate membership of this pan-European

business incubation support service was discussed. The timing of the MBB visit also coincided very closely with the succession of three of Malta’s MEPs following the casual election of Ms Marlene Mizzi, Dr Roberta Metsola and Ms Claudette Abela Baldacchino. Mr Vella, who was accompanied by CEO Joe Tanti and Permanent Delegate Omar Cutajar

took the opportunity to meet with both MEPs Metsola and Mizzi. During these meetings, the MBB officials exchanged views on a number of EU policy priority items such as the draft directive on gender representation at board level (the Gender Quotas Directive) and the recent legislative initiative on nonfinancial disclosure of information, mainly affecting listed companies.

2nd July –

MBB delegation officially presents the Allocation of EU Funds in Aid of Private Enterprise report to Parliamentary Secretary Ian Borg An MBB delegation, led by MBB President George Vella, presented a report entitled ‘The Allocation of EU Structural Funds in Aid of Private Enterprise’ to the Parliamentary Secretary for EU Funds, Dr Ian Borg. The MBB study shows that during the 2007-2013 programming period only €70 million of the €855 million EU cohesion policy funds committed to Malta was directly made available to private enterprise. During the new 20142020 programming, Cohesion Policy funds are being reduced from €855 million to €776 million. “It is crucial that the amount of funds allocated to private enterprise is not cut to reflect this decrease,” stated MBB President George Vella; “if anything, this should be increased to reflect the multiplier benefits of added investment into the private sector.” An increase in the allocation of structural funds to businesses would offset a downward trend in local private investment that was experienced in recent years. The MBB report makes reference to other studies proving that investment in the private sector yields higher rates of economic growth. Regions that have experienced the best performance in terms of economic growth are the ones that allocated funds more efficiently across productive factors.

The MBB study estimates that during the 2014-2020 period, €180200 million of structural funds should be allocated for direct use by the private sector. This would reduce the need of having to turn down eligible project proposals of private enterprise. This estimated amount would also be able to meet the demand for both grants and financial engineering instruments. ‘The Allocation of EU Structural Funds in Aid of Private Enterprise’ is the third in a series of joint-

assessment reports undertaken by the MBB and Bank of Valletta, following the recent study on ‘Market Gaps in Access to Finance’, and last year’s assessment on the potential impact of a ‘Common Consolidated Corporate Tax Base’ on Malta. This report was also presented to various Cabinet ministers, Members of Parliament from the Opposition and public officials. The full report can be downloaded from www.mbb.org.mt

For a detailed analysis on ‘The Allocation of EU Structural Funds in Aid of Private Enterprise’, see page 4.


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mbb update 10th July –

9th July –

MBB Executive participates in a conference on Product Safety in Brussels MBB Executive Daniel Debono participated in a conference that discussed the European Commission’s plans on product safety and market surveillance. The aim of the debate was to assess whether this would weaken Europe’s global competitiveness. The European Commission looks to increase consumer safety. However, stakeholders argue that there will be impacts on European enterprises too. For instance, the new regulation on consumer product safety aims to introduce a mandatory indication of the

country of origin defined by the non-preferential rules of origin for nearly all consumer products. The perception of the consumer as well as the impact on the economy is debated controversially. The event was organised by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Bavaria (BIHK) and the EU-Office of the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber (WKO), in view of a new Product Safety and Market Surveillance Package that is being planned for implementation by the European Commission.

MBB’s Market Gaps in Access to Finance report presented to Eurochambres in Brussels The MBB was invited by Eurochambres’ Finance Committee to present the findings emanating from its report on ‘Market Gaps in Access to Finance’ in a workshop dealing with the subject of alternative financing. MBB’s Permanent Delegate Omar Cutajar and Executive Daniel Debono showcased the realities of the Maltese credit market, which is predominantly characterised by traditional bank lending and overdraft facilities. They reiterated with European Commission officials from DG Enterprise and Industry, the successful implementation of the loan-guarantee JEREMIE scheme; and the expectation to see more innovative financial engineering instruments introduced in Malta. These would benefit different SMEs operating in different sectors and at different stages of their development lifecycle.

31st July –

MBB meets Nationalist Party MP on ‘Allocation of EU Funds in Aid of Private Enterprise’ report

An MBB delegation paid a courtesy visit to the Nationalist Headquarters, where a meeting was held with the Opposition spokesperson for European Affairs Marthese Portelli and spokesperson for EU Funds Ryan Callus. MBB President George Vella reiterated the MBB’s call that an increase in the allocation of structural funds to businesses would offset a downward trend in local private investment that was experienced in recent years. The MBB report makes reference to other studies proving that investment in the private sector yields higher rates of economic growth. “This confirms that the private sector is a better alternative than the public sector to bring higher returns from EU structural funds to meet the country’s needs,” explained Mr Vella, “Malta’s economy necessitates economic growth that is mostly export-led. This can only be brought about through further investment in the private sector.” The full report can be downloaded from www.mbb.org.mt

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mbb update 2nd August –

13th September -

MEP Cuschieri pays visit to the MBB MBB invited to participate in a public dialogue on ‘Women on Board’

MEP Joseph Cuschieri paid a visit to the MBB as part of his initiative to keep in touch with various organisations and stakeholders in Malta.

The MBB executive team exchanged views with the MEP on how the collaboration between

the two offices can be strengthened. Furthermore MEP Cuschieri gave an overview of the work he accomplished at the European Parliament over this past year, particularly in his role in the Tourism and Transport Committee. The recent Tourism Task Force initiative was on the MBB agenda

of this meeting, and an update on other policy issues relating to the revision of the Package Travel Directive, the draft Copyright Management Directive and the draft Regulation on Food Inspections were also discussed.

10th September –

MBB appoints new Vice President at Annual Board Meeting The MBB held its Annual Board Meeting in the presence of the Board of Directors and the Presidents of the respective parent organisations namely the Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry, and the Malta Hotels and Restaurants Association. During this meeting the Board of Directors approved a new statute for the MBB, which among others, introduced the post of Vice-President. Mr Mario Spiteri, who has served on the Board for a number of years,

was nominated this post.

to

serve

in

The Directors also endorsed a strategy that was presented by President George Vella and CEO Joe Tanti for the organisation in the coming years. This includes the MBB’s active role in EU structural funds and the EU Presidency in 2017.

MBB CEO Joe Tanti and Executive Mariella Scicluna were invited to participate in a public dialogue on ‘Women on Board’ organised by the European Parliament Office in Malta with the National Council of Women. Improving gender balance in management positions has been put on the political and legislative agenda of the European Union, most notably through the proposed directive on improving the gender balance among non-executive directors of companies listed on stock exchanges and related measures. This public dialogue therefore intended to elaborate the different facets of the topic,

and most importantly discuss the means that society should employ to reach the mentioned objective without necessarily polarising the discussion into a yes or no for women quotas. Mariella Scicluna delivered a presentation during the public dialogue on the results of the MBB study on Flexible Work and Family Friendly Measures in Private Sector. During her presentation she revealed that the MBB study analysed the current take-up, to discern what obstacles companies are facing to implement these measures, and what is required to increase their activity in this regard. The study found that 91.1 per cent of respondents agreed that implementing such measures leads to increased loyalty to the organisation while it is also very encouraging to note that generally respondents disagreed with the perception that flexible work and family measures can only be implemented in the lower hierarchical levels within the organisation. During a panel debate, CEO Joe Tanti noted that the reality of the current economic climate dictates the need for a more structured approach towards reconciling a work and family life. We need to promote better-structured support services through which the private sector can truly offer the necessary flexibility to maintain a competitive and dynamic Maltese labour market. During the same event, Malta Chamber President David Curmi said "the Malta Chamber believes that skill, experience and achievement should be the most important attributes for any post and most definitely not gender. There is more merit in diversity in skills rather than just in gender. Diversity in gender is about counting the numbers whereas diversity in skills is about making the numbers count."


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mbb update 15th – 17th September –

20th September –

MBB coordinates a visit to Brussels on EU Tourism policy and funding related issues

Business seminar on Online Gambling

A delegation of 10 people made up of senior officials of the Malta Hotels and Restaurants Association (MHRA) and other local firms, visited Brussels on a two-day programme that focused on EU tourism policy and related funding issues. The group had the opportunity to visit the European Parliament and was also hosted by MEP Joseph Cuschieri to a meeting that discussed various topics falling under the remit of the Tourism and Transport Committee (TRAN). During this session, various issues were discussed including: The European Parliament initiative for a tourism task force; the challenges derived by the fragmentation in the EU tourism policy development pro-

cess; and promoting the accessibility of tourism destinations. The delegation also visited the European Commission, where it was welcomed by EU Commissioner Tonio Borg and conducted an exchange of views on issues driven by DG SANCO, for which he is responsible. These included food inspection regulation, the implementation of the food labelling directive and The Alcohol Forum. At the European Commission, further meetings were held with Giancarlo Granero, who is Deputy Head of Unit for Enterprise Policy and Support Programmes at DG Enterprise, and on EU funding opportunities for SMEs through the COSME Programme. The group also held a meeting with Eric

Philippart, Deputy Head of Unit, and Antonella Correra, Policy Officer, at the Tourism and Cultural Instruments Unit at DG Enterprise. Two important workshops were held at the European Association for Hotels, Restaurants and Cafes (HOTREC), led by CEO Anna Torres; and at the Maltese Permanent Representation to the EU, led by Ambassador Marlene Bonnici. These workshops focused on a number of developing tourism policy issues such as copyright management, the revision of the Package Travel Directive and the EU Accessibility Act. Finally, the group was also given presentations by Medin Europe Director and EU funding expert Francesco Vallebona; Lecturer Marita de Neve from a Belgian based tourism academy; and Cristina Núñez from NECSTouR – the Network of European Regions for a Sustainable and Competitive Tourism. These were held at the MBB Brussels office, the La Vallette Business Centre. The visit was partly funded by the European Parliament.

The European Parliament Information Office (EPIO) and the Malta Business Bureau organised a stakeholders’ seminar on online gambling. The two organisers collaborated on this event because the online gambling market is growing very rapidly, establishing itself as one of the most important economic sectors in Malta. Gambling is regulated by the member states. Frameworks vary with some member states having no specific regulation, some employing licensing systems and others imposing complete bans. The seminar followed a resolution that was adopted by the European Parliament on 10th September. The welcoming address was delivered by EPIO Head Dr Peter Agius and MBB President George Vella. They made reference to the Online Gambling Resolution that was adopted by the European Parliament and about the growing importance of this sector for the Maltese economy.

MEP Creutzmann gave his reaction to the said resolution via a video-conference from Brussels. A key note speech then followed, delivered by Ewout Keuleers from the European Gaming and Betting Association. A panel discussion took place afterwards with the participation of Reuben Portanier, CEO Lotteries and Gaming Authority; Stefano Mallia, Vice President of the Employers Groups within the European Economic and Social Committee; Charmaine Hagan, Official at DG MARKT European Commission; George Debrincat, Chairman of the Malta Chamber Remote Gaming Business Section; and Alan Alden from the Malta Remote Gaming Council. Closing remarks were delivered by the Parliamentary Secretary for Competitiveness and Economic Growth, Hon Edward Zammit Lewis.

For more information on the subject of Online Gambling in the Internal Market see full article on page 8.

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mbb update upcoming events 21st November –

Business seminar on International Procurement as part of SME Week 2013 The Malta Business Bureau, Malta Enterprise and the Ministry for the Economy, Investment and Small Business, are co-organising a business seminar as part of the SME Week activities. This year’s event shall be focusing on inter-

MBB publishes results of study on flexible work arrangements in the Maltese private sector The MBB has published the results of a survey conducted among Maltese businesses on the take-up of flexible work and family friendly measures within the private sector. The study, conducted by MISCO, reveals that only six companies out of 74 participants do not currently implement any type of flexible work. It further revealed that 66.2 per cent of Maltese companies believe that flexible work and family-friendly measures present an opportunity to shift towards a better work-life balance, while 63.5 per cent of companies associate the increased possibility of retaining trained and valued employees with effective implementation of flexible work arrangements. A whopping 91.1 per cent of respondents agreed that implementing such measures leads to increased loyalty to the organisation. The full report can be downloaded from www.mbb.org.mt

national procurement. The seminar is aimed at those companies that would like to direct their business development strategies towards international procurement. This is a challeng-

ing feat, particularly because buying internationally is much more complex than buying domestically. This involves having to expand knowledge on many aspects such as differences in cultures, laws,

communications, currencies and more. In the absence of a good foundation, international procurement efforts will have a high probability of failing.

More information on the event date and venue shall be communicated in the coming weeks on www.mbb.org.mt


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ENVIRONMENT

good water saving PRACTICES IN Malta: case studies GEOFFREY SALIBA, MBB’s EU LIFE+ Investing in Water Project Manager outlines a number of effective water saving strategies adopted by local hotels. The United Nations has designated 27th September 2013 World Tourism Day. This year’s theme is Tourism and Water: Protecting our Common Future. With the MBB’s EU LIFE+ Investing in Water Project having audited over 100 enterprises to date, including 50 hotels, it is clear that hotels in water scarce countries could learn a lot from some of Malta’s hotels.

Malta is one of the world’s top ten countries for water scarcity. Being one of the world’s top ten countries for water scarcity has led to some very clever water saving solutions being applied by forward thinking hotels. The solutions applied can be broadly

categorised into those which increase the efficiency with which water is used, and those which recycle and re-use water. The biggest savings come from water recycling plants. An example is the Radisson Blu Resort & Spa, Golden Sands. Built in 2005 by developers the Island Hotels Group, it was planned with water scarcity in mind. The hotel is supplied by a reverse-osmosis desalination plant and also treats all its sewage in-house. The result is that all first class water applications are served by the reverse-osmosis plant, while second class applications such as landscaping and the flushing of toilets are served by the sewage treatment plant. Not only is the hotel’s water sustainably sourced, but running costs are lower as a smaller reverse-osmosis unit is needed.

In-house sewage treatment is an excellent water saving solution, but not one applicable to every development. The reason is simply that a significant amount of space is required to house and operate such a plant, space which most hotels cannot afford. Smaller hotels can opt for a different waste water recycling system. One such hotel is the Paradise Bay Hotel in Mellieha, which operates a grey-water treatment plant. This plant takes waste water from showers and wash-hand basins, treats it, and provides second class water applications with the treated water. The end result is significantly decreased water consumption. Hotels which, for one reason or another, cannot consider waste water treatment do have other options – ensuring that the main water consuming applications are operating at peak efficiency.

Hotels which, for one reason or another, cannot consider waste water treatment do have other options –ensuring that the main water consuming applications are operating at peak efficiency. In hotels the main water consumers are showers, toilets and wash-hand basins. Since hotels in Malta are built on many floors, there is always a pressure difference between floors. This pressure difference leads to different flow rates for showers and wash-hand basins – anything between 4.5 and a staggering 24 litres per minute have been recorded through the project water audits. The ideal flow rate is 7 litres per minute for showers and 5 for wash-hand basins. Toilets’ ideal flushing volume is around 6 litres – although models with a much lower flushing volume are available on the

local market, almost any model can be retro-fitted to flush using only 6 litres. Towards the end of 2012, the Corinthia Group started fitting water restrictors in all the 600 rooms and back of house areas at the Corinthia Palace Hotel & Spa, Corinthia Hotel St George’s Bay and the Corinthia Marina Hotel. Restrictors work by limiting water flow to a fixed value, regardless of the supply pressure. This ensures a consistent service on all floors of a hotel, offering guest satisfaction and water savings. The hotels mentioned here are just a few of the best practice case studies the project has come across. The MBB and partners MHRA and Malta Chamber are keen to share their experience with other enterprises. Our website www.investinginwater.org has been updated with profiles of best practice hotels and businesses. If you feel that any of the listed examples are potentially transferable to your operations, the project is still in its final couple of months and can be called on for assistance. You may contact me directly on gsaliba@ mbb.org.mt or 2125 1719. All our assistance is offered free of charge thanks to contribution from the European Community's LIFE financial instrument, with further co-financing from the Ministry responsible for the environment and EasyDry Malta, as well as sponsorship from the Island Hotels Group, APS Bank and MSV LIFE.

Wastewater from showers and wash-hand basins (greywater) can be treated and re-used for flushing toilets. This water saving solution can reduce a hotel’s consumption dramatically.


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EU POLICY

Bringing package travel

into the digital age By Omar Cutajar, MBB Permanent Delegate in Brussels EU rules governing the definition of what constitutes package travel are in the process of being changed with the intent of adapting the relevant regulations within EU law to the realities of modernday online booking systems. The Package Travel Directive which has been in force since 1990 is now an outdated piece of legislation which does not take into account the rapid growth in online travel arrangements (via for example e-booking sites), registered in recent years. Though now considered obsolete, the existing directive provides an extensive level of consumer protection. In brief, it regulates the kind of information requirements and liability coverage that tour operators should provide throughout the performance of travel services to their customers. It provides the travelling consumer with the required peace of mind in case of reimbursement requests of any pre-payments for undelivered services as well as for repatriation in the eventuality of a tour operator going bust. The scope of the current directive covers pre-arranged package holidays combining at least two of the following services: (1) transport; (2) accommodation and (3) other tourist services when

such services are spread over more than 24 hours or include an overnight stay.

Responding to changes in tourist travel arrangement patterns Earlier this summer, the European Commission (EC) adopted its proposal for a new directive on ‘package travel and assisted travel arrangements’ with the aim to bring the existing legislative provisions in line with current market practices in the travel business. The Commission argues that the EU rules need to be updated as more and more travellers book their holidays on the internet, implying that online travel and vacation planning does not always provide the commensurate level of consumer protection as afforded by the original Package Travel Directive. Customised holidays planned out and purchased online are now the order of the day, leaving travellers unsure of their consumer rights and service providers unclear of their obligations. Therefore the aim of the reform is to ensure that customised holidays, whether bought offline or online, are adequately protected. The EC is proposing to amend and extend the definition of package travel to bring it in line with current

market practices, namely internetbased travel booking solutions. The proposal for a new directive on package travel and assisted travel services will bring into its regulatory scope all those tourism services that can be combined by the consumer himself through an online travel agent’s website or that could be purchased through so called ‘linked online booking processes’. Such assisted travel services cover transactions carried out by consumers when booking a travel service online and are then redirected to another website allowing for the automatic transfer of the consumers’ personal booking data, whilst booking a complementary or related service. A typical example could be a transfer from a flight booking portal to a hotel booking or car rental service.

Legal uncertainty on the holiday market: when does the right of withdrawal stand? The new directive on package travel is bound to generate several concerns among business operators in the hospitality industry unless certain aspects of the draft legislation are improved. For instance, the Commission proposal extends the list of pre-contractual information that a package organiser

should provide to the consumer. Another controversial aspect is the strengthening of the redress possibilities skewed to the expense of the commercial service provider. According to the draft rules, whenever a service is not delivered up to expectations, consumers will also be able to lay claim to any ‘immaterial damages’ suffered, especially in case of a spoilt holiday. From a hospitality industry perspective, the greatest concern derives from a confusing and incoherent introduction of the possibility for the consumer to withdraw from the contract at any time. The confusion and legal uncertainty for hotel operators stems from the fact that whilst stand-alone hotel bookings are already subject to the Consumer Rights Directive, hotel bookings combined with another tourism service would now fall within the scope of the new Package Travel Directive. This arrangement will create a dual legal system in which there is no such mandatory right of withdrawal for stand-alone hotel bookings, while incomprehensibly there would be a right of withdrawal for the same hotel booking when combined with other tourism services when jointly purchased online. The practical difficulties that will be faced by hotels when manag-

ing online bookings carried out by third parties are amply evident. In particular, the situation is rendered even more complicated in situations when the hotel booking management service is not made aware that the room bookings were combined by the consumer with the purchase of another travel-related service. This concern is shared by HOTREC – the European association of national hospitality associations, which did not fail to point out that the application of the different EU legal regimes vis-a-vis the right of withdrawal, would in effect lead to discrimination based on the mode of booking. HOTREC is therefore calling on this legal inconsistency in the application of the right of withdrawal to be addressed once the Commission draft rules are deliberated by the Council of Ministers and the European Parliament. The solution being proposed by the European hospitality industry lobby is to amend the draft directive for the final text to clearly define the constitutive elements of package travel. For this purpose, it is important that a package travel arrangement would be recognised to be such only when there is a travel component included and paid for in the arrangement. Equally important is for the final text of the new Package Travel Directive to be devoid of the proposed mandatory right of withdrawal for combined tourism services. This solution would ensure that there would no legal incompatibility on the right of withdrawal between the provisions of the Consumer Rights Directive and the new Package Travel Directive. For economic operators in the hospitality industry this would mean the avoidance of unpredictability with regards to reimbursement claims and therefore also averting unnecessary administrative costs in handling potential consumer complaints.


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TECHNOLOGY

Taking your business online Taking advantage of digital media is nowadays an integral part of running a successful business. From developing an effective website to building a loyal customer base using social media and email marketing, SARAH MICALLEF discovers the basics of taking your business online. For many, the Internet has become the first port of call when looking up anything related to their next purchase. Whether it’s checking out the menu at a restaurant they intend on visiting, shopping around for the perfect gift or keeping an eye on the property market, customers today look for everything from reviews and local suppliers to the latest products online. From a business point of view therefore, the choice is whether to take advantage of digital media or lose out.

A business’ online presence starts with a solid website. An effective website is comprehensive, informative, easy to find and navigate, and is kept fresh by regular updates. The main constituents of a great site are solid copy and great photography, in the right measures. Indeed, gone are the days of flashing images and added gimmicks – people’s short attention spans dictate that a truly effective site will show them what they want to see

immediately, or run the risk of losing their interest. Should part of a company’s website be aimed at selling goods or services online, an e-commerce section that is tightly integrated with the rest of the site and bolstered by regular content updates bears more fruit. Much like the main site, a successful e-commerce section of a business’ website should be straight to the point, free from distractions, include clear calls to

action and an easy check-out process, regardless of whether the site accepts online payments or not. Once a great site has been built, with or without e-commerce forming part of it, the next step is finding a way to build relationships and keep visitors coming back. This is where social media and email marketing come in. Unlike regular advertising, online advertising is more of a two-way street, involving both the buyer and the seller. From the business’ end, it needs to be quick to answer queries and ready to give advice at no cost, all the while reflecting the brand’s personality. Aside from this, using social media and email marketing as a platform for hard selling can have adverse effects, resulting in potential customers losing interest. For companies interested in selling their products or services online, a careful balance of posts aimed at selling and others that are of general interest is essential. Indeed, to keep the target audience interested, a ratio of 80/20 can be taken as a general rule in relation to online posts – 80 per cent of posts giving something of value to the

customer and a maximum of 20 per cent of posts aimed at selling products and services.

To keep the target audience interested, a ratio of 80/20 can be taken as a general rule in relation to online posts – 80 per cent of posts giving something of value to the customer and a maximum of 20 per cent of posts aimed at selling products and services. According to global research and advisory firm Forrester Research, email marketing is still one of the most effective selling tools online today, with a third of transactions starting with a click on an email marketing campaign. As their studies dictate, more people are directly affected by emails when making online purchases than by social


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TECHNOLOGY media or search engines. The problem with email marketing however is its past, having been abused of by entities without the necessary permissions in place. Indeed, when it comes to promoting a company’s products and services via email, a carefully targeted audience or list of recipients means all the difference between generating new business and content simply being marked as ‘junk’. Certainly, it is far better for any business to have a list of 100 people who are interested in its products than a list of 10,000 people it is effectively spamming and will see no revenue from.

All things considered, the single most important issue and the way in which anyone can make the most of the platform of digital media – be it via social media or email marketing or both – is top quality content. Such content could comprise of anything from photos, articles, e-books and infographics to videos and podcasts, which could all serve as tools for businesses to get their message across and engage their customers. Indeed, great content can be used to build an audience which is loyal to the brand, and in turn, will be interested in buying that brand’s products and services.

Testing customer reactions using digital media One of the advantages of digital media is the ability to test and measure customer reactions, enabling tweaks to the site’s features based on the way people react to them via split testing. Put simply, split testing measures reactions to particular features by making them available to different groups of people over a sustained period of time and measuring which gather more results. For example, 50 per cent of clients are shown a button bearing the words ‘BUY NOW’ when making an online purchase, with the other 50 per cent being shown the same button, but bearing the words ‘ADD TO CART’. By measuring the results of each group over a period of time, one can determine which of the options is more effective, hence improving efficacy and generating sales.

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business update

business update

Return to growth bodes well for euro-zone equities

profitable time to European equities.

By Tomislav Satchell, Co-Fund Manager - Vilhena European Multi Manager Fund Recently released data confirmed that euro-zone GDP rose 0.3 per cent in the second quarter of the year, meaning the currency union returned to growth for the first time in seven quarters. This, coupled with recent increases in key business surveys such as the euro-zone EC Economic Sentiment Indicator (ESI) and composite Purchasing Managers Index (PMI), confirmed that a turning point in the business cycle has been reached and has prompted optimism that a sustainable economic recovery in the region has begun.

The ESI and PMI have now risen in seven of the last nine months which, historically, is not a common occurrence. Importantly, a significant recovery in the surveys has often coincided with a turning point in euro-zone growth which implies that Q2’s improvement was more than just a blip. Whilst this suggests that the recession may be over, it does not necessarily mean that the euro-zone will experience a strong recovery. One reason for caution is that previous upturns in the surveys have tended to weaken when the

monetary and fiscal environment has been unhelpful for growth and this latest recovery has coincided with a slowdown in lending, a strengthening euro, only a small reduction in interest rates and the prospect of continuing austerity. However, there does appear to be some compelling evidence that the recent upturn in business surveys is a sign that better times are ahead for the euro-zone. The improved aggregate GDP data itself was driven largely by stronger growth in Germany (0.7 per cent) and France (0.5 per cent),

on gains in domestic demand and household spending. This suggests that the recent period of relative calmness in the euro-zone is encouraging ‘core’ consumers to spend, which in turn might raise expectations of a narrowing of imbalances within the currency union. Meanwhile the Netherlands, Italy and Spain all registered small contractions and the peripheral economies’ growth rates still remain short of those required to address their enormous debt burdens and mass unemployment rates. Nevertheless, there have been some signs that imbalances inside the currency union have narrowed. Peripheral economies current account deficits, for example, have fallen sharply whilst consumer confidence has improved across most euro-zone economies, including Italy, Greece and Spain. Whilst we believe the European Commission’s forecast of 1.1 per cent growth next year may prove a little too optimistic we do expect continued positive growth. What of European Equities specifically? The recent GDP data provided a further boost to the region’s stock markets, which have performed relatively well during the second half of 2013. Compared with only 2 per cent in the euro-zone market in the first half of the year vs 14 per cent from US equities, since June, euro-zone equities have returned 12 per cent, twice that of the US. Looking forward, investor surveys suggest that investors are more optimistic about the prospects of euro-zone equities than at any point since January 2008: the Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BAML) monthly fund managers’ poll indicates that a net 88 per cent of Europe-based managers expect the region’s economy to improve in the next 12 months – the highest in nine years. Such positive sentiment is reflected in investment managers’ allocation to the region: another highlight from the BAML poll was that a net 17 per cent of managers are overweight euro-zone equities. JO Hambro Investment Management Ltd is one of those managers. Despite the on-going sovereign debt issues in the periphery, there is further scope for eurozone equities to outperform in the medium to long term. Despite their relatively strong performance in the second half of 2013, euro-zone equities are still valued at a significant discount to the US and with the low rate of headline and core inflation providing the ECB with scope to loosen monetary policy later this year. This could be a very interesting and potentially

invest

in

Tomislav Satchell is the co-Fund Manager of the Vilhena European Multi Manager Fund. Managed by Valetta Fund Management Ltd., the Fund is designed to provide investors with the opportunity to invest in units of other collective investment schemes which invest in any sector of the European economies with a focus on member states of the European Union, and which are managed by different fund managers. This Fund, through the Multi-Manager approach, gives investors access to a selection of leading fund managers and to a wide array of investments, which are actively managed to provide investors with strong potential to maximise the return on investment. The opinions expressed herein should not be interpreted as investment advice. The past performance of the funds is not a guarantee to their future performance. The value of the investment may fall as well as rise and any initial fees may lower the amount invested and the amount received upon redemptions. Investments should be based on the full details of the Prospectus and Key Investor Information Document which may be obtained from BOV plc Branches/Investment Centres and other Licensed Financial Intermediaries. VFM is licensed to provide Investment Services in Malta by the MFSA. The Vilhena Funds SICAV plc is licensed by the MFSA and qualifies as a UCITS. Issued by VFM, TG Complex, Suite 2, Level 3, Triq il-Birrerija, L-Imriehel BKR 3000 Malta.Tel: (356) 2122 7311, Fax: (356) 2275 5661,Email: infovfm@ bov.com, Website: www.vfm.com.mt. Source: JO Hambro Investment Management Limited, 21 St James's Square, London SW1Y 4HB

Content House Group is a National Champion In European Business Awards The European Business Awards recently announced that Content House Group will be representing Malta as a National Champion for the third year running in the prestigious 2013/14 Awards programme, along with 6PM, Consolidated Biscuits, Crimsonwing and Malta International Airport. The Group will now compete for Ruban d’Honneur status in the next round, with final category award winners set to be unveiled in April 2014. The initiative has identified some of Europe’s brightest businesses based on their ability to demonstrate the three core principles at the heart of the awards programme, namely innovation, business excellence and sustainability. The Managing Director of Content House Group, Jesmond Bonello was delighted with the news, maintaining, “at Content House we’re thrilled to be selected to represent Malta. We’ve been operating for over eight years in the media and communications industries, and it’s an honour to be recognised as one of the leading organisations in our country and in our field.”

Adrian Tripp, CEO of the European Business Awards provides an insight into the awards, stating, “over the past seven years we’ve received an incredibly high standard of entries from organisations that are passionate about their business. However, very few get the chance to fly the flag for their country and compete

across Europe to be recognised as one of Europe’s finest. It really is an exceptional accolade to be picked as a National Champion.”

ECCO’s new range of smart shoes for men

ECCO introduces the Dacono leather sole range of men’s smart shoes this autumn/winter 2013. Uppers are made of fullgrain leathers, with leather lining and removable leather-covered inlay sole with ECFS™. They are available in a classical slip-on or lace-up style in a modern shape, and are super soft and comfortable, with a lightweight sole and sophisticated look. ECCO is exclusively available from King Shoe Shop in San Gwann, Sliema, Valletta, Baystreet and Gozo. Visit www.ecco-shoes.com.mt to view the full collection. King Shoe Shop, St Julian’s Road, San Gwann. Tel: 2137 8433.


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business update

Microsoft chooses Steelcase When Microsoft Malta was setting up the new Microsoft Innovation Centre at Skyparks, Steelcase was the preferred office furniture supplier since it had already furnished many Microsoft offices around the world with excellent results. Steelcase is represented in Malta by a company that is considered to be a household name in office furniture – Oxford House Ltd of Mriehel. The company’s staff received extensive training in designing workspaces using Steelcase products, and provides reliable support services in Malta. In this case, the staff worked closely with DeMicoli & Associates, the contracted design company, to deliver quality solutions efficiently within the set deadlines.

“We have a lot of support from Steelcase in every project we undertake, and when it comes to global companies like Microsoft, we have the added backing of Steelcase global experience elsewhere,” explained Marco Galea, Managing Director of Oxford House.

More information about Steelcase products may be found at www. steelcase.com. Oxford House, Notabile Road, Mriehel. Tel: 2546 4000; email: info@oxfordhouse.com.mt; www.oxfordhouse.com.mt

Microsoft’s main objective at the outset was to maximise work space with furniture that had clean design lines to inspire creative teamwork. Steelcase supplied the product to meet these needs and exceed the client’s expectations with additional benefits. Moreover, flexibility, sustainability and upgradeability were also important factors, and only Steelcase could tick all the boxes.

John Wilson Independent Studios Website Launch

Earning a Masters Degree through Napier Edinburgh University, Scotland

Masters Degree In Banking & Financial Services

John Wilson Independent Studios announces the launch of its new website. The brainchild of John Wilson, John Wilson Independent Studios is a creative advertising collective which operates with the aim of keeping things simple, so they can focus on thinking big. CEO John Wilson, a familiar face from the UK advertising scene, nowadays prefers to take a backseat to the young creatives that form the driving force of his operation. Hand-picked for their talent and expertise, between them they have more than two decades of experience in the advertising industry. “We offer a total advertising solution,” said John Wilson, “whether it’s TV commercials, product launches, websites or retail bro-

chures.” His philosophy is that a small, dynamic team is both more invested in the outcome and able to give their clients more attention. “It’s especially important today for companies to have a solid digital footprint,” John Wilson said. “A good inbound marketing strategy should be at the heart of your business model, whereas very often it’s tacked on as an afterthought.”

With their new website, John Wilson Independent Studios hope to provide a welcoming and attractive space for prospective clients to visit them on the internet. Interested in learning more? You can find them online at www.johnwilson.com.mt and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ john.wilson.independent.studios

In the sixth annual conference of Finance Malta, it was stated that Malta is the leading country in attracting monetary financial institutions within the European zone. Malta has all the qualities of being a financial hub in the Mediterranean region. During a recent local financial services seminar, concern was expressed about the lack of human resources in this fast-developing business sector. To bridge this HR gap, the Malta Business Academy in conjunction with Napier Edinburgh University has launched this programme, commencing December 2013, lasting over 18 months plus dissertation. The Academy has negotiated with the said University additional contact hours, to add value to this Masters Degree Programme. Modules to be carried out in Malta have also been very conveniently planned, so as not to interfere with the student’s routine work programme.

Further information is available by contacting Joe Abela Fitzpatrick on tel: 7942 6773 or email: admin@ maltabusinessacademy.com; www.maltabusinessacademy.com

Masters Degree in International Hospitality & Tourism With the rapid growth in this business sector, more top positions are in demand for those who would like to progress in their career path. The International Academy of Hotel Catering studies is offering you the possibility of becoming a letter leader, through improved work efficiency and improved learned skills, which should also lead to a higher remuneration. You will have the opportunity to network with other colleagues in the hospitality industry, both in Malta and in Edinburgh during two visits to this University, where you will be able to mix with and gain the experience of numerous students from the four corners of the world. Modules in Malta will be very conveniently carried out over the week-ends and will skip the peak summer busy months.

Enquiries on tel: 7909 0070; email: info@iahcs.com.mt

Napier Edinburgh University The University registers over 4,000 full time students and services 17,000 students worldwide. It has been described by The Telegraph as one of the ‘top ten UK Universities for getting a job’. The Business School, with its state-of-the-art facilities campus in Scotland, will enhance your existing qualifications with a further international dimension. You will obtain a recognised MBA that will grant you advanced academic standing and help you develop your skills in national and international arenas, in a rapidly changing environment, helping you stand out from the crowd. New students will be matched with a trained mentor, who has experience of being at Edinburgh Napier University, to help the student and provide an insight into how to be successful in getting into that industry.

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Business Agenda 16