MBR_Issue_29 -March 2017 ALL

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MALTA

BUSINESS REVIEW

ISSUE 29 MARCH 2017

COVER STORY

EVERYBODY IS A LEADER!

Kevin and Jeff Buttigieg who tell us just why

RE/MAX are ahead of the curve

06

16

33

40

DEBATE

Who is afraid of the Twitter Man?

Werner E Jung’s dissertations on the tweeting President

iGAMING FEATURE: THE EMPLOYMENT BRANDING TOUR

LeoVegas - The Lion’s Den

Europe’s fastest and most user-friendly mobile gaming platform

DIGITAL CURRENCY TRADING

The Biggest Major Bitcoin Crashes in the Last 10 Years

Scarlett Anderson gives us an update on the bitcoin trading ecosphere


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Malta Business Review

CONTENTS

March 2017

23 FOCUS: BAHRAIN

NEW RULES PROVIDING 100% FOREIGN OWNERSHIP

WILL BOOST INVESTMENT IN BAHRAIN

Nbail Khoury brings us the latest comprehensive changes

which Bahrain is making to its corporate laws

26 ICT

CHOOSING THE RIGHT SOFTWARE IMPLEMENTATION

PARTNER CAN MAKE OR BREAK YOUR PROJECT – AND

YOUR BANK

Darren Sammut discusses IT software project implementation

33 iGAMING SPECIAL FEATURE

LEOVEGAS- THE LION’S DEN

We find out why LeoVegas runs Europe’s fastest and most

user-friendly mobile gaming platform

06

34 THE EMPLOYMENT BRANDING TOUR: CATENA

MEDIA

Jackie Porsche writes about the most successful online lead

generation companies within the iGaming industry

36 EXCELLENT NETWORKING FOR BTOBET IN

GEORGIA

We follow the multinational igaming software provider BtoBet

in the Georgia Gaming Congress in Tbilisi

06 COVER STORY

EVERYBODY IS A LEADER!

Interview with Kevin and Jeff Buttigieg who tell us just why RE/MAX

are ahead of the curve

12 EU ANALYSIS

FUTURE OF THE EU

MEPs discuss five EU future scenarios set out by Jean Claude Juncker

14 TALKING POINT

THE BIG DATA

Denise De Gaetano probes why business and institutions have

become deeply focused on Big Data

14

16 ANALYSIS & DEBATE

WHO IS AFRAID OF THE TWITTER MAN?

Werner E Jung makes several comparisons and dissertations on the tweeting President

42

39 CORPORATE INTERVIEW

PARAGON EUROPE WITH AN ACTIVE ROLE DURING IN MALTA’S EU

PRESIDENCY

Edwin Ward, Chairman of Paragon Europe speaks to the Malta Business

Review about his company’s involvement in upcoming EU Presidency

conferences

40 FEATURE: DIGITAL CURRENCY

TRADING

THE BIGGEST MAJOR BITCOIN CRASHES IN THE LAST 10 YEARS

Scarlett Andreson gives us a speedy update on the bitcoin trading ecosphere

58

60

Our Golden Partners

Continental Cars Ltd.

42 FEATURE REPORTS

4 WAYS TO BECOME A PAPERLESS BUSINESS

Laurie Leiker, PandaDoc team, discusses how they can help your business cut

your paper use completely.

50 CYBERCRIME MALTA CONFERENCE 2017

Microsoft is Platinum Sponsor of the CMF, which will deal recent trends in

cybercrime and cybersecurity technologies

58 RESEARCH DATA

GIVING CONTEXT TO RESEARCH DATA

A powerful data insight by Rebecca Zammit, Director of MISCO International

Limited

your perfect atmosphere

60 BUILDING & CONSTRUCTION

WHY CONSTRUCTION CLIENTS SHOULD INVEST IN HEALTH &

WELLBEING

Katia Knox tells us why buildings influence the health, wellbeing and

productivity of their occupants

4


Malta Business Review

EDITORIAL

The pressure on business leaders to meet or exceed

short-term performance expectations continues and

can, result in actions that may damage long-term value.

Dynamic leaders will not allow that to occur. They have

the vision, courage and motivation to stay on the path to

building long-term, sustainable value for their business.

The individuals appearing on the cover are committed to

branding, growth and providing superior services which

create long-term and lasting customer value.

PUBLISHER

MBR Publications Limited

OFFICES

Highland Apartment - Level 1,

Naxxar Road,

Birkirkara, BKR 9042

+356 2149 7814

EDITOR

Martin Vella

TECHNICAL ADVISOR

Marcelle D’Argy Smith

SALES DIRECTOR

Margaret Brincat

DESIGN

Jacqueline Muscat

ADVERTISING

Call: 9940 6743 or 9926 0163/4/6;

Email: margaret@mbrpublications.net

or admin@mbrpublications.net

CONTRIBUTORS

Jean Paul Abela; Scarlett Anderson: Antoine

Bonello; George Carol; Reza Deghati; Denise De

Gaetano; Jean Paul Demajo; Werner E Jung;

Nabil Khoury; Katia Knox; Laurie Leiker; Dean

Lomax; Cezary Lewanowicz; Jackie Porsche;

Olga Saliba; James Vella Clark; Rebecca Zammit

SPECIAL THANKS

Demajo Dental; DOI; HSBC; Farsons Simonds

Cisk plc; LinkedIN; Ministry for Finance; Ministry

for Tourism; POLITICO Brussels Playbook &

Brexit Files, POLITICO SPRL

PRINT PRODUCTION

Printit

QUOTE OF THE MONTH

“Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a

follower.”

Disclaimer

Steve Jobs

All rights reserved. No part of this work covered by copyright may

be reproduced or copied and reproduction in whole or part is strictly

prohibited without written permission of the publisher. All content

material available on this publication is duly protected by Maltese

and International Law. No person, organisation, other publisher or

online web content manager should rely, or on any way act upon

any part of the contents of this publication, whether that information

is sourced from the website, magazine or related product without

first obtaining the publisher’s consent. The opinions expressed in the

Malta Business Review are those of the authors or contributors, and

are not necessarily those of the editor or publisher.

Change is a constant occurrence but now, with most

business organisations of size operating globally and

dealing with new markets, the pace of change has

accelerated at what many consider lightning speed.

The explosive ingenuity of technologists, and the innovations that stem from that, has

rendered past operating methods obsolete and future actions more challenging and

uncertain. In other words, “what works well tomorrow may no longer come from the

experiences of yesterday.” In such a rapidly changing environment, strong and decisive

leadership becomes all the more critical in order to take on the strategic, tactical and

structural issues required to win in tomorrow’s struggles and contests.

We believe that Kevin Buttigieg, CEO / Managing Director at RE/MAX Malta, is precisely

on target when he talks of “the right leadership talent at the top that is committed to

constant innovation, constant reinvention of the business, and continuous and persistent

investment and training”. The real estate industry has led in technology innovation and

Buttigieg recognised early that RE/MAX “had to become a tech savvy company”. This

required a “structural change” and a “resetting the mindset of everyone in the company”.

Jenny Arnell, Catena Media, stresses that, “Management recognises its workforce as its

biggest asset, and says it’s the prime success factor of the company. Diverse, creative

and innovative people holding an ‘outside the box’ mentality is what the organisation

promotes in order to deliver the best solutions for their clients.” When we view how

politics often stymies getting things done, we appreciate the clear and decisive words

and actions of ex-New York City’s mayor Michael Bloomberg who believed that “Mayors

are expected to deliver results, not engage in endless debates; and we’re expected to be

pragmatic problem solvers, not partisans”. Most leaders have an intuitive sense of the

importance of behaviour in business performance. They know from experience that it

all comes down to not only what their people do or don't do but—just as importantly—

what's expected of them and what corporate habits motivate their actions.

Can firms systematically and rigorously develop and manage behaviour to achieve

predictable and superior performance? The short answer is yes, and the field of

applied behavioural science (ABS) reveals how. ABS offers compelling insights into

what actually influences human behaviour. It shows that any behaviour—what people

say or do—is prompted by antecedents and then powerfully reinforced or undercut by

the consequences of those actions. When the right behaviours become habitual, when

they are consistently modelled by leaders, and when they are reinforced by policies and

adopted by all, they create the kind of human willingness to perform great things.

Martin Vella

Editor-in-Chief

Malta Business Review’s editorial opinions are decided by its Editor, and besides reflecting the Editor’s

opinion, are written to represent a fair and impartial representation of facts, events and provide a

correct analysis of local and international news.

Talk to us:

E-mail: martin@mbrpublications.net

Twitter: @MBRPublications

Facebook: www.facebook.com/MaltaBusinessReview

Agents for:

www.mbrpublications.net

5


Malta Business Review

COVER STORY OF THE MONTH

EVERYBODY IS A LEADER!

by Martin Vella

After being nominated two years in a row , Kevin and Jeffrey Buttigieg

came home from the RE/MAX R4 International Convention in Las Vegas,

Nevada with the coveted trophy of “Global Region of the year”.

6


COVER STORY OF THE MONTH

Malta Business Review

Background

RE/MAX LLC. was founded in 1973 in

Denver, Colorado in the USA by Dave and

Gail Liniger. RE/MAX is world’s largest real

estate operator, with presence in over 100

countries, with over 7000 offices opened

accommodating 110, 000 plus agents . In

2004 Malta was the 45th country to join the

worldwide brand and today has 23 opened

offices and over 350 sales and letting

associates covering Malta and Gozo.

Over their 13 years with the company, Kevin

and Jeffrey have received the “European

Award of Excellence” and “European Region

of the Year” whilst they have also received

awards for their office achievements. The

RE/MAX Malta CEO and COO respectively

met with MBR publications at their new RE/

MAX Headquarters in Portomaso Marina to

discuss this milestone:

MBR: RE/MAX Malta affiliates have

recently scooped various prestigious

awards at the international convention

Las Vegas, USA. What is the significance

behind this achievement?

KB: One of the big significance for us

is that winning these awards was done

on merit and won on accomplishments

reached by our team. It is not easy to win

such awards. Actually, we finally won one

of the award categories, namely “Global

Region of the Year” after two years being

nominated. To be honest with you we had

our disappointments as well, where we

thought we were going to win an award

and we did not. However, this year has

secured the fact that we won it and it is

not just based on commissions ; it has been

a momentous year for us, culminating in

these awards.

MBR: What has contributed to this

meaningful achievement?

KB: : We won these awards because of what

is happening and what RE/MAX is doing in

Malta. Besides our growth in operations,

per capita income and community service,

RE/MAX LLC also take note of the valuable

input that we put into the European and

Global markets through assisting other

regions. This year I shall be speaking at

three of the other regional conventions. I

just delivered a presentation in London, I

shall be speaking at the Greece Convention

and last year spoke in Romania. Most likely

I shall be speaking in the Spanish and Italian

Conventions, and also at the RE/MAX Europe

Regional Owners meeting, taking place in

Malta next May. These involvements have

a significant contribution towards reaching

such milestones.

MBR: What can you tell us about the

RE/MAX delegation that went up to Las

Vegas?

JB: The RE/MAX Malta delegation

consisted of fifteen team members. We

invite any agent who wants to make the

trip, registering them and most of these

agents are the ones who have won awards

and have been singled out for outstanding

achievement. The most noteworthy of

these has been Cherton Caruana. She

has won the Global Award for most

transactions done by an individual agent.

That is a top accolade, although it is not

the first time we had agents win a top

global award, albeit it is remarkable. Malta

is a small nation, yet it’s heaving up quite a

punch In the Real Estate biosphere and in

the RE/MAX world we were recognised on

a global stage.

MBR: How many delegates does this

event attract, and how does it feel for a

team of fifteen people?

KB: 7,000 world-wide delegates and over

the thirteen years that we have been

participating we are neither the quietest,

nor the shiest of delegates. Everybody

knows us. The biggest thing that I enjoy

is that everybody is very happy for us.

There is no animosity and people share

your joy, even to the point of stopping,

congratulating and hugging us for our

achievements. All RE/MAX associates

offer a toast and its great fun. Obviously,

it is an outstanding achievement that no

other real estate company in Malta has

ever managed to achieve!

Malta is a small nation, yet it’s

heaving up quite a punch in

the Real Estate biosphere and

in the RE/MAX world we were

recognised on a global stage

JB: Our per-capita earning rates are

the highest. Our initiatives from a

community point of view are well known.

Our strategy and input throughout the

European regions has been acclaimed and

established to the point that other foreign

regional owners come down to see how

we operate. We always love to share our

ideas and also learn from other regions all

the time.

MBR: How do you recognise and appraise

your team of achievers?

KB: Firstly, being taken to Las Vegas is

already a huge acknowledgement to the

team. Within our group we try to run and

manage this business as a family. One

thing for certain is that from the beginner,

to the smallest achiever, up to the biggest

achiever; we treat them all equal. We are

always listening to people and encouraging

them.

MBR: In 2016 you registered another

record year with an overall turnover

of €600M. What are the key factors

attributing to this and what is the

winning strategy here?

KB: Our main attributes to this is training

our agents to understand what they need

to do, setting up the right management

structures, following up and being always

involved because every single one of us

is enmeshed in sales on a daily basis, we

all get our hands dirty, we have a great,

great management team, and in which

over the years we have nurtured them

to grow their own businesses. Therefore,

our main attributes to this is that within

RE/MAX you have an opportunity to grow

with the company, you can manage your

own business with the company, and

you can become a leader with RE/MAX,

as everybody is a leader! The property

market is in a so called boom at the

moment, with various different elements

attributing to this boom, where we service

a lot with first-time buyer and cover

the whole market. We are the largest

wherein foreign investors are concerned,

the biggest in buy-to-rent and the reason

why we lead on every single section of

the real estate market boils down to the

fact that we have people focusing on the

Cherton Caruana, Letting Associate, winner of

most transactions as an individual

www.mbrpublications.net

7


Malta Business Review

COVER STORY OF THE MONTH

different clusters and market segments.

Combined with our marketing, the RE/

MAX brand and a cocktail of specialists,

we generate a unique selling perspective

to our customers.

MBR: Thirteen years of non-stop

operations and continued growth,

together with the recent launch of an

expansive, modern and comfortable

offices set out in a prime location at

Portomaso. How does this position the

RE/MAX brand for further growth and

what advantages does it offer to your

customers?

KB: This office has been my brainchild,

perhaps for many selfish reasons! Spending

a major part of my time here at Hilton

and at the Business Tower in Portomaso

creating synergies with customers even

when our offices were in Sliema, for me my

life has become a lot easier! The location

of this office has allowed us to hold much

more intense, intimate meetings with

our management team and has proved

to also offer easier access and parking to

our staff and associates. In view of easier

parking facilities, today we can organise

meetings at short notice. The ambience

and surroundings also give an aura of

relaxation and serenity to both customers

and also our affiliates. All the people

involved with us, from the accountants to

the IT persons are much more happier and

smiling now, then they were at the other

office. This is a corporate office with a

quantum leap.

JB: Probably the most important aspect

of our new office is that we have a stateof-the-art

training facility, one which

management may supervise and also join

in and take part in training from time-totime.

One thing we have here at RE/MAX

is that the top management are handson,

listen in on training and the questions

asked so we understand even deeper

where we stand in terms of education.

MBR: What challenges did you face to

open these brand new offices?

KB: Making a move is always a huge

challenge. Obviously, there is a big

expense to relocating over 25 people but it

was a total non-brainer. We certainly have

did the right thing, in fact, the general

atmosphere and morale is very high!

MBR: Three important elements in

the RE/MAX success story: Brand,

Distribution and Training. How do

you successfully leverage these three

elements?

KB: We leverage the brand by making it

successful through having it well positioned

and marketed comprehensively. Our

Kevin Buttigieg, CEO, Cherton Caruana, Letting Associate & Jeffrey Buttigieg, COO

brand is a non-brainer, since it is the 5th

most widely recognised logo in the world

apart from being immensely popular

brand. It is also the 8th most popular

franchise on the Entrepreneur 500 survey.

There are no other real estate companies

in the top 100. The RE/MAX offices are

strategically located throughout Malta,

making our brand visible everywhere you

go, including Gozo, where we are the only

real estate company that will have opened

two offices in Gozo.

JB: We were among the first to expand

the advertising and portray our brand

in the media strategically. Today we see

competition doing the same and we are

always at least one step ahead.

MBR: Your franchise approach is

incredibly efficient- can you tell us why?

KB: Firstly, it is a great driver for growth

and success. Our franchise approach is

incredible because we look internally first,

we empower our associates and managers

making them understand that they too

may be our partner in the future. In fact,

the majority of our franchise owners have

worked within RE/MAX as an associate

or manager for a certain amount of time

before they are ready to take on the

challenge. It’s quite hard to believe, but I

turn down three to four franchise requests

a month. Our brand is not for everybody.

We are very careful with our brand

because we know we have to take care

of over four hundred families that rely on

this brand. We want to stay strong, remain

healthy, get the right people on board and

keep on performing the right due diligence

upon engaging people. Our mantra has

been: Real Estate Maximums. MBR

All rights reserved © 2017

8


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Malta Business Review

PRIVATE EQUITY

MEDITERRANIA capital partners

raises €250 million for third fund

7 March 2017, Malta/Barcelona.

Mediterrania Capital Partners, the

regional Private Equity firm focusing on

growth investments for companies in

North African and Sub-Saharan countries,

announces its plans to raise €250 million

for its third fund, Mediterrania Capital III

(MC III).

Through MC III, Mediterrania Capital will

maintain its focus in North Africa while

expanding into selected Sub-Saharan

countries such as Ivory Coast, Senegal and

Cameroon. The firm is planning to continue

investing in strong core sectors that

benefit from the favourable demographics

of the region, a growing middle class with

increased purchasing power and rapid

urbanisation trends.

The first closing of MC III is scheduled for

Q4 2017 with full deployment of the funds

planned to be completed within three to

four years of the closing.

Through offices in Abidjan, Algiers,

Barcelona, Casablanca, Cairo, Tunis and

Valletta, Mediterrania Capital Partners is

currently advising two funds, Mediterrania

Capital I (MC I), which closed in Q2 2008,

and Mediterrania Capital II (MC II), closed

in Q4 2013 and with 80% of the funds

deployed as of today.

MC I’s and MC II’s investor bases both

consist of corporate and public pension

funds, funds of funds, family offices and

development finance institutions from

the US, Canada, Europe, Middle East and

Africa.

Mediterrania Capital Partners’ current

portfolio include companies in a wide

range of sectors such as financial,

pharmaceutical, education, consumer,

industrial, transport and logistics, support

services and telecommunications.

“Our unique, repetitive Value Creation

model is allowing portfolio companies to

deliver excellent results, outperforming

the markets in which they are operating

and setting the right foundations for

the future,” said Albert Alsina, CEO and

Managing Partner of Mediterrania Capital

Partners.

Until December 2016, Cumulative EBITDA

of MC II´s portfolio companies reached

€53 million, up 64% on 2014; Cumulative

Revenues came to €340.8 million, a 63%

growth rate; and Cumulative Net Income

CAGR amounted to €24.5 million, a 42%

growth rate, in the same period.

“MC III is the natural step forward for

Mediterrania Capital Partners. Since

2008, we have witnessed Africa’s steady

evolution, economically and politically,

and an increasing number of SMEs with

strong growth potential. In fact, the

prospects of our third fund look very

encouraging, with several solid projects

that could benefit from our hands-on

Value Creation approach already in the

pipeline,” concluded Albert Alsina.

With MC III, Mediterrania Capital Partners

aims to continue delivering superior

returns to its investors and partners

while having a positive impact in the

region through sustainable and socially

responsible investments.

1Office under creation.

2For a full list of Mediterrania Capital Partners’

portfolio companies, please see: www.mcapitalp.

com/portfolio-companies. MBR

CORPORATE

Brief

Mediterrania Capital Partners (www.mcapitalp.com) is a dedicated Private Equity firm focusing

on growth investments in SMEs and mid-cap companies in Africa. The company started its

operations in 2008 under “Fons Mediterrania Capital” and since 2013 is an independent General

Partner Structure. Consistent with its strategy, Mediterrania Capital Partners continues to seek

North African and Sub-Saharan-based SMEs with an equity value of €25 million to €400 million.

The firm is a regulated financial investment manager licensed by the Malta Financial Services

Authority (MFSA).

For more information, please contact communications@mcapitalp.com.

Website: www.mcapitalp.com

YouTube channel: www.youtube.com/channel/UCmBxa-EDilIWakYJr1_J6SQ

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/company/mediterrania-capital-partners

10


Malta Business Review

EU: ANALYSIS

Future of the

EU: MEPs

discuss five

scenarios

set out by

Jean-Claude

Juncker

By Cezary Lewanowicz

Debate with the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude

Juncker on the White Paper on the future of the EU© EU 2017 - EP

Lead MEPs from Parliament’s political groups reacted to the Commission’s Future of Europe White Paper,

presented by its President Jean-Claude Juncker to the full House. Some MEPs welcomed the Commission’s

decision to outline five possible paths for the EU to take in the coming years, while others criticized it for not

picking a clear preferred path or providing concrete examples.

Opening the debate, Parliament’s

President Antonio Tajani urged that the

“future of Europe” debate, begun by

the three reports voted at Parliament’s

previous plenary session, “must go on”. He

stressed that the upcoming Rome Treaty

60th anniversary celebrations must be “an

opportunity for the institutions to listen

more closely to citizens, in order to address

their concerns”

European Commission President Jean-

Claude Juncker presented five possible

replies to the question “ Quo vadis Europa“,

stressing that this means a “Europe of 27”.

“Our task today is to show what Europe can

and cannot do”, he said, pointing out for

example that “Europe alone cannot be held

responsible for fighting unemployment”.

“We cannot offer the moon. In some cases,

all we can do is offer a telescope“, he said.

Mr Juncker listed five scenarios:

1. “carrying on”,

2. “nothing but the single market”,

3. “those who want more do more”,

4. “doing less more efficiently”, and

5. “doing much more together.”

”I shall not tell you my absolute preference

today, because it is not up to me all to

take this decision”, he said, inviting the

European Parliament, national parliaments,

governments and citizens to contribute

to the debate. The Commission will go

on listening until September, when in the

annual State of the Union address and

having consulted the European Parliament

rapporteurs, a conclusion may be drawn.

Esteban Gonzales Pons (EPP, ES) thanked

Mr Juncker for choosing to present his

White Paper in Parliament and underlined

that the House must be “fully involved”

in the subsequent debate. He agreed

with Mr Juncker that we have to “align

expectations with reality” and urged

member states to “stop blaming Europe

for what Europe cannot do because it does

not have the tools”. “This is a wrong and

dangerous game and Brexit is one of its

consequences”, he concluded.

S&D leader Gianni Pittella (IT) told Mr

Juncker “Your paper includes five options,

and I believe that by putting these five

options on the table as realistic scenarios,

you are playing into the hands of all those

who want to weaken the European Union

or even get rid of it”. (…) “You put five

options on the table, but I can only see

one: to work together as Europeans and

do much more together”, he added.

Ulrike Trebesius (ECR, DE) said that past

hopes in Europe and the Eurozone have

fallen victim to centralism and delusions

of grandeur. The EU should concentrate

on fewer policy areas and become more

efficient, e.g. in fighting terrorism and

protecting its borders. "Times have

changed, we need more flexibility and to

adapt our institutional set-up", she said.

Guy Verhofstadt (ALDE, BE) stressed the

need to start a further inter-institutional

reflection on the future of Europe. He

also said that the EU currently lacks real

capabilities to address many of today’s

challenges, and urged EU countries to

stop using the unanimous vote rule to

block vital efforts to move the Union

forward. “But how convince EU leaders at

national level to take the steps that we so

desperately need?” he added.

“We need to listen to the citizens”,

stressed Patrick Le Hyaric (GUE, FR), calling

for another, “bottom-up” scenario, which

takes account of people’s aspirations for

justice, equality, solidarity, environment

protection and public health. “Otherwise,

we’ll fail to meet the challenge”, he

warned.

Philippe Lamberts (Greens, BE), urged

the Commission to consider proposing a

radical change of direction, so as to halt

the explosion of inequality. "To reconquer

citizens' hearts and spirits, we need to (...)

ensure peace and shared prosperity, and

abandon fiscal and social competition", he

added.

For the EFDD group, Gerard Batten (UK)

said that the White Paper recognizes

the problems facing the EU, “but fails

to understand that many of these were

created by the EU in the first place”.

For the ENF group, Vicky Maeijer (NL)

said that the EU is collapsing. “We in the

Netherlands said no to the European

constitution, no to the trade agreement

with Ukraine, and it is time we said no to

Europe.”

MBR

Cezary LEWANOWICZ is a EP Press Officer

Credit: EP/Plenary/REF. : 20170228IPR64287

12


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Surfacing the most beautiful spaces

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Malta Business Review

TALKING POINT

The

BY DENISE DE GAETANO

With one of the top spots retained

for the request of Facebook

personal data per capita by the

Maltese government, it is becoming more

evident that Malta is adjusting to the big

data revolution. We no longer can keep

much of our lives personal. With every

supermarket transaction, Facebook and

Twitter login and discount card usage,

our personal data, buying habits, posts,

photos, likes and chats, we reveal our

lives to help companies and governments,

achieve the two Ms: Monitoring and

Monetization.

Businesses and institutions, have become

deeply focused on big data to drive profits

on customer insights. The more data, that

data scientists and statisticians can take

up, the more precise the forecasts over

specific algorithms will be. Such forecasts,

can communicate something of value and

potential. Hence, client data is an asset to

any company. Nowadays, more companies

are realizing that they cannot continue

being competitive if they cannot put good

data to use. Whereas before, analytics

was run under the business intelligence

branch, focusing on reporting, it is ever

more important to concentrate on a more

personalized service and product. To

this end, asset surveillance is of utmost

importance and the process of managing

such assets to maintain client privacy is

audited thoroughly. There is currently no

big data code of ethics, though, there are

controls over who can access the data

and how they can use such data. Privacy

regulations should not only be put in

place at the national level, but also at the

industry level. The main challenge faced

is that online data, comes in so quickly

that in some cases, there may be a lag

between when data comes in and when

such regulations are put into place.

The reality is that proper

collection of such data and

sieving through it, can reap

more benefits

With the constant advancement on the big

data front, comes an every changing range

of different technologies, which enable

the storage, manipulation and forecasting

of big data. Although such technology is

still in its initial stages with the utilization

to its full potential in Malta, we have

a number of international companies,

employing these technologies, with the

help of more data scientists. Getting into

the big data game is not as easy as it may

seem. Many companies fail to recognize

that the collection of large quantities of

data alone, is not the answer. The reality

is that proper collection of such data and

sieving through it, can reap more benefits.

Companies and firms that are looking into

the monetization on Big Data, should look

beyond the simple data and more into the

economic questions that can be answered

with such data. Often times, data can

help answer very specific questions,

pertaining to the particular business about

the risk, future and current value, risk

of a specific asset or product. Data will

provide information about the market and

how customers behave in general. Such

information is of extreme importance to

market participants. Companies should

start with understanding the business

challenge and gather the information,

specifically in relation to this challenge,

as it is more likely to provide the

most valuable insight. Investment in

technologies and the skills to use them,

such as predictive analytics, smart data

discovery solutions and advanced naturallanguage

generation, will help attain the

true value from the data the company has.

Such companies, looking at getting into

the big data company, should therefore

have to their availability, large quantities

of readily available data and information,

access to advanced analytical tools, such

as Hadoop and NoSQL and the human

workforce capable of putting these tools to

work. Big data is not just to be considered

as another technology fad, as this won’t

help anyone get the most out of such data,

but rather, this has to be embedded into

every department, where the employees,

can understand the significance of data

at hand to the whole company. It is a way

forward, to understand that, should data,

information and insights be shared, these

can help recognize synergies between

different departments and help scale up

the benefits that analytics and forecasting

can provide. The Big Data boom has

effected all of us, sometimes, without even

realizing. It’s an exciting revolution and

one which we shall hear more about in the

years to come. It can easily be considered

as the current future.

MBR

14


Malta Business Review

ANALYSIS & DEBATE

Who is afraid Of thE

TWITTER MAN?

Hopefully complacency will not gain the

upper hand over time, meaning that we

will all soon be getting used to this type

of madness. The sixties have shown that

“democracy is in the streets” – it is now

time for a revival, so it appears.

There is, however a big difference: In

‘68 the objective of the younger (postwar)

generation was to bring down the

entrenched establishment which formed

the post-war times. The objective was

to generate a new set of ideas and a

progressive outlook at the world. At that

time the world was still being defined

by a generation heavily traumatised by

their experiences during the war and

many of them were still convinced that

By Werner E. Jung

While there is a lonely man in the White house disseminating his wisdom

via Twitter to the hostile world around him, (bad, very bad media) there

are more and more people in the US taking to the streets in protest. One

can only hope that these opposition movements and the protests will go

on and that especially the younger generations keep pushing ahead. It

is time for civil disobedience and for damage control.

“not everything was bad” under the

Nazis. The 60’s and early 70’s could be

characterised as a time of “creative

destruction” as defined by the economist

and political scientist Joseph Schumpeter

in order to propagate innovation and

entrepreneurship. In utter contrast

to that, the mastermind in the White

House, Steve Bannon, has a declared

objective of “complete destruction” of

all “evil developments” since the 60’s.

Bannon sees all evil stemming from the

60’s (r)evolution and wants to return to

a world of proper white fences around

the lawns of rural white America, where

religion, family, work ethics and discipline

were still in place.

So, what should be the answer? I have

to admit that it has taken me some time

to regain my stance after the election

of the Twitter-Man; the conviction that

lamentations will not really get anybody

ahead has taken the upper hand. We

have all enjoyed a long period of growth

and growing prosperity – at least “on

average” despite some recessions and

financial crises, caused primarily by greed.

While most of us have been lulled by the

“on average” statistics, some people,

over time, developed a gut feeling that

somehow the average was not working for

them. They realised that, over time, they

could not afford a yearly family vacation

any more and a new car every three or

four years also was not within their budget

any more; despite al the statistics. What

many of us have overlooked is that in the

past decades, growth and prosperity have

been allocated progressively unequally.

Average figures do not tell the real story.

When 10 people have an additional

income of $ 10.000 over the past year,

then the average increase is $ 1.000 per

person. However, if one of them gets $

9.000 and then the other 9 persons only

get $ 111 each; – the average is still $

1.000, but 9 out of 10 might just come to

the conclusion that something is not quite

fair! This type of development was more

evident in the US than in Europe, and in

16


ANALYSIS & DEBATE

Malta Business Review

a way it was also welcome there because

it upheld the American dream “from rags

to riches”. The effect of this development

has been described extensively by Joseph

Stiglitz in his book “The Price of Inequality”.

The election of the Twitter-Man is part

of that price. That, however, does not

mean that his administration is going

to do something about the inequality;

on the contrary, as exemplified by the

staffing of the cabinet with billionaires.

This, unfortunately, will take quite some

time for his followers to comprehend and

understand, independent of their level of

education.

Probably we are giving this guy far too

much credit. In contrast to Erdogan in

Turkey, Kaczynski in Poland, Orban in

Hungary, or Marine Le Pen in France, the

Twitter-Man does not really want to rule

and exude absolute power. He, in the

meantime has realised that he does need

an apparatus and people around him to

govern, which actually is a damn nuisance

for him. Having to govern distracts him

from his real objective: to have greater

press coverage than George Clooney and

to become more famous than Jesus Christ.

And, at last but not least, to become

richer than either Warren Buffet or Bill

Gates. I, for one, still strongly believe in

the American democracy and the principle

of checks and balances. In the end the

judiciary and the legislative branch of the

government will ascertain that the country

will stay out of harm’s way. However, the

idea that a Twitter-Man would have been

in charge during the Cuban Missile Crisis,

does make my toenails curl backwards.

Europeans, and especially the Germans,

are not sleeping well lately; their

comfortable lives all of a sudden are

disrupted by uncertainty and “angst”.

So, in terms of the opening sentence,

this “wake-up call” is a good thing at the

right time, and, maybe, we should all be

thankful to have the Twitter-Man around.

At least one could argue in the sense of

the philosopher Bernard de Mandeville

in the “Fable of the Bees”, where he

concludes that private vice creates

public benefits. If this appears as not so

obvious, imagine everybody was good

and benevolent to his/her fellow citizens.

What would happen? We would have

millions of people unemployed: Lawyers,

judges, policemen/women, prison guards,

manufacturers of doors and hardware

would all not be needed any more. This

scenario undoubtedly belongs into the

world of fairy tales and sagas but it does

emphasise the two sides of a coin.

More probable, however,

is that the Twitter-Man

disseminates enough fear

and uncertainty amongst the

people of Europe so that they

finally stop bickering and

come to the conclusion that

“united we must stand”.

More probable, however, is that the

Twitter-Man disseminates enough fear

and uncertainty amongst the people of

Europe so that they finally stop bickering

and come to the conclusion that “united

we must stand”. Early indications seem to

suggest that this might be working. Finally

Jen-Claude Juncker has taken up with the

thought that for closer cooperation, it is

not necessary for all countries to proceed

with the same speed. Different nations

do have different ideas of how to cope

with that imminent threat; they have to

address their own specific problems to

deal with. In this context it’s foolish to

assume that all countries can always agree

on the priorities, nor are they willing and

capable of advancing at the same speed

socially, economically and politically. This

is perfectly all right as long as everybody

can all agree on the same basic principles.

If they do away with the totally impractical

“unanimity” rule in Brussels and

Strasbourg, Europe can proceed at a much

faster pace.

Let us all hope that the Europeans have

finally grasped the monumental chance

to find a fruitful way of togetherness and

cooperation, and that the Twitter-Man

stays around long enough for this goal to

be accomplished, before he is escorted out

of the White House in a straitjacket by two

men in white. SAD, Very, Very SAD MBR

EDITOR’S

Note

Werner E. Jung, lecturer

and writer, looks back at

an eventful international

management and

consulting career. He lived and worked

in many countries around the world. As

consultant and lecturer he took a special

interest in SMEs and developing markets.

After the financial crisis in 2008, he

discontinued his “old style” teachings and

has taken to research into socio-economic

developments. The focus is on the rising

inequalities and the resulting disruptions.

Mr. Jung holds a degree in Industrial

Engineering and Business Management from

the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology and

the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

He now lives in the foothills of the Bavarian

mountains. wej@think-different.org

www.mbrpublications.net

17


Malta Business Review

TRANSPORT & LOGISTICS

SAVING

BIG

ON EXPORTS

Exasperated. This is the feeling many of

the local shipping executives of exporting

companies used to feel when searching

for a reliable but at the same time costeffective

forwarding solution for their

export business. It is very easy to find

reliable and competitive freight forwarders

with regards importations but as far as

exports go, there always seemed to be

much less options on the market. This

resulted in very high costs compared to

imports and less than satisfactory transit

times resulting in the local manufacturing

exporting companies having an even

tougher time competing in the competitive

global market.

Not anymore! EuroBridge has just

launched its groupage export service to

all European destinations. The company

which is well renowned for its import

services felt it was the right time to enter

the export market and it is guaranteeing

its customers 3 major promises with this

new service:

Rates as low as the Import Rates. The cost

of exporting is actually less than that of

importing so how come groupage export

rates are much more expensive than

imports? It is an easy one to answer. Lack

of reliable competition. It is a well-known

fact that up till now, only a handful of local

trailer operators could offer a reliable

service for export companies and in view

of this situation, they took advantage

in quoting high rates. EuroBridge will

make sure this problem stops here and

it is offering the same import rates to all

their customers making exporting a much

cheaper proposition from now on.

Super-fast transit times. EuroBridge

understands that the buck does not stop

with just offering cheap rates. It has to offer

the best possible service and that is what

it set out to do from day one. It is already

loading weekly shipments departing every

Saturday and the first deliveries in North

Italy will be done by the following Tuesday.

All deliveries to the major European

destinations will be effected within the

following Friday therefore guaranteeing a

less-than-1-week transit time to all major

European destinations. Timed deliveries

are also available if needed.

Real-time updates and follow-ups. As

with the imports, EuroBridge will follow

up all export shipments from their local

offices guaranteeing its customers realtime

updates without the hassle and timewasting

of going to their overseas agents

for such updates.

To promote this new service, EuroBridge

is launching with immediate effect a

promotion offering a 20% discount on the

quoted rates for all shipments booked

prior the end of June 2017. This means

that besides offering an already cheaper

rate than the current market rates, for

the next 3 months, all exporters can take

advantage of this offer and reduce even

more their exporting costs.

If you would like to know more about

EuroBridge and its services, they invite

you to visit their website www.eurobridge.

com.mt. They would also be thrilled if you

could communicate directly with them by

calling their office on 22487000 or send

them an email on sales@eurobridge.com.

mt. They always sign with their motto

‘Yours to count on’ and it is their intention

that you feel you can always count on

them for your shipping needs. MBR

18


Malta Business Review

TRANSPORT & LOGISTICS

MORE GROWTH

ENVISAGED

THIS YEAR FOR

EXPRESS

TRAILERS’

SIDE-LOADER

BUSINESS

“In less than a year since Express Trailers

announced its appointment as HAMMAR's

European base for the re-building and

customization of HAMMAR side-loaders

for the global market, Express Trailers has

already delivered rebuilt side-loaders to

clients in UK, Turkey, Spain, Portugal, the

Canary Islands and the US.”

This was stated recently by Franco

Azzopardi, Chairman and CEO of Express

Trailers during the recent Malta Robotics

Olympiad held at the MFCC in Ta’ Qali.

Express Trailers was the Olympiad’s

Logistics Partner and was trusted to

transport and deliver the delicate

competing projects. Express Trailers was

also present throughout the event with its

Side-Loader, giving demonstrations of how

it operates.

Express Trailers displayed its side-loader

during the Malta Robotics Olympiad and

gave the public the opportunity to see this

vehicle in action, to see how it operates

and to understand the advantages that

side-loaders can bring to their logistical

operations.

Side-loaders, or side-lifters, enable

transport companies to load and unload

containers and out of gauge cargo onto

flat-bed trailer trucks without the use

of cranes but instead, with the use of a

specially mounted hydraulic-powered

mechanism installed on the trailer chassis.

These hydraulic structures can also be

telescopic; adjusting to varying sizes of

containers and can handle weights of up

to 33 tons without any counter weight.

“Express Trailers has invested a lot in this

new collaboration with HAMMAR to rebuild

and re-condition side-loaders on

behalf of HAMMAR for its clients round the

world. This move effectively saw Express

Trailers move into the manufacturing

business. The result of this investment is

that we have already seen a successful year

and this coming year will see us working on

an event and a bigger order book because

we are committed to produce seven sideloaders

throughout this year and we are

sure this number will increase.”

“However, availability of capable and

talented workers in this field remains

an issue and unless we find more

tradesmen, we will not be able to meet

the demand. We are looking at the MRO

also as an opportunity to get in contact

with interested people who would like

to join our team to work with us in this

manufacturing business,” adds Franco

Azzopardi.

“We currently have a team of very talented

workers who are doing a fantastic job but

as we expect business to grow, we know

we will need to recruit more workers

especially welders. We need people who

are passionate, want to learn and are

willing to be part of a successful team.

From our end, we are ready to offer them

all the required training. However, it is

proving to be very difficult to find these

types of workers,” added Franco Azzopardi.

Express Trailers is seeing a lot of

potential growth in this business and to

accommodate this growth, the company

has recently invested in the installation

of a new internal crane system. Besides

allowing workers to move the side-loader

structures from one place to another at

production phase in a faster and more

efficient way, this new structure guarantees

a safer environment. Over the coming

weeks, further investment is envisaged

with the replacement of the current roof

with a brand new structure.

MBR

20


Pride can lead to great things.

We are proud of what we achieve,

through our ability, our services

the reliability we offer and the trust we enjoy.

Orange is our pride.

#WeAreOrange

We deliver your cargo from anywhere to wherever.

We are the experts in logistics.

PHOTO: ONE OF OUR EMPLOYEES’ PHOTOS IN THE 2016 EXPRESS TRAILERS PHOTOGRAPHIC COMPETITION THEMED ‘WE ARE ORANGE’.

Express Group Malta

Velbro House, Qormi Road,

Luqa LQA 9040,

MALTA

Tel: (+356) 21 242311

Email: info@expressgroup.com

www.expressgroup.com


Malta Business Review

TRANSPORT & LOGISTICS

Evonik

optimizes

supply chains

with DHL

Resilience 360

For Evonik, Resilience 360 means a further

digitalization of its numerous logistics

activities.

• Analysis tool examines road and rail

transport routes.

• Risk management strengthens resilience

of supply chains and minimizes potential

impact on operating business

Whether it’s heavy rainfall, manufacturing

issues or road closures – a variety of

causes can disrupt supply chains and

the flow of goods in a globalized world.

The consequences can mean halted

production, sales losses or damage to a

company’s image. In order to avoid such

scenarios, the logistics arm of Evonik

Technology & Infrastructure GmbH

will work with the risk-management

solution DHL Resilience 360 in the future.

Representatives of Evonik and DHL have

signed the respective contract in the Marl

Chemical Park.

The risk-management solution Resilience

360 provides real-time analysis of problems

that vessels, trains or trucks can encounter

along their transport routes after setting

out from Evonik locations around the

world. On this basis, the software proposes

countermeasures – such as whether and

how the supply chain’s resources can

be redistributed in order to minimize or

completely avoid damage. For this purpose,

the platform connects information regarding

natural disasters and socio-political or other

risks to Evonik’s global production and

distribution network. This is partly done

by using heat maps, which visualize the

locations where problems may occur on

various routes. In this way, tracking potential

dangers becomes much easier.

“Particularly in industries such as the

chemicals sector, in which delicate

products are transported, the security of

the environment, employees and goods

plays an important role,” says Tobias

Larsson,Head of Resilience 360, DHL

Customer Solutions & Innovation. “We are

delighted to help Evonik with this in the

future while reducing the costs and risks

along the supply chain by providing our

data and expertise.”

For Evonik, Resilience 360 means a further

digitalization of its numerous logistics

activities. “In doing so, we are continuing to

take account of our responsibility for safely

transporting chemical goods,” says Robert

Schmidkunz, Head of Logistics Security,

Evonik Technology & Infrastructure GmbH.

“Through actively monitoring supply

chains, Evonik is supporting the transportrisk

analyses that have already been

introduced successfully. With this tool, we

are also contributing to the digitalization of

our supply chain processes.”

From the Marl Chemical Park alone,

approximately four million tons of products

start their journey throughout the world

every year – via vessel, train and truck.

Evonik will primarily use Resilience 360

for evaluating potential dangers in road

transport. The platform also serves as an

early-warning system to guarantee a rapid

response to unscheduled disruptions and

to ensure that appropriate measures are

implemented. MBR

22


FOCUS: BAHRAIN

Malta Business Review

New rules providing 100% foreign

ownership will boost investment in

Bahrain

By Nabil Khoury

The Kingdom of Bahrain is in the

process of making comprehensive

changes to its corporate laws and

procedures to make it easier to set up

and carry out business in Bahrain. The

changes will allow for easier company

incorporations, the streamlining of the

company administration process and the

easing of restrictions on foreign ownership.

A series of new laws and amendments

have been introduced over the last 24

months to modernise and streamline the

regulatory regime, enhance corporate

governance and increase accountability,

empower shareholders and facilitate

foreign participation in Bahrain companies.

They are designed to promote enterprise in

Bahrain and encourage foreign investors to

choose Bahrain as a destination of choice

for doing business in the Middle East.

The Bahrain cabinet has further

announced that it is to allow 100% foreign

ownership in residency, real estate,

administrative services, health and social

work, information and communications,

manufacturing, mining and quarrying,

food, arts, entertainment and leisure, water

supplying and professional, scientific and

technical activities.

Business opportunities in Bahrain are set

to increase heavily in the period leading

up to the new the Ministry of Industry and

Commerce (MOIC) regulations, which for

the first time puts Bahrain on a competitive

footing with some of the region’s mega

free zones and business hubs. The nature

and size of the proposed business, as well

as the particular requirements of investors,

will govern the choice of legal structure in

Bahrain. All types of Bahraini companies

give the shareholders or the directors an

Investor’s Residence Visa.

Bahrain imposes no exchange control

restrictions on repatriation of capital,

profits and dividends, enabling full financial

transferability of capital, profits and

dividends. Bahrain currently levies no taxes

on personal or corporate income. There is no

capital gains tax, no withholding tax and VAT.

Bahrain currently levies no

taxes on personal or corporate

income. There is no capital

gains tax, no withholding tax

and VAT

Forming a company in Bahrain offers

excellent access to the GCC states,

especially Saudi Arabia, which is the

largest market in the region. Bahrain has

an expanding treaty network that includes

over 30 double tax agreements with key

partners in Asia, Europe and the Americas,

as well as the Middle East and Africa. This

is supplemented by bilateral investment

treaties with countries including India, Italy

and the US, and Free Trade Agreements

with trading partners such as the US and

Singapore.

Potential investors should speak to a

consultant to ensure that the company they

are establishing complies with the various

new MOIC rules and regulations. Sovereign

is in a unique position, through its global

network of offices, to give guidance on

suitable structures available to meet any

personal and business requirements.

The Bahrain property market is already

highly competitive when compared to

other regional locations due to its attractive

residential and commercial rents and

values, but the huge monetary investment

into the city and its infrastructure

combined with the new opportunities for

foreign investment will certainly help to

support sustained activity in the long term.

Given the boost to real estate values

and rents in Bahrain, property owners

should be ensuring that their ownership

structures and succession plans are fit

for purpose. Many property owners

are not fully conversant with local legal

procedures or taxes and may not fully

recognise the longer-term implications

in terms of potential exposures to capital

gains tax, inheritance tax or forced heirship

rules. Substantial benefits may be derived

through the use of corporate, trust or

foundation structures to address these

issues.

Sovereign assists many of its clients with

the acquisition of real estate worldwide.

We advise on tax and structuring and

can manage the transaction process and

financing arrangements. With our regional

knowledge of property ownership laws and

regulations, along with our tax planning

expertise, we can help you reduce any

potential exposure. MBR

EDITOR’S

Note

Nabil Khoury is the

Managing Director,

Sovereign Trust

Consultancy (Bahrain)

WLL

wwww.mbrpublications.net

23


Malta Business Review

FEATURE READOUT

Theresa May

BREXIT FILES

— Theresa May didn’t come to Brussels to

talk about Brexit, but there’s not much else

her continental counterparts want to hear

from her. Even Irish Prime Minister Enda

Kenny failed to get any Brexit details. In the

only one-on-one meeting May held at the

European Council on Thursday, Kenny asked

on what date she would trigger Article 50.

Her response? By the end of March. So much

for the luck of the Irish!

Irish Taoiseach Enda Kenny Getty Images

— May warned leaders at the summit she will

fight demands for Britain to pay a €60 billion

“divorce bill” when it leaves the EU. However,

EU leaders are having none of it. “When you

sign on for a contract you commit yourself

to participation and obviously the extent of

that level of money will be determined,” said

Enda Kenny.

— Here is the “working document” that

formed the basis of March’s summit

discussion, effectively a draft of what EU27

leaders plan to declare in Rome on March

25 on life after Brexit. The most contentious

point in the document is toward the end

where it states that “we work together” but

“on the understanding that some of us can

move closer,” code for agreeing a multispeed

Europe.

European Parliament's chief Brexit negotiator Guy

Verhofstadt | Patrick Seeger/EPA

— Negotiators should allow British citizens to

keep their current EU rights, such as freedom

of movement and voting in European

elections — if citizens request them on an

individual basis, the European Parliament’s

chief Brexit negotiator Guy Verhofstadt said

today. He also poured cold water on the idea

Bad luck of the Irish

Bavarian friends for Britain?

INSIGHT

SNICKERS DANGER

that Britain could make a clean break from

the bloc within two years.

— Britain is facing a £700 million-a-year tax

shortfall by 2020-2021 because of Brexit’s

impact on the wage growth of the top 10

percent of earners in business and financial

services, according to the independent

Office for Budget Responsibility.

— The U.K.’s post-Brexit trade deal with

the EU could take more than a decade to

conclude, Danish Foreign Minister Anders

Samuelsen said. “The question is, can we

do it in two years or will we take 15 years?

We don’t know.” Asked about Samuelsen’s

comments at the EU summit in Brussels,

Theresa May said she’s still working to a twoyear

deadline.

— Global food giant Mars has warned that

a hard Brexit would increase the prices

of its products and put jobs at risk. Fiona

Dawson, president of global food, drinks and

multisales, said in a speech to the American

Chamber of Commerce to the European

Union this morning that the cost of trade

barriers would inevitably flow through to

consumers and threaten the company’s

Europe-wide supply chain. Mars makes

Snickers, Maltesers and Uncle Ben’s, and

employs more than 18,000 people across

Europe, including 3,800 in the U.K.

Behind the scenes in the Bundestag, one

conservative politician is pulling strings

to make sure the interests of German

lawmakers are heard once the time comes

to discuss Britain’s future relationship with

the EU.

Germany’s former Interior Minister Hans-

Peter Friedrich, a 59-year-old Bavarian,

leads a new Brexit working group of

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian

Democrats (CDU) and their Bavarian sister

party, his Christian Social Union (CSU).

The conservative bloc of CDU and CSU

is by far the largest group in the German

parliament, holding almost half of all seats.

Under German law the national parliament

will have to ratify any deal covering

Britain’s relationship with the rest of the

EU once it has left the bloc.

The working group’s guest list reads like a

who’s who of Brexit negotiation VIPs. At

their first closed-door meeting in February,

Uwe Corsepius, Merkel’s chief adviser on

European affairs, and Christian Calliess,

legal adviser to the European Commission,

came in. On Wednesday, Elmar Brok,

former chair of the European Parliament’s

Foreign Affairs Committee, and British

Ambassador Sebastian Wood showed up

for their second meeting. The plan for the

next session in early April is to bring in a

high-ranking member of the Commission’s

Brexit task force.

The goal of these early discussions is to

speak with one voice as a conservative

group, Friedrich said, though such sessions

have the added benefit of signaling that

the lawmakers are not willing to hand over

the most important parts of the Brexit

negotiations to unelected sherpas in the

chancellory in Berlin and the Commission

in Brussels.

“We certainly don’t want to imply that

the German government and its civil

servants have no idea about the needs

of people,” Friedrich stressed, “but as

parliamentarians, we were elected to

clearly formulate those interests, and not

leave anything to chance.”

It’s an open secret in Berlin that the

U.K. hopes to find allies among Merkel’s

conservatives, who traditionally have

close ties with the car industry — one of

Germany’s biggest exporters to the U.K.

— and particularly in Bavaria, where trade

relations with the U.K. are especially close.

“Of course, Bavaria has a great interest

in reaching an amicable settlement,”

Friedrich admitted on Thursday, “But it’s

not just Bavaria, it’s all of Germany, and

essentially all of Europe, who has this

interest. We need the Brits, for example,

when it comes to security or making sure

that the flow of goods and trade runs

smoothly between the U.K. and the EU.”

Brexit Files is compiled by Paul Dallison and

Sanya Khetani-Shah. Insight is compiled by

Janosch Delcker. MBR

Credit: POLITICO SPRL

24


Malta Business Review

ICT

Choosing the right software

implementation partner can

make or break your project –

and your bank

Choosing the right software implementation

partner can make or break your project –

and your bank

Business software projects are often

complex and require a high degree of

commitment from both the customer

and supplier – commitment to effort and

commitment to change.

This is an area of Information Technology

that is full of failed projects and of projects

which fall short of meeting customer

objectives. In fact, a recent CIO survey

placed the level of customer satisfaction

with ERP and CRM projects at the very

lowest levels of all IT projects.

In this area, Computime Software enjoys

a consistently high customer satisfaction

rating, with 96% of our clients saying that

Computime exceeds their expectations,

while 99% would recommend Computime

to their peers. Computime have a positive

track record of 35+ years in successful

BY DARREN SAMMUT

business software implementations and

software development projects, and our

philosophy is to be completely transparent

with our clients from day one to completion,

ensuring they understand the amount of

time, effort, and cost required to implement

a successful software project.

We employ an experienced and multidisciplined

team of experts, including

technology specialists to ensure that the

system is built using technology that is fit

for purpose, performs well, and integrates

into the customer's environment – but

also usability experts to ensure that the

software is easy-to-use by non-technical

users, business experts who are able to

interface with the customer's business

users to ensure that the customer's

business objectives are met, and finally

project managers who oversee the whole

process and work together with our

account manager and the customer to keep

the project on track.

We utilise cutting edge technologies

developed by our R&D team or from

leading vendors to make maximum use of

the various platforms which are available

nowadays to everyone, such as the internet

and mobile devices. At the same time we

provide choices – for example if a customer

prefers to run their solution from a more

traditional on-premises server as opposed

to a cloud-based solution, then this can also

be easily achieved.

We firmly believe that most projects should

deliver value in stages, and expecting a

project to meet all objectives in one single

‘big bang’ is often a recipe for failure, as

this approach puts a massive burden on

both the customer and the implementation

team.

As a result, we normally recommend

focusing initially on delivering a few small,

but measurable objectives, together with

the customer ensuring these are met, and

then moving onto subsequent phases,

always at the customer’s pace. Apart from

everything else, customers are usually

consumed with their day-to-day tasks, so

planning a project in bite-sized phases is

very often a preferred option.

The customer engagement process that

we adopt starts with our first meeting

and builds one layer at a time, always with

the objective of delivering the maximum

benefit at minimal risk and cost to the

customer.

While we borrow from standard

methodologies such as PRINCE II and

Agile, we strive to ensure that our primary

approach is pragmatic, not overly formal,

and above all fit for purpose.

Learn more about Computime Software:

www.computimesoftware.com.

Email us info@computimesoftware.com or

call us +356 2149 0700. MBR

EDITOR’S

Note

Darren Sammut

Operations Manager,

Computime Software

Darren has been working in IT for 12 years.

He joined Computime in 2008 and has

held roles in Quality Assurance, Project

Management, and Operations Management.

Darren has led projects in Oil & Gas,

Banking, Telecommunications, iGaming, and

many other industries. Currently, Darren is

responsible for the delivery of all Computime

Software projects.

26


Malta Business Review

TOP STORY: MIDDLE EAST PEACE

ISRAEL AND PALESTINE

HOPES FOR A LASTING PEACE IN THE REGION?

THE EU AND THE MIDDLE

EAST PEACE PROCESS

UNRWA CHIEF ON GAZA:

"WE'RE ESSENTIALLY TALKING

ABOUT A TIME BOMB"

A lasting peace between Israel and Palestine

remains a priority for the European Union. In

September 2015 MEPs called for a fresh EU

approach to the Israel-Palestine conflict and for

the resumption of credible peace efforts without

delay. They also stressed the importance of

preserving the viability of the two-state solution.

In December 2014 MEPs voted overwhelmingly

in support of the "in principle recognition of

Palestinian statehood".

The resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict is of

fundamental interest to the EU, believing that

the best outcome would be a two-state solution

with an independent, democratic, viable and

contiguous Palestinian state living side-by-side in

peace and security with Israel. MBR

ISRAELI PRESIDENT CALLS ON

MEPS TO HELP BUILD TRUST

IN THE MIDDLE EAST

“The elected Israeli leadership has been and is in

support of two states for two peoples solution”,

President of the State of Israel Reuven Rivlin, told

MEPs on Wednesday. However “at this time, a

permanent agreement for peace between us and

Palestinians cannot be achieved”, he added, calling

on EU to help build trust between the parties. MBR

VOTE: SHOULD PALESTINE BE

RECOGNISED AS A STATE?

Sweden recently became the first EU country in

Western Europe to recognise Palestine as a state.

Today MEPs will vote on a resolution calling for

Palestine to be recognised as a state. Would such

a move help defuse violence in the region? We

discussed it with Martina Anderson (GUE/NGL,

UK), chair of the delegation for relations with

the Palestinian Legislative Council, and Fulvio

Martusciello (EPP, Italy), chair of the delegation for

relations with Israel. MBR

The hostilities in the Middle East also affect the five

million Palestine refugees living throughout Jordan,

Syria, Lebanon and the Palestinian Territories, with

a risk of radicalisation as the region becomes more

unstable. Pierre Krähenbühl, the commissionergeneral

of the United Nations Relief and Works

Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East

(UNRWA), issued the warning when he addressed

the EP's foreign affairs committee on 2 March. He

also said the EU had a crucial role to play. MBR

EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT

RESOLUTION ON RECOGNITION

OF PALESTINE STATEHOOD

The European Parliament supports "in principle

recognition of Palestinian statehood and the two

state solution, and believes these should go hand

in hand with the development of peace talks,

which should be advanced", it says in a resolution

passed on Wednesday. To support EU diplomatic

efforts in the Middle East peace process, it also

decided to launch a “Parliamentarians for Peace”

initiative to bring together MEPs and MPs from the

Israeli and Palestinian parliaments. MBR

Palestinian President puts his

state’s case to MEPs

“It is time for our people to live in freedom,

without walls and checkpoints”, urged President

of the Palestinian National Authority Mahmoud

Abbas in his address to MEPs on Thursday. He

conveyed his people’s gratitude to the European

Parliament for recognising a State of Palestine

and criticised Israel for pursuing its occupation of

Palestinian territories. MBR

Lebanon: better EU resettlement

tools needed to help the country

deal with refugee crisis

From Syrian refugees on their way to being

resettled to Europe to Palestine refugees who have

been living in camps for years: members from the

civil liberties committee delegation got to speak

to many different people during their fact-finding

mission to Lebanon on 19-22 September. They

were there to assess the situation to help prepare

future rules on the resettlement of refugees. They

also spoke to representatives of local NGOs and

large international organisations. MBR

PALESTINE PRESIDENT

MAHMOUD ABBAS VISITS THE

EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT

Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas visited the

European Parliament in Brussels on 12 February

where he was welcomed by EP President Martin

Schulz. They had a meeting during which they

discussed developments affecting the Middle East

peace process. MBR

NABIL EL ARABY: "THE EU IS

LOOKED UPON BY MANY AS

THE CONSCIENCE OF MANKIND

TODAY"

Following the Paris attacks the secretary-general

of the Arab League has urged greater cooperation

between it and the EU to counter extremism.

Addressing Parliament's foreign affairs committee

on 20 January Nabil El Araby said "the problems

we face now are of universal character and are

not confined to one place." He outlined how the

Arab world looks upon Europe and said that "the

European Union has been to the forefront of all

just causes." MBR

28


MOTORING

Malta Business Review

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surfaces and coupé-like window lines

characterise the exterior of the A-Class. With

a new, more arrow-shaped front bumper, new

LED High Performance headlamps and modified

tail lights, the new generation emphasises the

sportiness and dynamism of the successful

compact-class model series.

Countless possibilities are available to make the

A-Class your own; from small details that add

special touches, to comfort features which until

recently were only reserved for the luxury segment.

In fact the A-Class is the first Mercedes-Benz

model to be available

with comprehensive

smartphone integration

- the Apple® CarPlay®

(for iPhone® owners)

and MirrorLink®

infotainment systems

(optional extras). Now

available at €29,700

including a free 5 year

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The A Class

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For more information or for a test drive kindly contact the

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www.mbrpublications.net

29


Malta Business Review

SPECIAL REPORT: PALAEONTOLOGY

ANCIENT REPTILE MYSTERY

SOLVED AS TWO EXTINCT SPECIES FOUND

TO BE THE SAME

Dean Lomax & Judy Massare examining

ichthyosaurs at London Natural History Museum

Artwork with 'bait ball' Ichthyosaur (c) Julio Lacerda

Artwork with 'bait ball' Ichthyosaur (c) Julio Lacerda

Ichthyosaurs, which are similar-shaped to

dolphins and sharks, but are reptiles, swam

the seas for millions of years during the

Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous periods. They

were the first, large extinct reptiles brought to

the attention of the scientific world.

Dean Lomax, a palaeontologist and Honorary

Scientist at The University of Manchester,

working with Professor Judy Massare of

Brockport College, New York, have studied

thousands of ichthyosaur fossils and have

delved through hundreds of years of records

to solve an ancient mystery.

Many ichthyosaur fossils were found in

England during the early 19th century, but it

was not until 1821 that the first ichthyosaur

species was described - called Ichthyosaurus

communis. This species has become one of

the most well-known and iconic of all the

British fossil reptiles. A sea of Ichthyosaurus

fossils can be seen on display at the Natural

History Museum, London.

In 1822, three other species were described,

based on differences in the shape and

structure of their teeth. Two of the species

were later re-identified as other types of

ichthyosaur, whereas one of these species,

called Ichthyosaurus intermedius, was still

considered closely related to I. communis.

In the years that followed, many eminent

scientists, including Sir Richard Owen (the

man who coined the word dinosaur), studied

ichthyosaur fossils collected from Dorset,

Somerset, Yorkshire and other locations in

England. Their studies and observations of

Ichthyosaurus communis and I. intermedius

resulted in confusion with the species, with

many skeletons identified on unreliable

grounds.

Lomax said, “The early accounts of

ichthyosaurs were based on very scrappy,

often isolated, remains. This resulted in a

very poor understanding of the differences

between species and thus how to identify

them. To complicate matters further, the

original specimen of Ichthyosaurus communis

is lost and was never illustrated. Similarly, the

original specimen of I. intermedius is also lost,

but an illustration does exist. This has caused

a big headache for palaeontologists trying

to understand the differences between the

species”.

In the mid-1970s, palaeontologist, Dr Chris

McGowan was the first to suggest that

Ichthyosaurus communis and I. intermedius

may represent the same species. He could

not find reliable evidence to separate the two

species. Subsequent studies argued for and

against the separation of the species.

In this new study, the duo have reviewed all

of the research for and against the separation

of the two species. This is the most extensive

scientific study ever published comparing

the two. The duo confirm the species are

the same and that features of Ichthyosaurus

intermedius can be found in other ichthyosaur

species, including I. communis.

In recent years, the duo have described

three new species and have provided a

reassessment of historical species. Their work

has provided a far superior understanding of

the species than has ever been produced.

The research has been published in Journal of

Systematic Palaeontology. MBR

Creditline: Taylor & Francis Group

To read the full article please visit: www.tandfonline.

com/doi/full/10.1080/14772019.2017.1291116

Author

ABOUT THE

Dean Lomax is a

multiple award-winning

palaeontologist, science

communicator and author.

He has travelled around the

world and worked on many

fascinating projects from excavating dinosaurs

in the American West to discovering new fossil

hunting locations and describing new species of

extinct marine reptiles in the UK. An Honorary

Scientist at The University of Manchester,

Dean is passionate about communicating

palaeontology and actively engages with

traditional and social media. He has written

two books, numerous scientific papers and

many popular articles and regularly appears on

television, most recently as series advisor and

recurring on-screen expert presenter for ITV’s

Dinosaur Britain. Dean is also the patron of the

UK Amateur Fossil Hunters organisation.

30


MALTA

BUSINESS REVIEW

SPECIAL FEATURE: iGAMING SERIES

iGAMING SPECIAL FEATURE

HELPING CREATIVE PEOPLE ACHIEVE EXCELLENCE

THE EMPLOYMENT BRANDING TOUR

33

34

36

Leo Vegas - The Lion's Den

We find out why LeoVegas runs Europe’s fastest and most

user-friendly mobile gaming platform

The Employment Branding Tour: Catena Media

Jackie Porsche writes about the most successful online

lead generation companies within the iGaming industry

Excellent Networking for BTOBET in Georgia

We follow the multinational igaming software provider

BtoBet in the Georgia Gaming Congress in Tbilisi


Malta Business Review

SPECIAL FEATURE: iGAMING SERIES

A company is as good as its people

by Jackie Porsche

NetRefer is the global leader in the provision

of Performance Marketing. Established in

2005, NetRefer provides the most complete

and trusted ‘Performance Marketing’

platform in iGaming and other verticals.

The system is constantly developed and

innovated in order to create a platform that

unifies the activities of partners, customers

and employees through a single universal

measure in order to measure and manage

marketing costs. By the end of 2016 the

Customer Satisfaction Index (CSAT) was

registered at 90%+. In relation to NetRefer’s

customer service they have won multiple

awards during 2016 including 3 Stevie’s

and other recognitions. NetRefer created

a culture that supports the delivery of

high quality customer service within the

business.

As the saying goes, ‘A company is as good

as its people’. Employees at NetRefer are

considered as the beating heart of the

Business. Their highly successful workforce

is made up of highly motivated individuals

who place clients at the heart of everything

they do. The company philosophy focuses

around attracting and retaining a strong

pool of diverse talent who can add value

to clients and the organisation. Timothy

Buttigieg, the COO, remarked that NetRefer

takes great pride in supporting its staff

members realise their career aspirations

through empowerment and clear career

development plans. ‘Our culture is one

that supports diversity, high performance,

inspirational leadership, knowledge sharing,

learning and growth’. All this ensures that

the business is structured to succeed today

and can evolve dynamically into the future.

Apart from having a successful client

facing organisation, the employee value

proposition is just awesome! Employee

ideas are embraced and they are

empowered to be part of the NetRefer

success story. Throughout my discussion

with Timothy and Rianne Falzon, the HR

Manager, it was quite evident that the

organisation is after giving its workforce

a safeguarded and flexible environment

to work in. Such initiatives include a work

from home policy to support family friendly

measures and to give the opportunity for

every employee to work close to their

loved ones or in the comfort of their own

preferred space.

Group CEO, Raphael Arnold is a true

believer and an evangelist of Maltese

talent. His vision is to invest in the Maltese

people and to create a secure working

environment where people can learn,

grow and share their ideas. This will in turn

empower them towards contributing to the

success of the business as well as towards

the accomplishments of their professional

career. NetRefer’s workforce split is 70%

Maltese versus 30% International. This

organisation is a national award winner!

The more we go, the more NetRefer

will consolidate and stabilise its self as

a premium employer, now also making

part of the Microsoft ‘Hi-Potential’ client

programme whilst Investing in ultimate

cutting edge technologies. One of the

organisation top values is investing in

people’s training with the ‘NetRefer

Academy’ being their most recent project

- An online learning platform where

employees can learn on new products,

processes and systems with the support of

a virtual learning environment.

Timothy Buttigieg – ‘NetRefer

provides Unified Performance

Marketing which empowers

our clients to consistently

outplay their competitors’.

Employee investment is KEY. NetRefer

offers its hard working organisation;

annual company bonuses; salary increases

based on individual performance; career

development plans to support and retain

talent in the business; training; knowledge

share sessions; fully equipped multimedia

training rooms; and above all an open

door policy.

Additionally, ongoing benefits are a

given. Free Friday lunch; fresh fruit; gym

membership; health insurance; team

events; referral bonuses and a recreational

zone comprising of table games & board

games are some of the great initiatives

one would come across.

Without a shadow of a doubt, this is one

of those organisations with huge employer

branding value, utilising smart methods to

retain their talent internally. Furthermore,

being a Maltese managed success story

makes me very proud! Way to go team

NetRefer!! MBR

32


SPECIAL FEATURE: iGAMING SERIES

Malta Business Review

LEO VEGAS

by Jackie Porsche

My first impressions upon

walking through the front

door just lived up to their

expectations. Numerous soft toy lions

are placed everywhere in an office which

cannot even be described by the words

UBER cool. Hosted by Frida Svensson, the

Head of HR and Roderick Spiteri Schillig,

Head of Communications I was toured

around what may be described as a forwardlooking

organisation in every aspect.

LeoVegas runs Europe’s fastest and most

user-friendly mobile gaming platform

offering 700+ casino games, the world’s

largest suite of live casino entertainment

in HD and their all new sportsbook. With

cutting edge technology, innovative data,

and a strong entrepreneurial management

and team spirit, LeoVegas is recognised as

an employer of choice within the iGaming

industry.

At LeoVegas, the most valued resource is

their Lions – often referred to as ‘staff’ in

other organisations. They currently have a

strong team of 250+ people in the Malta

office. The organisation places its people

at the core of its operation, and not viceversa;

they believe that LeoVegas is defined

by the great people it is made up of.

The working environment is both fun and

efficiency-driven through a fine balance

between working and recreational areas,

including multiple terraces with almost

360 degrees of stunning Sliema front sea

views. LeoVegas is considered to be a

young entertainment company (with the

average age being less than 30 years) and

whilst professionalism is a key component

in everything they do, they also value a

fun and friendly culture instilled between

employees and also with their customers.

Working at LeoVegas means

that you wake up to a roaring

morning, every morning. Our

vision is to create the greatest

gaming experience and be

number one in mobile gaming

Roderick Spiteri Schillig

The internal culture cherishes the

entrepreneurial spirit that permeates

throughout the organisation. One can

also experience the ‘start-up’ vibe where

decisions convert into fast delivery results.

The fusion of internal talent mixed with a

culture promoting personal responsibility

to reach shared goals works wonders.

The organisation does not fall short from

offering opportunities to employees to

improve their skills and to better their

position within the organisation. Recently

they have been able to provide many

opportunities to their employees and

many have progressed up the success

ladder. Make no mistake, a career at

LeoVegas requires hard work which is duly

recognised internally. So much so, that the

reputation within the iGaming industry in

Malta is that LeoVegas is a fun company

to work for.

The lions proudly offer some of the best

employee benefits in Malta including

fully paid private health insurance, sports

allowances, fitness classes, a healthy snack

bar that is always packed with free snacks

and a scrumptious breakfast every Friday.

Fun and adventurous staff events are

organised throughout the year.

LeoVegas works hard to keep their people

happy, healthy and fit by providing a fun and

flexible yet focused working environment.

An internal survey shows that a whopping

90% of the workforce would recommend

a career at LeoVegas to their family and

friends. This survey corroborates their

Glassdoor account (social platform for

employees to anonymously write about

employers) in which current and past

employees gave LeoVegas an overall 4.6

(out of 5) stars and 100% of them would

recommend them to a friend.

Absolutely WOWED! *****

MBR

ABOUT THE

Authors

Roderick Spiteri Schillig, Head of

Communications, Leo Vegas together with

an MBR Specialist, Jackie Porsche.

www.mbrpublications.net

33


Malta Business Review

SPECIAL FEATURE: iGAMING SERIES

The

Employer

Branding

Tour

by Jackie Porsche

2017

Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4

220

employees

speaking

+28

languges

representing

33

countries

Jenny Arnell: “We encourage

employees to come and do

what they enjoy doing best

rather than just work.”

Damien Azzopardi: “Our

core values are curiosity,

professionalism and passion –

and we live those values each

day through both our work

and our people.”

Catena Media sprouted in 2012

from a shared hobby between two

childhood friends. Since then, it

has rapidly expanded to become one of

the most successful online lead generation

companies within the iGaming industry,

consistently expanding into new markets,

and acquiring an ever-growing portfolio of

innovative websites.

Catena Media customers have a wide

array of sites to choose from in multiple

languages, all providing customers with the

information they need to make confident

decisions when choosing an online casino

or sportsbook of their choice.

I was invited over to Catena Media’s office

for lunch by Jenny Arnell, Fiona Ewins

Brown and Damien Azzopardi, who are

core members of the HR team at Catena

Media.

At first, I thought we would be going for

lunch somewhere closeby to discuss

their employer branding structure and

initiatives, followed by an office tour.

But hey, I was totally wrong – I enjoyed

a delicious lunch prepared by Catena

Media’s very own professional chef.

Each day, Catena Media’s chef provides the

company’s staff with a spread of options

for meat-lovers, pasta fanatics, health

evangelists and vegans. How cool is that?

I was then given a tour of the office’s

four floors – and instantly I could feel and

understand there’s a considerable amount

of growth going on within the organisation,

which is reflected in the way the offices are

structured and its high amount of people

traffic in corridors and between floors. The

vibe is great and on the rise!

And that buzzing vibe is about to be

taken to another level with the upcoming

opening of Catena Media’s new

headquarters in Gzira. The new office is

set to be one of the most modern of its

kind on the island, with large open spaces

for both work and play for the company’s

ever-expanding workforce to enjoy.

Catena’s workforce grew from 70

employees in 2015 to over 220 employees

in Q1, 2017, with employees currently

representing 33 countries and speaking

over 28 languages.

Management recognises its workforce as

its biggest asset, and says it’s the prime

success factor of the company. Diverse,

creative and innovative people holding

an ‘outside the box’ mentality is what the

organisation promotes in order to deliver

the best solutions for their clients.

The organisation preaches that creativity,

passion and inspiration are sparked by a fun,

collaborative and supportive environment.

The culture strongly encourages its

workforce to keep a curious and open mind

to constantly improve the status quo at all

times. Employees are heartened to push

beyond their boundaries, to collaborate,

and to think creatively and innovatively –

and to not fear failure while trying.

Keeping employees’ spirits and fitness levels

high is at the pinnacle of the organisation’s

priority list, in conjunction with promoting

a healthy work-life balance. Each and every

Catena Media employee is offered private

health insurance, free exercise classes,

daily fresh fruit smoothies, and an annual

health benefit contribution.

Encouraging an active social life is also

important to Catena Media, and employees

are provided with regular opportunities to

unwind, socialise and get to know each

other in non-working environments. This

is achieved through regular company social

events and team-building activities.

The near future promises a very

proactive organisation from a company

HR perspective, with great focus being

given to employer branding across the

group’s offices. While keeping up with

organisational growth and delivering

improved company results, Catena Media

promises to be an employer brand champ

in the making. Would I work for this brand?

Absolutely! MBR

34


SPECIAL FEATURE: iGAMING SERIES

Malta Business Review

Online Casino Reports IS new partner in

Malta's iGaming Excellence Awards 2017

Malta's iGaming Excellence Awards 2017

(MiGEA) are pleased to announce that

ONLINE CASINO REPORTS as their newest

Media Partner.

As we move along, our partners, sponsors,

nominees and all participants will be

receiving updates and e-newsles in the

following days!

The press release revealed the four

“special offers” available to these with our

new media partner:

• A dedicated page to the MiGEA

with a link and image that we have

provided has been launched by

Online Casino events directory: Here

is our dedicated page for the event:

http://www.onlinecasinoreports.

com/events/the-malta-internationaligaming-excellence-awards.php?q=3

• Online Casino Reports shall post

articles about the event before it

takes place, based on PRs/news that

our partners, nominees and sponsors

are free to send us send us (we usually

rewrite these, and in other cases

- share on our Facebook/Linkedin/

Twitter profiles) and posting. We can

also translate the news and post them

in different languages which you can

see on OCR list of local sites;

• Online Casino Reports also have social

media profiles (Twitter / Facebook

/ Linkedin) where we will push the

event.

Please visit our dedicated web page:

http://www.mbrpublications.net/

maltas-igaming-excellence-awards-

2017/?preview_id=2980&preview_

nonce=d5fad7a167&post_

format=standard&preview=true

Please make sure you keep an eye out for

more MiGEA-related news. If you have any

event related or PR material you wish to

post on all the above, please send them to:

martin@mbrevents.com

An acknowledgement and online link will

be sent in reply.

We thank you for your firm support and

trust. MBR

By Martin Vella

EnergyBet

withdraws from

Polish MarkeT

It is with great disappointment that

EnergyBet announces it will be

withdrawing from the Polish market. In

step with many other online international

gambling services, EnergyBet will be

ceasing to offer services to customers in

Poland, effective as of April 1st 2017.

EnergyBet management have been

watching developments regarding

regulations in Poland closely for some

time, and had hoped that the Polish

government would listen to the advice of

the European Union and other authorities.

Sadly, however, this was not the case,

and the new highly restrictive and

hostile regulatory environment has made

continued operations unviable.

EnergyBet CEO Marcin Sapinski explained

“The Polish market has always been

very important to us, and we share the

frustration of Polish customers. We will

continue to monitor developments, with

the aim of returning to the Polish market if

things change. In the meantime, we would

like to thank our Polish customers for their

understanding.”

EnergyBet will cease to direct advertising

or promotions to the Polish market,

and all EnergyBet affiliate partners have

been instructed to remove advertising

and promotions aimed at the Polish

market, before April 1st 2017. Accounts

for all Polish residents will be closed

and any balances returned, with bets

placed before the cut-off date being

honoured. The decision to cease offering

EnergyBet services to customers is Poland

was not taken lightly, and any resulting

inconvenience and disappointment is very

much regretted. MBR

www.mbrpublications.net

35


Malta Business Review

SPECIAL FEATURE: iGAMING SERIES

EXCELLENT NETWORKING

FOR BTOBET IN GEORGIA

During the Georgia Gaming Congress in

Tbilisi, the multinational igaming software

provider BtoBet has met online and landbased

Sports betting and Casino operators

wishing to operate an advanced, modern

and technological platform to develop

their business, and speed up revenues and

operations in the evolving Eastern European

regulatory framework.

In the new regulated markets expanding in

Eastern Europe, such as the Czech Republic,

Slovakia, Poland and Romania, amongst

others, operators need the innovative

and clever omnichannel platform with

multi-currency and multi-jurisdiction

characteristics, to administer their business

seamlessly, land-based, online and mobile.

In a farsighted perspective, operators

of these countries have to be quick and

grasp the opportunity offered by the nextgeneration

technology to run the evolution

of physical bet-shops into intelligent shops

via a single channel, integrating web and

physical stores by giving the opportunity to

better understand players.

BtoBet’s CEO, Kostandina Zafirovska

highlighted:

Attendees had the possibility to discover

BtoBet’s next-level Sportsbook and Casino

solutions, based on Artificial intelligence

which benefit from the offers of the main

leading supplier of sports betting content

and 1000s of different games for casino

players. The ultimate trading and risk

management feature of the company’s

solution, which is also geo-customizable,

allows operators worldwide to minimise

potential risks, ensuring maximum efficiency

and safety. Attendees had the possibility to

discover BtoBet’s next-level Sportsbook

and Casino solutions, based on Artificial

intelligence which benefit from the offers of

the main leading supplier of sports betting

content and 1000s of different games for

casino players. The ultimate trading and

risk management feature of the company’s

solution, which is also geo-customizable,

allows operators worldwide to minimise

potential risks, ensuring maximum efficiency

and safety.

Commenting on the transformation of

player expectations and new perspectives

Kostandina Zafirovska BtoBet CEO

to attract and retain East European players

and bettors, Kostandina added:

“AR is appealing to a greater number

of customers combining entertainment

and technology for seamless marketing

strategies. The AR through the mobile

app allows operators to open a direct and

interactive communication with players,

providing ultimate and peerless services

(compared to retail) driving offers according

to player’s interests, creating attractive

rewards and interactive communication

experiences. For example, a Virtual Avatar

can replace the static communication via

Sms - and email - in a more emotional and

advanced way; the Bonus Hunting – apart

from the 1 to 1 bonus delivery in Augmented

reality - becomes a powerful unconventional

marketing tool to promote the brand and

push street players to play mobile and

land-based; Odds comparison in AR can

become an innovative instrument instead

of expensive traditional media campaigns.”

After Georgia Gaming Congress, BtoBet will

showcase its AI igaming and sportsbook

omnichannel platform at Enada Primavera

and VIGE, in Rimini (15-17th March) and

Vienna (20-22 March) respectively. MBR

CORPORATE

Brief

BtoBet is a pioneer in new technologies for

iGaming operators and the betting industry

by using technological intelligence as its

main base for its products. It offers unique,

customizable, secure and flexible cloudbased

systems delivering unprecedented

capabilities to drive sportsbook and

iGaming business. BtoBet has 13 offices.

The Technical team of the company is in

Skopje and has an ever growing team of

developers. BtoBet’s dynamic Sportsbook

team operates from Rome, whilst Malta

hosts the commercial and marketing

centre. Visit our site on: www.btobet.com

36


SPECIAL FEATURE: iGAMING SERIES

Malta Business Review

LVbet

Supports

International

Womens’ Day

and FORWARD

LVbet is proud to announce its support of International Women’s

Day (8th March), by donating a percentage of player deposits

to FORWARD (Foundation for Women's Health Research and

Development). 10% of all player deposits on a special promotion,

running from Friday 3rd to Wednesday 8th March, will be donated

to the charity.

FORWARD is working to safeguard and promote the rights of girls

and women across Africa, through partnerships in the UK, Europe

and Africa. Particular focus is placed on tackling discriminatory

practices that affect female health and dignity, especial female

genital mutilations (FGM), child marriage and obstetric fistula.

LVbet PR Manager, Simona Pinterova explained “The team at LVbet

is a vibrant mix of sexes, nationalities and ages, and respect and

equality are central to the workplace ethos – so the issues tackled

by FORWARD strike a chord with our team, and we are delighted to

be able to do something to help change lives for the better.”

The specific promotion is offering LVbet customers a 25% Reload

Bonus up to €200 + up to 200 Free Spins on popular slot game

Fairytale Legends: Red Riding Hood - and LVbet will donate 10% of all

deposits made using the bonus. As expected, LVbet customers have

stepped up and embraced this great cause. LVbet will be announcing

the total to be donated after the offer has finished.

More information about FORWARD can be found at

forwarduk.org.uk

MBR

www.mbrpublications.net

37


MBR Publications Limited

PRESENTS

Maltaʼs iGAMING EXCELLENCE AWARDS 2017

Helping Creative People Achieve Excellence

Corinthia Palace Hotel & Spa, San Anton, Malta | Friday 5 th May, 2017

In Collaboration with:

SIMON

ESTATES

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT

Margaret Brincat M: 9940 6743 E: margaret@mbrpublications.net


CORPORATE INTERVIEW OF THE MONTH

Malta Business Review

Paragon Europe

with an active role during

Malta’s EU Presidency

Paragon Europe’s vision is to positively change our world for the better by assisting

local and European regional stakeholders in sourcing EU funding to implement

EU projects, bringing professional excellence to bear on behalf of the community.

Paragon’s commitment to excellence is now being extended to Malta’s EU Presidency

with a calendar of conferences to be held over the coming months as part of Malta’s

official EU Presidency. EDWIN WARD, Chairman of Paragon Europe speaks to the

Malta Business Review about these forthcoming events.

What does Paragon Europe’s active

involvement in the EU Presidency mean

to you?

For most of us, the thought of tiny Malta

chairing the EU Presidency was a distant

notion, a quasi-impossible idea to even

imagine, let alone experience! And yet,

here we are today, living a historic moment

for our country, witnessing a milestone

achievement for the nation as Europe’s de

facto leaders. This will mean nothing if we

as citizens do not do our part. We are being

called to become protagonists through

active participation by understanding

the challenges, the threats and the

opportunities that lie ahead and together,

to find solutions for us all, and for the next

generations. Perhaps this explains why I am

so proud to Chair a pro-active company like

Paragon Europe at this point in time.

How does this fall within Paragon’s

mission?

Paragon Europe always understood and

embraced the immeasurable opportunities

that EU accession would bring to Malta and

through the vision of Dr. Anton Theuma,

Paragon’s founder, we wanted to grasp

these opportunities to help those with a

mission to bring change in their community.

Through dedication, hard work, innovation

and a lot of travel, Paragon Europe today is

a Maltese company with the professional

will and integrity to contribute both in Malta

and in Europe, to the objectives of the EU

Social Agenda and the ‘headline targets’ of

the Europe 2020 Strategy.

More tangibly, how does Paragon plan to

bring more value to Malta’s EU Presidency?

We started asking ourselves “what can we

as Paragon bring to Malta at this very special

moment in time? How could we leverage

our years of experience in important areas

such as Education and Training, Sustainable

Development and Environment, Energy,

Climate, Transport and Water, Cultural

Heritage and Tourism, Social Inclusion, ICT,

Innovation and Entrepreneurship?” It ws

here that we decided that Paragon Europe

should adopt an active role by doing what

it does best: building collaboration with our

networks and together with them address

some very important issues concerning

Corporate Governance, Climate Change,

Transport, Energy, Innovation Funding,

Intrapreneurship and Unemployment

through a series of milestone conferences.

Will you be tackling any specific subjects

or sectors?

We are looking at the main three priorities

of Malta’s Presidency namely the

Mediterranean, Maritime and Migration.

In line with our mission, we will be

delivering excellence through high-profile

conferences with world-class speakers on

Corporate Governance, Circular Economy,

Urbanisation, Access to Finance and more,

bringing together key stakeholders from

national governments, corporate and civil

society.

The first conference will be the 20th

European Corporate Governance.

Yes, the 20th European Corporate

Governance Conference will be held on May

4th and will be Europe’s most important

corporate governance conference this year.

It will be hosted on behalf of the Institute

of Directors Malta Branch together with

ecoDa with the support of European

Issuers, Business Europe, EY EAME as a

major sponsor and DG Justice, endorsed

by the Ministry of Finance under the

auspices of the Malta Presidency of the

Council of the EU. It will explore corporate

governance as a tool for rebuilding trust,

generating shareholder value, redefining

the CSR debate while discussing recent

changes in corporate governance in the

global context in relation to digitalisation

processes as foreseen in DG Justice’s Green

Paper on Company Law which is expected

to go before the European Parliament in

November and thereafter apply across the

EU. More than 200 European Directors,

Chairmen, CEO’s and Non-Executives are

expected to attend supplemented by local

experts and Directors.

Edwin Ward, Chairman of Paragon Europe

And the second conference will tackle the

environment right?

Indeed. The second conference will be

led by Paragon Europe Executive Director

Dr. Nadia Theuma and the topic will be

specifically Towards a Zero Carbon Economy

in the Mediterranean and Beyond. This

conference will be organised in conjunction

with the EU’s Climate-KIC project and with

the support of the Maltese Ministry for

Sustainable Development, Environment

and Climate Change. This event will tackle

global warming and the fact that if climate

change is not mitigated, within the next 30

years Malta could be very different to how

we know it today. It will also discuss how

innovation will be playing an extremely

important role in confronting the challenges

of climate change and how challenge-led

innovation is confronting climate change.

How do these events build a stronger

context for Malta’s EU Presidency?

Malta’s EU Presidency is indisputably

happening at a very complex time for

EU integration. When one takes into

consideration the fact that Malta will be

the last Mediterranean country to hold the

Presidency before 2020, one understands

better how this is an opportunity for the

Mediterranean region. It is within this

context that Paragon Europe has found a

leading role to raise the profile of important

issues in this historic time for Malta.

For more information about these

forthcoming events and for a more active

collaboration with Paragon Europe, visit

www.paragonevents.eu MBR

www.mbrpublications.net

39


Malta Business Review

DIGITAL CURRENCY TRADING

The Biggest Major

Bitcoin Crashes in

the Last 10 Years

by Scarlett Anderson

Bitcoin underwent a lot of ups and downs

in its brief history and we have made a a

complete guide to bitcoin for those who

need a speedy update on the bitcoin

trading ecosphere. However for those

who are quite familiar with bitcoin, here

is our run down of major crashes during

the early years of this digital currency

experienced by Bitcoin traders. From the

first bitcoin transaction in which resulted

in the kick off the bitcoin blockchain on

January 3rd 2009; To the mull restriction

of bitcoin transaction by Chinese officials,

the journey taken by bitcoin is long going

and expanding.

An Overview on Bitcoin Trading

Bitcoin is undoubtedly the most popular

digital currency that is created and

stored online. The idea of Bitcoin was

a brainchild of Satoshi Nakamoto – a

gifted programmer. The main difference

between Bitcoin and physical currencies

is that Bitcoin can’t be mined (created)

in unlimited numbers. On the other

hand, central banks usually print their

local currencies in large quantity just

to settle their national debts etc. which

consequently results in widespread

inflation and other economic problems.

There are a number of choices available

for Bitcoin trading on margin. Let’s discuss

those options and explain some effective

means to forecast Bitcoin price. However,

before coming to our subject matter let

us warn everyone that trading Bitcoin on

margin can be extremely risky because of

its highly volatile nature. History shows

that Bitcoin has a capability to move

800$-900$ within 30 days – that’s the

level of its volatility. The given below chart

shows the highly volatile nature of this

crypto currency.

As opposed to major currency pairs that

hardly move 1% a day, Bitcoin can move

30% in a single day. If you are a good

trader then consider trading Bitcoins

without margin. However, we are aware

that because of high Bitcoin price not

everyone can afford trading Bitcoins

without margin so let’s discuss some

options for leveraged Bitcoin trading.

Below are some popular trading platforms

for leveraged Bitcoin trading;

BTC-E

BTC-E allows shorting of Bitcoin as well

as leveraged trading. Shorting of Bitcoin

means you can generate profits even

when the price of Bitcoin is falling. This

feature is particularly useful if you want

to hedge your long Bitcoin positions. The

Bulgarian exchange – BTC-E- offers worldfamous

Metatrader platform for Bitcoin

trading with leverage upto 1:3 and a small

fee of just 0.3% per side.

AVA Trade

AVA Trade is a popular forex broker that

allows leveraged Bitcoin trading through

CFDs. The broker offers two Bitcoin CFDs

that are Bitcoin Mini and Bitcoin Weekly.

Bitcoin mini has a leverage of 1:2 and

doesn’t expire while Bitcoin weekly has

a leverage of 1:20 and expires on every

Friday. Both CFD contracts use price feed

from BTC-E. AVA Trade adds mark up of

around $10 on spread.

MBR

40


DIGITAL CURRENCY TRADING

Malta Business Review

THE HISTORY OF

Major Bitcoin Crashes

January 3

2009

February 9

2011

June 19

2011

February 11

2012

March 1

2012

August 17

2012

April 10

2013

December 5

2013

December 5

2013

February 7

2014

February 21

2014

February 24

2014

March 26

2014

August 19

2015

November 3

2015

January 14

2016

August 2

2016

The first Bitcoin transaction record kicks off the Bitcoin

blockchain.

Bitcoin achieves parity with the U.S. Dollar.

Bitcoin crashes $3 within minutes to less than $16 after Mt.Gox

hacking.

Bitcoin nosedives $2 to almost $4 after Paxum stopped

accepting Bitcoin.

Bitcoin plunges to $4.89 after 46,000 Bitcoin were stolen in

Linode hacking.

Bitcoin plunges to $3 to less than $11 after Pirateat40 stopped

Bitcoin payments.

Bitcoin crashes $60 to just $122 as increased trading volume

disrupts Mt. Gox servers.

Bitcoin plunges $131 to $126 within minutes as Tradehill

announces closure.

Bitcoin nosedives $300 to $840 as China bans financial

instituations from using Bitcoin.

Bitcoin records $100-plunge as major exchanges experience

widespread DDOS attacks.

Bitcoin plunges $30 as Bitcoin miners and developers debate

block size.

Bitcoin plunges by almost $57 to $550 as Mt. Gox shuts

down.

Bitcoin plunges sharply by $150 to $453 as IRS declares

Bitcoin to be a property.

Bitcoin plunges $45 to $214 after the release of new client

software XT Fork.

Bitcoin fell by $50 to $334 as its sign was accepted into Unicode.

Bitcoin records $40 decline as Mike Hearn terms Bitcoin a

“Failure”.

Bitcoin crashes $175 to $198 after unknown hackers stole

18,866 bitcoins from Bitstamp.

January 5

2017 Bitcoin plunges 31% to $889 as Chinese

officials mull restriction of Bitcoin

transactions.

Source: © Investoo Group Ltd.

www.mbrpublications.net

41


Malta Business Review

BUSINESS

4 WAYS

to Become a

PAPERLESS

BUSINESS

By Laurie Leiker

Ever since the 1980s, we have been

dreaming of a world where we did

not need so much paper. But it

seems like there’s more paper being used

now than ever before. In every office, in

every city, people are printing out emails

and reports so they can read it and mark it

up, or, *gulp* “just to have.”

Our mailboxes are still jammed with

bills and letters. And not to mention the

number of catalogues and flyers you get in

the mail, both at home and in the office.

Companies are spending millions to print

paperwork- sharing it, filing it and then

shredding it so no one can get their hands

on it. What a waste.

Luckily, it’s never been easier to do the

responsible thing and use less paper. We’re

here to discuss four ways that PandaDoc

team can help your business cut your

paper use completely.

Use Technology to Reduce Your

Reliance on Cash

Sure it feels good to pull out a wad of bills

(even if they’re all 1’s) to pay for dinner, but

paper currency is a bit old-fashioned and

not exactly eco-friendly. Besides, using a

debit or credit card helps you keep track

of your expenses because most banks offer

free budget tracking to help you see where

your money goes. Almost all smartphones

have built-in payment functionality that

replaces your credit and debit cards, so you

can leave your bulky wallet at home. And

as an extra tip, PandaDoc can help your

customers embrace digital transactions

by accepting secure credit card payments

right inside your proposals, quotes, and

invoices.

Save Time, Money, and Trees with

Paperless Invoicing

Speaking of invoices, consider transitioning

away from sending paper bills to your

clients and sign up for paperless billing

from companies you work with. Going

paperless has helped thousands of our

own users improve their cash flow and

invoice tracking. Paperless invoices also

save you money and time you’d normally

spend printing, mailing, and following up

on paper invoices. As an added bonus,

you’ll likely reduce the clutter on your desk.

Join Us in the Cloud

Cloud services are the best thing for trees

since, well, water. It’s true you can’t hug

a cloud like you can a tree, but you can

embrace it. There are a wealth of cloud

storage options for today’s businesses, and

we’re proud to integrate with the best of

them, including Box, Google Drive, and

Dropbox.

We believe in cloud storage so much that

we’ve built it right into PandaDoc, making

it easy for you to store and organize your

digital documents without needing any

additional technologies. By leveraging

cloud storage in your business, you’ll

drastically reduce your reliance on paper,

saving money and countless trees in the

process.

Streamline Sales with Digital

Proposals

You don’t have to get down on one knee

to propose digitally. Think about the last

proposal you received - at least five pages

of important information that could just as

easily been sent digitally. With PandaDoc,

we’ve it easy to create, generate and sign

proposals and other business documents

faster than ever before. Digital proposals

not only save trees but also open the door

to a more efficient sales process.

Today’s technology makes it easy to reduce

your carbon footprint by using less paper.

We would know -- PandaDoc is the digital

document platform that more than 5,000

companies use to create, send, track, and

sign their digital documents every day.

To learn more about how you can clean

up your proposal process, download our

eBook: "Proposal Automation - Automate

Your Proposals Workflow with PandaDoc"

today. MBR

EDITOR’S

Note

Laurie is a contributing

author for Risr Marketing.

She’s a published author

and business coach,

specialising in the

appropriate and beneficial

use of technology in the

business world.

42


ARTS

Malta Business Review

It’s never too late...

to learn

review and photos by Olga Saliba

Chapel, 5070, Acrylic on canvas

Schooners in Marsalforn, 40x30cm, Watercolour

Mdina, 40x30cm, Watercolour

Malta landscape with Luzzu, 45x30cm, Oil on Canvas

Valletta, 120x70cm, Oil on canvas

Ludmila Skrivanek,

Art Exhibition, Corinthia Palace Hotel, 02/12/2016

L

udmila Skrivanek is Czech,

was born in 1974 in the USSR,

received two graduate degrees

in Economics and information systems/

technology, worked in the financial sphere

more than 20 years... in spite of such

serious no-nonsense speciality Ludmila

is very sociable, multiple talented person

and she has managed to combine love

to the economics with her other such

hobbies like painting, playing the piano,

sailing and even sports therapy! She never

stops learning! Ludmila is currently living

in Malta and working as an auditor for the

company Griffiths & Associates.

Her first art exhibition was held in

December 2016 in the Corinthia Palace

Hotel in Attard under the auspices of

Ray Piscopo. Painting in totally different

techniques and styles (class of Anastasia

Pace), Ludmila is not confined to one

subject, everything is interesting for her -

the urban landscape, architecture, marine

and even... icons...bright, “screaming”

colours, contrasts... almost all of the

paintings are potent as bright flashes,

they attract attention, not leaving anyone

indifferent, her pictures pass on the

message that she has something to say...

it can be said that Ludmila like most artists

is searching... whilst expressing herself...

experiences, dreams, fantasies, thoughts,

people, experiments... actually, she’s

not drawing, she is changing the living

space around her... MALTA is the sacred

place under the sun, symbolic place of

our world... she opened up on her own

private Malta, what changed her and

became a source of inspiration which she

has embodied in her works... What else to

add? Probably only... it’s never too late to

learn and there are no restrictions for one

to express oneself in art. MBR

www.mbrpublications.net

43


Malta Business Review

HIGHER EDUCATION

Committed

to Providing

the Best

Education

Learning

Experience

OUR MISSION

To enhance the level of Academic

training and Tuition of both pre and

post graduate levels by:

• Contributing actively towards the

propagation of equal opportunities

for all.

• Continually engaging in the pursuit

of excellence.

• Continually investing in its own

people.

• Striving to afford the best service to

all our clients.

• Establishing itself as a leader in the

international education field.

• Contributing towards the social

welfare of the community.

Learning a language or obtaining

an academic qualification is more

important than ever in the global

economy. eie Educational Group provide

students with a first-class educational

teaching and training service at a fair price.

Students ask for an excellent teaching

environment so that they quickly progress

through their course, but also that they will

want to enjoy themselves whilst studying.

At eie Educational Group, you will have a

fantastic studying experience. eie encourage

social interaction trough regular, fun and

varied leisure programmes, as this improves

a learning experience.

eie Educational Group, was established in

January 2000 and their success is built on

a long-standing commitment to the specific

needs of local and international students. eie

constantly expands its worldwide networks,

partners with established renowned

organisations, invests in its facilities and in

social commitments. The eie Educational

Group is redefining the landscape of modern

education.

The eie Educational Group aims to develop

the appropriate competencies and

knowledge needed in planning, evaluation,

research and development tasks in education

and related fields in the midst of societal

changes, both on local and global levels. This

network gives eie the key to be competitive

and to share the collective experience and

continuous professional development with

their cilients.

In a fast moving world, challenges are

demanding and change is constant.

Tomorrow’s future depends on today’s

knowledge.

Through its companies, the eie Educational

Group is able to offer the following services:

Academic programmes - Certificate,

Diploma, Bachelor, Master degrees

in various subjects for young and

mature adults are offered through

eie Institute of Education (Licensed

by the NCFHE as an institute of

Further and Higher Education –

License Number 2005-TC-001);

Training programmes - Business

courses, thematic seminars for

business excecutives offered trough

eie Mangement Centre;

English Language courses - English

courses at Beginner, Elementary, Pre-

Intermediate, Intermediate, Upper-

Intermediate, Business English and

Advanced levels are offered through

eie Languages Centre (Licensed by

the EFL Monitoring Board – License

Number 282/MB42)

Student Accommodation - Provision

of quality accommodation around

Malta ideal for students offered

through eie Residences

Internships – Organisation of

Work placement and Internships

for international students offered

through eie internships.

For more information about eie’s degree

programmes, English language courses

or other business related courses you can

e-mail at info@eie-group.com, phone on

+35621332804/5 MBR

44


Malta Business Review

eie educational group

COMMITMENT TO EXCELLENCE

The eie Educational Group

is an acknowledged leader in international education

We specialise in providing

* Higher Educational courses - eie Institute of Education (NCFHE License Number 2005 - TC - 001)

* English Language courses - eie Languages Centre (EFL License Number 282/MB42)

* Executive and Business courses - eie Management Centre

* Internship services - eie Internships

* Student Accommodation - eie Residences

* International Educational services - eie International

eie Educational Group,

Valletta Buildings, South Street, Valletta

Tel: +356 21 332804/5 info@eie-group.com

www.eieEducationalGroup.com

www.mbrpublications.net

45


Malta Business Review

INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY

THIS IS FOR YOU,

Women Fighters On The

FRONT LINES OF CREATIVITY

BY RACHEL DEGHATI

F

or long hours I observed her,

standing, reaching for the

ephemeral inexistence of the

material, in a strange face-to-face.

I followed her with my gaze, as she pushed

one of her slender fingers into the wet clay,

playing it against her palm, hesitating over

a curve, a hollow, filling it in, then taking

up a misshapen clump, beginning over and

over again. But that is not all...

I saw her, attentive, loving, grazing the clay

with infinite tenderness, smoothing out

the bumps in a search for a fragile instant

of harmony. A face emerged from her

hands, that of an unfinished man, in the

rough. Then, finally, she etched out a line,

provoking the hint of a smile.

At the Erbil University of Fine Arts, at the

heart of the creative effervescence of

students in a newly forming country, she

seems to have found her place. She had

resolved to begin a silent and intimate

dialogue with him, her alter ego in clay

that she had brought to life with her hands.

I have always thought that woman is

blessed with a supreme creative power,

that of giving life to both things and human

beings.

In that moment, I remembered some of

the fates of these Kurdish women—poised

between struggle and grace, renunciation

and creation, battlefront and hearth,

shadow and light, sorrow and joy, winter

and spring, between war and peace.

The elders know that one must be born at

least once in order to be reborn. Thus they

sow the seeds of rebirth. You see, while it

is woman who makes man, it is the culture

transmitted from generation to generation

that forges the strength and the identity of

a people.

Sometimes, a shadow darkens insouciance.

But, here, more than ever, life is hope.

Excerpt of "HOPE" from Kurdistan

Renaissance project MBR

46


Malta Business Review

WORLD ECONOMY

CHINA'S ECONOMIC GROWTH

COULD HELP OTHER

DEVELOPING COUNTRIES

by Justin Yifu Lin

Research published today examines

China’s recent successful economic

growth and how this could be applied

to help other developing countries grow

their economies.

The research from the journal Area

Development and Policy, published

by Taylor & Francis with the Regional

Studies Association, shows that while

other countries’ reforms in the 1980s

and 1990s subsequently failed, China

managed to achieve unprecedented

economic growth. This means there

is a potential for similar growth if

other developing countries devaelop

their economies according to their

comparative advantages, as China did.

The study also outlines how it was

possible for China to achieve a prolonged

period of growth, the price that has been

paid for success, if and how this can be

maintained, and the implications for

other developing countries who wish to

achieve similar growth.

Author and former Chief Economist of

the World Bank Justin Yifu Lin said, “It

is the strategy for development and

transition that determines success or

failure in a developing country.”

A key reason for China’s success was

the pragmatic approach adopted, along

with the advantage of backwardness,

where developing countries benefit from

imitating technologies and industries

from high-income countries, which

involves lower costs and fewer risks.

Before 1979, China had chosen not to

benefit from this advantage. The desire

to rapidly build a strong national defense

system and advanced capital-intensive

modern industry meant it was necessary

to do the innovation itself in a country

lacking capital but with abundant labor.

The research suggests there is potential

for other developing countries to grow

continuously for a prolonged period of

time, but to achieve this it is necessary to

do two things. The first is to develop the

country’s economic strength according

to its comparative advantages. The

second is not to immediately expose

uncompetitive domestic industries to

international competition. It is important

for developing countries to learn from

one another instead of using theories

generated from developed countries

because of the differences between

developed and developing countries.

Despite the successes of China’s

economic growth, Lin identifies that

there remain drawbacks including

corruption, environmental degradation

and increased income disparities

between the rich and poor.

The question remains as to whether

China can maintain dynamic growth in

the coming decades. There is potential

for continued growth but recent figures

show decelerated growth in comparison

to previous years. Lin argues that the

deceleration is mainly due to external

and cyclical factors, and is confident that

China is on track to join the world’s highincome

countries.

MBR

Creditline: Taylor & Francis

Read the full article online: http://www.

tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/2379

2949.2017.1298971

MBR

48


Malta Business Review

CYBERCRIME MALTA CONFERENCE 2017

in the new Cyber Defence Operations

Centre, or our customers, in the Enterprise

Cybersecurity Group. We’ve also increased

collaboration across the company so that

our built-in security technologies work

together to deliver a holistic, agile, security

platform. All this forms part of our constant

commitment to protect our customers.

Microsoft in fact, invests more than a billion

dollars a year in security related R&D to help

protect its customers,” added Panayiotis

Ioannou.

Thanking Microsoft for its support, Dr

Antonio Ghio and Mr Robert Farrugia,

respective Presidents of MITLA and ISACA

Malta explained how this conference is

being hosted within a current local context

of a growing economy which is becoming

increasingly dependent on technology and

as such, needs to bolster cybersecurity with

the aim of mitigating costs, risks and threats.

MICROSOFT is Platinum Sponsor of the

forthcoming Cybercrime Malta Conference

2017, a conference that will discuss the most

recent trends in cybercrime, cybersecurity

technologies and practices adopted against

cybercrime. The event is being organised

jointly by ISACA Malta Chapter and the Malta

IT Law Association (MITLA).

The speaker-line up should offer an interesting

variety of perspectives ranging from some of

the industry’s biggest international players

to more local and practical insight. They

include Axel Voss MEP - EPP Coordinator for

Legal Affairs, Uwe Rasmussen, Legal Counsel,

Digital Crimes Unit at Microsoft, Enrico

Bellini, Public Policy Senior Analyst at Google,

Luis Enrique Oliveri from IBM Global Security

Services, Dr. Jan Ellermann, Senior Specialist

at EUROPOL’s Data Protection Office,

Patrick Curry, CEO of Multinational Alliance

for Collaborative Situational Awareness,

Joseph Cuschieri, Executive Chairman,

Axel Voss MEP - EPP Coordinator

for Legal Affairs – one of the main

speakers during this conference

MICROSOFT Platinum

SPONSOR OF CYBERCRIME MALTA CONFERENCE 2017

By James Vella Clark

Malta Gaming Authority, Inspector Timothy

Zammit, from the Cyber Crime Unit at the

Malta Police Force, Prof Joe Cannataci, UN

Special Rapporteur on the Right to Privacy

and Raef Meeuwisse, author of a number of

publications about cybersecurity.

“Microsoft uses its unique insight to

understand cybercrime threats with the sole

aim of protecting its customers better against

identity attacks, accidental or intentional

loss of corporate data and the installation of

malware. This is why Microsoft is proud to be

Platinum Sponsor of this event and support

MITLA and ISACA Malta in the organisation

of this important event,” says Panayiotis

Ioannou, Country Manager for Microsoft

Malta.

“When it comes to security, Microsoft’s

approach reflects today’s realities of our

mobile-first, cloud-first world. This includes

bringing teams and technologies together

to evolve our security posture, for example,

“Government launched its National Cyber

Security Strategy Green Paper in 2015 as a

precursor to new legislation, however at

MITLA, we believe it is high time for industry

and regulator, the private and public sectors,

to sit down at a common table to discuss

concerns and initiatives. This conference will

create the right forum for discussing pressing

issues related to cybercrime, local and

international cybercrime trends, emerging

threats that strain the reach of the law, risks

posed to critical national infrastructures,

our legislative response, the rise of identity

theft and online fraud, big data, information

security, cybercrime and more,” said Dr Ghio

and Dr Gatt.

we believe it is high time for

industry and regulator, the

private and public sectors, to

sit down at a common table to

discuss concerns and initiatives

The conference at the Radisson Blue Hotel

in St George’s Bay will attract all those

interested in cybercrime and cybersecurity,

technology and cybersecurity professionals,

lawyers and law professionals, law

enforcement agencies and policy experts,

professionals, C-level executives and people

in management, academics, students and

government officials.

Registrations for the Cybercrime Malta

Conference 2017 are open and may be found

on the conference’s official website: The

Cybercrime Malta Conference 2017

http://cybercrimemalta.com MBR

50


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Malta Business Review

EU: COHESION POLICY

LOCAL LEADERS GATHER IN WARSAW WITH

COMMISSIONER CREŢU AND VISEGRAD GROUP:

Cohesion Policy is vital to build the future of the EU

Investing more to reduce regional

disparities and to mobilise regions and

cities to create opportunities for citizens

should be the key answer to the challenges

of the post-Brexit scenario. This was the

main message shared by members of the

European Committee of the Regions (CoR)

at a meeting in Warsaw on 2 March with

the European Commissioner for Regional

Policy Corina Crețu and the ministers for

development from the Czech Republic,

Hungary, Poland, Slovakia as well as

Bulgaria, Croatia, Romania and Slovenia.

Cohesion policy – worth €454bn until 2020

– is by far the largest investment tool of

the EU, supporting inclusive and smart

growth in every European region. It reduces

development gaps, spreads innovation and

enhances the competitiveness of the EU

economies by involving EU institutions,

national governments as well as local and

regional authorities.

A day after the presentation of the

European Commission White Paper on

the Future of the EU, these concerns were

discussed in Warsaw by members of the

CoR's Commission for Territorial Cohesion

Policy and EU Budget (COTER). "A strong

Cohesion Policy, showing the benefits and

solidarity of the EU at local and regional

level, is decisive to address the current

cycle of despair and disengagement. Our

message from Warsaw is that the objective

of economic, social and territorial cohesion

is a key element for the future of Europe,"

said COTER's chairman, Raffaele Cattaneo

(EPP/IT), President of the Regional Council

of Lombardy.

In Warsaw, local leaders discussed and

adopted a draft opinion on the future

of Cohesion Policy after 2020, prepared

by the President of the EPP Group in the

CoR, Michael Schneider, Saxony-Anhalt's

Secretary of State for EU Affairs.

"No other EU or national policy can achieve

what Cohesion Policy has helped to create

in countries such as Poland or Germany

in the past decades. It is one of the EU

policies that has truly an impact on the

everyday lives of our citizens, by creating

opportunities and support for jobs, growth

– contributing to a sense of Europeanness in

an age of growing populism. That is why we

must ensure that Cohesion Policy remains

'the' investment tool of the European

Union, supported in synergy by other funds

and grants such as the European Fund for

Strategic Investments or Horizon 2020," Mr

Schneider emphasised.

European Commissioner for Regional Policy

Corina Creţu said: "Over the last months,

we have heard more and more citizens

tell us 'We feel politicians and institutions

do not care about us, we feel left out!'

Therefore, it is time to give them a strong

signal. Our message to them must be that

Europe cares. And what better way to prove

it than through Cohesion Policy? Cohesion

Policy's aim is to leave no one behind, to

improve everybody's daily life. This is why

we must fight for it and for its future as it

is our common future. Jobs and growth

through Cohesion Policy, yes; but jobs and

growth for all, for all regions."

The meeting was held in parallel with

a ministerial gathering of the Visegrad

Group+4, at which ministries for economic

12th meeting of the COTER Commission in Warsaw

development from the Czech Republic,

Hungary, Poland, Slovakia as well as

Bulgaria, Croatia, Romania and Slovenia

adopted a document stressing the vital role

of Cohesion Policy for the future of the EU.

"Cohesion Policy must be reformed in a way

to remain in the interest of all EU Member

States and regions and be an important,

useful instrument for the achievement of

the EU's strategic long-term goals, while

promoting issues of key importance for

particular regions," added Deputy Minister

of Economic Development Jerzy Kwieciński.

At a high-level conference held on 3 March,

experts and practitioners exchange views

on how to simplify the EU's Cohesion Policy

while making it more effective and more

responsive to the needs of local economies.

The CoR will discuss and adopt its opinion

on the future of Cohesion Policy at its

plenary session on 10 May. MBR

Credit: Pierluigi Boda (IT, EN)

pierluigi.boda@cor.europa.eu

EDITOR’S

Note

The EU’s Cohesion Policy is implemented over a seven-year cycle (2014-20) through five European Structural and Investment Funds (ESI

funds):

• European Regional Development Fund (ERDF): promotes balanced development in the EU’s regions.

• European social fund (ESF): supports employment-related projects throughout Europe and invests in Europe’s human capital – its

workers, its young people and all those seeking a job.

• Cohesion Fund (CF): funds transport and environment projects in countries whose gross national income (GNI) per inhabitant is less

than 90% of the EU average. In 2014-20, these are Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Latvia,

Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia.

• European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD): focuses on resolving the particular challenges facing the EU’s rural areas.

• European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF): helps fishermen to adopt sustainable fishing practices and coastal communities to

diversify their economies, improving the quality of life on Europe’s seaboard.

The total allocations for 2014-20 are 454bn from the EU budget, matched by 183bn from national funds. With a total value of 638bn,

Cohesion Policy is the Europe’s main investment tool. It is managed in partnership by the European Commission, national governments and

regions. More than 176bn have already been invested in the real economy of the EU since the beginning of the current programming period.

For more information and country-specific trends and figures, please consult the Cohesion Open Data Portal.

52


FINE DINING

Malta Business Review

Looking Back on Sciacca’s Beginnings

From the moment you enter into the world

of Sciacca, be it the Paceville or Valletta

restaurant, there’s that undeniable sense

of authenticity and genuineness. Founder

and owner, Noel Zammit has always had

that innate passion for anything that had

an affinity to the culinary world. As time

passed, his interest in the catering industry

grew stronger. Needless to say, he wanted

to build a more solid relationship with

the gastronomy. To do this he decided

to invest time and money in what he had

the most passion for: food. And thus, his

journey into becoming a restaurateur

began…

Modest beginnings: the inspiration

behind Sciacca

Noel’s love for food began at a very tender

age. He used to enjoy watching his mother

cook, observing her traditional techniques

and perhaps, even ‘stealing’ her recipes.

But of course, it didn’t stop there. From

as early as 16 years of age, Noel made it

a point to be a regular restaurant goer to

many local establishments. Indeed, like

clockwork, he made sure to jot down

his weekly restaurant bookings into his

already increasingly busy schedule.

Each Sunday of every week presented

Noel the opportunity to enter into a new

environment: a different atmosphere,

with a novel menu that displayed a

smorgasbord of food, some of which he

devoured with gusto, others he refused

with abhorrence. Of course, like every

restaurant goer, there were always those

couple of places that he thought deserved

a repeat visit, simply because they

encapsulated what he looked for when it

comes to the catering sector: good service

coupled with honest, hearty food.

Eventually, after borrowing and adapting

ideas from his family members and

friends, Noel quickly became enthused

with the idea of cooking and hosting for

entertainment purposes. Over time he

started learning more about different

styles of cooking through his extensive

travels, noting and absorbing different

culinary techniques and practising them

at home. In due course, he started

sharing his emergent skills when inviting

loved ones at home, sometimes hosting

luncheons for up to 30 people. It was at

this moment Noel began to feel like he

was completely in his element.

Sciacca’s recipe for success

In a nutshell, the secret to Sciacca’s success

is very humble in its simplicity: making use

of fresh and genuine products. It’s all about

letting the food speak for itself, because a

great dish shouldn’t be overpowered with

over the top garnishes or a cacophony

of ingredients. When looking Sciacca’s

dishes, you can forget about unnecessary

garnishes and over-embellished plate

decorations. Simplicity is key, because

ultimately, it’s all about making the food

the star of the dish.

Apart from freshness and genuine

ingredients, Sciacca prides itself in having

chefs that are constantly experimenting

in the kitchen, striving for innovation,

because to them, there’s always room for

improvement and if there’s something that

could be better, it’s a safe bet that they’ll

make sure it will be an augmented version of

their original idea. Through their creativity

and imagination Sciacca’s culinary mavens

make sure each meal is served from the

restaurant kitchen represents what the

restaurant’s trademark.

Noel was always interested in the food

industry as he felt it was something that

was deeply instilled in him ever since he

was a child. Thus, he ultimately decided

to take the plunge after years of serious

contemplation. Starting a business comes

with its fair share of challenges, and of

course going into an already booming Food

and Beverage industry is an even bigger

risk, because there’s no in between: you

either sink or swim. But what is life without

risks? Cliché as it may sound, to fulfil one’s

dreams, one must forget about remaining

in their comfort zone. Noel’s only regret

is not having started his business venture

sooner. Basically, the main inspiration

behind both of Sciacca’s restaurants is plain

and simple: a passion for good quality food.

We hope you’ve enjoyed reading the brief

history of Sciacca as much as we’ve enjoyed

reminiscing on our beginnings. If you’d like

to come and have a taster of the fruits of

our labour and relish the essence of our

culinary creations, we encourage you to

book a table at Sciacca. We work tirelessly

to invent dishes that truly personify

Sciacca’s brand.

Remember to follow us on Facebook and

Twitter. MBR

www.mbrpublications.net

53


Malta Business Review

REBRANDING

Malta Payments Company, Swish,

Rebrands as Truevo

Swish, the Malta-based acquirer and payment solutions

provider, rebranding as Truevo

Swish Payments Ltd, the Malta-founded

card acquirer and payment solutions

provider, will be rebranding as Truevo

Payments on 1st March 2017.

Founded in 2012, Swish enables European

businesses to easily accept payments

across various channels, including instore,

online, over the phone and through

mobile card terminals. The company also

offers Original Credit Transactions for fast

and convenient fund transfers to over a

billion eligible Visa, Mastercard or Maestro

cards around the globe.

“The rebranding decision was taken to

avoid confusion in the marketplace with

a similarly-named peer-to-peer payment

solutions company in Sweden”, says Steve

Grech, company CEO.

Grech explains that as a licensed financial

institution and a full principal member

of Visa and Mastercard, the company

is uniquely positioned to provide card

acquiring services across multiple

channels at very low costs to its clients.

Steve Grech, company CEO

“It is our intention to provide merchants

with an efficient alternative to the more

traditional acquiring solutions provided by

banks”.

Under the new name, he says, Truevo will

continue to deliver truly holistic payment

solutions that facilitate convenient, fast

and secure transactions.

Apart from the new trading name and

logo, it will be business as usual at Truevo

from next month with no other changes

for its clients or partners.

MBR

54


DENTAL HEALTHCARE

Malta Business Review

Replacing a long-lost tooth

with a Dental Implant

Replacing a long-lost tooth with a more

permanent solution is not always an easy

task. Teeth like the upper or lower first

molar or an upper central or lateral incisor

are often missing from a young age. These

cases normally arise due to failed root

canal treatments, fractures or even trauma

caused by a road-traffic accident. The status

of the tooth site may vary considerably

with the time lapsed to the type of incident

causing tooth loss. Other factors such a

tooth position as well as dental and oral

health, also play an important part.

A Case Study

A young woman in her late 30s has a history of losing her upper central incisor in her

teenage years. She has worn a fixed bridge attached to the one tooth on either side

of the missing incisor. Over the years the gum and bone have receded leaving a large

space and unaesthetic noticeable defect. She also has a high smile line exposing all

the defects in the gum. Although she knew that a newer bridge would have already

improved her smile, she opted for an implant regaining 3individual teeth instead of

a 3-tooth fixed bridge. Bone was harvested from the lower wisdom tooth area and

grafted in the area of the long-lost tooth. 4months post-grafting, an implant was

placed with some minor additional bone grafting. Once healed she had 3 new allceramic

single crowns fit into place.

Taking for example the loss of an upper

central incisor, this tooth is often lost at

a young age; typically 7-12 years of age.

The trauma would more often than not

necessitate a root canal treatment. At

the younger end of the spectrum the

root development is often incomplete

jeopardizing the long-term prognosis of

the tooth. When more mature with its

root end closed, the prognosis is better.

This tooth however may still not offer a

good prognosis. At times the trauma is so

extensive that the tooth either falls out of

its socket and is lost, or fractures at the

mid or apical third of the root and must

be removed at once. Soft tissue as well as

bone is often lost.

Once the tooth is out the ageing process

starts taking place. The bone surrounding

the area does not receive any biting

stimulus and so starts resorbing. The gum

also recedes and reduces in size. Over

the years the area suffers considerable

tissue loss resulting in difficulty for the

implant surgeon to restore the area to the

functional and aesthetic norm.

The best way to replace a tooth with the

above history is with a dental implant.

However not until long ago the typical

replacement was with a bridge or a

denture. Today we know better and try

not to involve adjacent teeth like when

using a bridge. A denture too remains an

undesirable removable prosthesis and

where possible, should be eliminated. The

implant carries many advantages. Besides

being an independent structure it also

reduces the bone/gingival tissue loss and

when done properly facilitates hygiene

maintenance. Ask your dentist! MBR

Extra-oral before treatment

Intra-oral after treatment

Extra-oral after treatment

Intra-oral before treatment

DR JEAN PAUL DEMAJO

Dental and Implant Surgeon,

Trained in London working in

private practice in Malta

www.mbrpublications.net

55


Malta Business Review

EU & GLOBAL NEWS ROUND-UP

THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK: Happy

Commonwealth Day (said no one, ever, until

now)! Fifty-two nations of the former British

empire were officially marking those ties on the

13th March 2017, and Brexiteers will use the day

to talk about a glorious free trade future outside

the EU. In related news, the next Commonwealth

summit will be held in the U.K., not Vanuatu, after

a cyclone severely damaged the Pacific island

nation’s infrastructure, the British PM is set to

announce today. MBR

We spent the month of March skipping

across the globe: From the traveling EU circus

heading to Strasbourg, to Angela Merkel and Wolfgang

Schäuble visiting Washington, then back to the

Netherlands for Dutch elections Wednesday. Theresa

May could trigger Article 50 any day, but Europe-

Turkey relations have been lit to explode, giving Brexit

some competition for column inches. MBR

NATO — ANNUAL REPORT RELEASED: NATO

boss Jens Stoltenberg has published. Playbook’s

NATO source says Stoltenberg’s outline shows how

the alliance has responded to a tougher security

environment, and will appeal to statistics geeks

with a pile of new facts and figures, including

on defense spending. Stoltenberg is expected

to hammer home U.S. President Donald Trump’s

demand (and the existing commitment by NATO

members) for fairer burden-sharing between the

U.S. and Europe and Canada. MBR

EUROPOL — CRIMINAL ORGANIZATIONS

ON THE RISE: According to the EU police agency

Europol, more than 5,000 international organized

crime organizations are operating in the EU, up

from 3,600 estimated in 2013. MBR

ITALY — THE ‘SOFT

REVOLUTION’

WITH A HARD EDGE

IN RENZI’S PARTY:

When Matteo Renzi

decided to trigger a

leadership contest

in his Democratic

Party, the former PM

underestimated the

Matteo Renzi

risk of an open leftwing

revolt, writes Giada Zampano. With the PD

neck-and-neck in polls with Beppe Grillo’s antiestablishment

5Star Movement, the man once

known as “Demolition Man” may have bitten off

more than he could chew. MBR

EUROPE-TURKEY

RELATIONS AT BOILING

POINT …

Prime Minister

Paolo Gentiloni

PARLIAMENT IN STRASBOURG: The top VIP

speaker is Italy’s Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni.

The big debates will be on conflict minerals and

shareholder rights. Tighter food inspection rules as

well as new gun controls should be agreed. MBR

Despite a lastminute

campaign

by Vicky Ford (one

of the British MEPs

excluded from the

list because of Brexit)

to get European

Conservatives and

Vicky Ford

Reformists MEPs and

staff to vote for her and other ECR members, all

the group’s candidates combined scored less than

Charanzová. The same goes for the four British

MEPs on the shortlist. MBR

**A message from the EPP Group: A year

after the Brussels attacks and on our initiative,

the EP will discuss the EU’s security using the new

instrument of topical debates. We will also make

the case for the European Defence Union, which

is already a legal possibility, and welcome the

freeing-up of the 700 MHz frequency for 5G. MBR

COUNCIL — THE EFFECTS OF POLAND’S

SUMMIT STAND: “EU takes a huge step

forward,” concluded Der Tagesspiegel. “As the day

the EU remembered its capacity to act — thanks to

Jarosław Kaczyński! … A country that tried to use

blackmail tactics for domestic reasons that had

nothing to do with Europe’s common interests. In

this case it was Poland. But this will be a lesson to

others, too.” MBR

PARTY PEOPLE — SOCIAL DEMOCRATS

MEET IN BERLIN TO DISCUSS FIGHT AGAINST

POPULISM: A ‘Progressive Alliance’ convention

began gathering Sunday in Berlin (not the be confused

with the usual congress of the Party of European

Socialists) and continues today. Heads of government

in attendance include Stefan Löfven (Sweden),

Paolo Gentiloni (Italy), Christian Kern (Austria) and

António Costa (Portugal), as well as German Foreign

Minister Sigmar Gabriel and Martin Schulz, the Social

Democrats’ candidate for chancellor in Germany’s

September general election. MBR

TRADE — EU-ASEAN RESTART TRADE

TALKS: More good news for Trade Commissioner

Cecilia Malmström. The EU and the 500 millionstrong

Association of Southeast Asian Nations

agreed this month they would start preparations

to relaunch stalled trade talks. Meanwhile, the FT

reported that a civil war has broken out within the

White House over trade policy. MBR

ITALY SHOCKER

— THE RAPE AND

SLAVERY PROPPING

UP SICILIAN

Nicoleta Bolos and her baby

daughter in Ragusa province.

Photograph: Francesca Commissari for the Observer

FARMING: This is a

must-read from Lorenzo

Tondo and Annie Kelly.

“Hidden among fields

of flapping white plastic

tents across Ragusa

province, 5,000 Romanian women like Bolos are

working as seasonal agricultural workers. Their

treatment is a growing human rights scandal, being

perpetrated with almost complete impunity,” write

Tondo and Kelly. “More than half of all Romanian

women working in the greenhouses are forced into

sexual relations with their employers. Almost all of

them work in conditions of forced labor and severe

exploitation.” MBR

Turkey President Erdoğan

ERDOĞAN CALLS DUTCH AUTHORITIES

NAZIS: Turkey vowed to retaliate against the

Netherlands in the “harshest ways” after Dutch

authorities barred Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt

Çavuşoğlu from landing in Rotterdam after a

political rally at which he was slated to appear

was canceled. A Dutch official told the Sunday

Times’ Bojan Pancevski: “We wanted to come

to an arrangement but [President Recep Tayyip]

Erdoğan turned this into an issue about who is the

boss in our own country.” MBR

First German calls for Turkey’s EU

membership talks to end: Daniel Bössler

writing in Suddeutsche Zeitung said the weekend

dispute would mean “the formal end of accession

negotiations with Turkey is inevitable.” We’re yet

to see Frankfurter Allegemeine Zeitung, Bild or Die

Welt join the chorus, but if you call modern-day

Germans and their allies Nazis, it’s unlikely to be

discreetly ignored. MBR

FRENCH ELECTION

CORNER …

Endorsements update: The deadline for

presidential hopefuls to get 500 endorsements

from local officials is Saturday. Top candidates

François Fillon, Emmanuel Macron, Benoît

Hamon and Marine Le Pen are all across the line.

Radical left’s Jean-Luc Mélenchon still needs 68

signatures. MBR

French power podcast: Playbook recommends

for its Francophile readers the podcast from the

weekly “L’Atelier du pouvoir.” MBR

CREDITLINE: BY RYAN HEATH | POLITICO SPRL

56


EU & GLOBAL NEWS ROUND-UP

Malta Business Review

BIG MONTH, LADIES AND

GENTS … with three major central bank

meetings, a fraught election in the Netherlands,

and the possible triggering of Article 50 by the U.K.

So let’s take some of this in turn, shall we? MBR

Howard Archer

Howard Archer at IHS

Markit: “Of key interest in the March

meeting is whether or not the MPC are becoming

more pessimistic about the U.K. GDP growth

outlook given the current mounting signs that

consumers are reining in their spending as the

purchasing power is increasingly squeezed,” he

writes in a note to clients. “While the Bank of

England has been expecting consumer spending

to slow, it may have been surprised by the overall

softness of the recent data relating to retail sales,

car purchases and consumer services. The Bank

of England GDP growth forecast of 2.0 percent

in 2017 is at the top end of projections, and it

will look increasingly hard to reach if consumers

sharply rein in their spending.” MBR

Equity investors should

not worry too much about

a hike: So says Patrick Moonen at NN

Investment Partners. “From a historic point of

view there is no convincing evidence that a U.S.

rate hike is negative for the U.S. equity market,” he

writes to clients. To be fair, he does admit that rate

hikes have driven down equity valuations in the

past but, at least during the last two rate-hiking

cycles in 1994 and 2004, stock markets continued

to move higher. MBR

Look out for key changes

to the Fed’s post-meeting

statement: Goldman Sachs’ Zach Pandl

and Jan Hatzius believe they will all point to the

Fed’s eagerness to raise rates a couple more times

this year: “[The Fed will indicate] that risks to the

economic outlook are ‘balanced’, and [signal]

that the 2 percent inflation objective will likely

be reached before too long. In the Summary of

Economic Projections (SEP) we look for slight

upgrades to GDP growth and core inflation,” they

write in a note to clients. MBR

UniCredit’s

Vasileios

Gkionakis: “Wilders will probably shake

the political landscape of the Netherlands, but he

is unlikely to disrupt it.” MBR

NOW, THOSE MEMORABLE

FOOTBALL MATCHES: Thanks to the

many readers who sent in their suggestions, after

we were inspired by Barcelona’ stunning comeback

against Paris Saint-Germain to ask for memorable

football matches of all times. The obvious ones

made it in, because they should: the 1999

Manchester United victory against Bayern Munich

in the Champions League Final and Liverpool’s

“Miracle of Istanbul” against AC Milan in the 2005

CL final.

But some of the less-heralded entries were intriguing,

including: Liverpool-Newcastle in the Premier League

in 1996: 4-3 with the winning goal in the second

minute of stoppage time; Sheffield Wednesday-

Sheffield United in the 2000 League Cup; Real

Madrid-Espanyol in La Liga in 2007; and Belgium-

Austria 4-4 in the qualifiers for Euro 2012 MBR

Bank of England

BANK OF ENGLAND PREVIEW:

Unlike its U.S. counterparts (see below), the BoE

is expected to stay put, both on interest rates and

stimulus measures, despite growing inflation. That

doesn’t mean that investors will tune out. MBR

FED PREVIEW: The Americans have

the finger on the interest rate trigger. Investors

absolutely expected a rate hike mid-march

and will be parsing words by Janet Yellen very

closely in the subsequent press conference.

Barring an unforeseen event, markets’ reaction

on the day should be muted since the hike

should surprise no one. But how will markets

react in the longer term? MBR

FT calls end of long bull

market for US government

bonds: The paper’s Joe Rennison and John

Authers do the honours: “One of the longest and

most important trends in world finance may be on

the cusp of a reversal. U.S. 10-year Treasury bond

yields, used as a benchmark in transactions the world

over, have been in decline since inflation came under

control in the early 1980s.

“But in the past weeks, yields have risen to their

highest in almost three years, while the U.S. jobs

market has grown its fastest in more than a decade.

With equity markets suggesting that growth and

inflation are in store under President Donald Trump,

and with the Federal Reserve committed to raising its

base rates this week for the third time in a decade,

some bond market luminaries are convinced that

the great ‘bull market’ is over. From now, they expect

interest rates to rise steadily.” MBR

THE INSTITUTE OF

INTERNATIONAL

FINANCE’S BART

VAN LIEBERGEN:

“Wilders’ Freedom Party

seems to be running

out of steam lately.

Rather, a fragmented

Bart van Liebergen

parliament may arise in

which no less than four parties may be needed

for a governing coalition. Current PM Rutte of

the conservative-liberal VVD is likely to lead that

government, while his current junior partner

Labor is set to lose these elections.” MBR

HSBC TO NAME TUCKER NEW

CHAIRMAN: Sky News’ Mark Kleinman has

the story: “HSBC Holdings, Europe’s biggest bank,

is lining up the former Prudential chief executive

Mark Tucker as its next chairman — a move that

will have far-reaching implications for some of the

world’s biggest financial services groups.” MBR

NEW YORK FINANCIAL PROBES LIKELY

TO CONTINUE AFTER DEPARTURE OF

TOP PROSECUTOR:

The Wall Street

Journal has the

story: “The sudden

departure of Preet

Bharara, the top

federal prosecutor

in Manhattan, isn’t

likely to change

the course of

Preet Bharara

several high-profile

investigations even as it raises uncertainty about

his office’s long-term direction. On Saturday, Mr.

Bharara was fired as Manhattan U.S. attorney, a day

after the Justice Department asked the 46 remaining

U.S. attorneys appointed by former President Barack

Obama to step down. Mr. Bharara, who has served

in that role since 2009 and had become prominent

with a string of high-profile white-collar and public

corruption investigations, refused to resign and was

subsequently let go.

“For the moment, Mr. Bharara’s departure is

unlikely to have a significant impact on the pending

investigations within the office, largely because the

interim leader of the office, Joon Kim, is a close friend

and longtime colleague of Mr. Bharara’s.” MBR

THANKS TO: FRANCESCO GUERRERA & ZOYA SHEFTALOVICH, POLITICO SPRL

www.mbrpublications.net

57


Malta Business Review

RESEARCH DATA

Giving

Context To

Research

Data

Rebecca Zammit

Rebecca Zammit has just been

appointed Director of MISCO

International Limited, responsible

for MISCO’s Marketing and

Opinion Research services. In this

interview, Ms Zammit explains

how in today’s competitive

environment, data is a very

important currency and the more

data is available for marketers

and company leaders, the better

and more effective their business

decisions will be.

A recently published review on

smartinsights.com on what the toprated

digital marketing techniques will

be during 2017 reveals how Big Data

(20.3%) together with Content Marketing

(20.4%) will this year be the top marketing

tools followed by Marketing Automation

(10.3%), Mobile Marketing (9.2%) and

Social Media Marketing (8.8%) amongst

others.

“Data however can also be very boring

especially for all those who do not

understand it. This is why we like building

a story with the data. A story, puts the

client in the right context which helps him

understand where his business stands and

where it needs to be taken.

MISCO has been offering marketing and

opinion research services for 33 years.

Eventually, it developed the full range

of data collection techniques now used

through both quantitative and qualitative

methods supported by a pool of around 80

experienced and trained interviewers.

“Our role is to help customers feel the

pulse of people’s behaviour, attitudes,

perceptions and opinions, identify and

measure market size and market share,

analyze the characteristics of markets,

understand market developments and

focus on the critical factors for success in

marketing,” adds Rebecca Zammit.

“Customers who engage MISCO’s

Marketing and Opinion Research Section

include national and international

organisations, operating in both the private

and public sector across a wide range of

activities such as telecommunications,

consumer products, banking and insurance

services, transport, pharmaceutical and

automotive sectors. MISCO is also very

active in the areas of social research and

opinion polling and has garnered extensive

experience through its participation in

numerous multi-country projects.”

“Data is universal so really and truly,

we are equipped to service any sector.

However our experience and continued

investment in technology enables us to

be flexible in that we do not apply an offthe-shelf

approach but devise a research

methodology according to the particular

needs of our customer.”

With long years of experience, MISCO

has had the opportunity to watch the

sector evolve and give birth to new trends.

One such trend is the increased use of

mystery shopping exercises, a research

methodology for which MISCO is very

sought after.

“We are living in an age where we all want

to know how we are being perceived.

Brands too want to constantly know how

they are being received by their target

audiences. Companies constantly request

reviews and testimonials because these

reinforce their public reputation. No

wonder over the past few years most

sectors have experienced a dramatic

increase in the use of mystery shopping

techniques to better understand what

they can do to improve their processes,

products and services,” added Rebecca

Zammit.

Another aspect that makes MISCO’s

Marketing and Opinion Research Unit

unique is the application of specific

technology.

“All the software we use for our research

projects is developed in-house by our own

people. This gives us added flexibility that

allows us to adapt the research according

to the particular client. We feel this is an

important advantage for us given the

increasing use of technology in today’s

modern research methods.”

But no matter which methods are

employed during research, or how capable

one is to interpret data, truth and integrity

are two qualities that best define MISCO’s

Marketing and Opinion Research services.

“Clients sometimes hire our services

expecting us to give them the answers

they want to hear. We challenge the client

and ask what the real problem is that we

are trying to solve. It does happen that the

problem that the client is trying to solve is

a symptom of a much deeper issue. On a

number of occasions the data we collect

paints a different picture from what the

client would be expecting. We know

that the methods we use in our research

processes, return us with a high level of

accuracy with which we can assist our

clients to move forward. Therefore, even

when the results are way different from

their expectations, clients always show

us an element of trust. Being trusted and

respected, helps our clients understand

and accept our recommendations more,”

concluded Rebecca Zammit. MBR

58


FINANCE DATA ANALYTICS

Malta Business Review

NSO data points to certain unsustainable spending patterns

Government finance data released by the

National Statistics Office point to further

increases in recurrent expenditure and

a substantial drop in capital expenditure.

The drop in capital expenditure of €13

million is, in fact, the major contributor

to the lower consolidated fund deficit

registered in January 2017.

A comparison between government

expenditure data for January 2017 and

that of January 2015 points to some

worrying and unsustainable trends.

Capital expenditure went down from €30

million to €10 million representing a 68%

drop. Recurrent expenditure during the

same period went up by €29 million or

13%. Public service wages increased by €5

million (9%), Operation and Maintenance

expenditure by a further €5 million (35%)

and Interest expenditure by €3 million

(23%).

Total revenue in January 2017 increased

by €51 million when compared to the

corresponding period of 2016. However

nearly half of this increase was due to an

increase in receivable grants amounting to

€22 million.

Total government debt in January 2017

increased by €61 million when compared

to the previous year and €301 million

when compared to the January 2015.

The data released today points to certain

unsustainable spending patterns. Capital

expenditure, essential to ensure that our

economy remains competitive and that

our infrastructure is capable of meeting

present and future demands, is decreasing

year on year. On the other hand, recurrent

expenditure is shooting up as government

continues its spending spree not least

through the creation of hundreds of

positions of trust across the public sector –

a fact that was noted by the International

Monetary Fund in their recent report on

Malta’s economy. While government is

finding solace in ratios, the undeniable

fact remains that government debt in

absolute terms shot up over the past four

years. This debt will have to be carried by

future generations. MBR

Source: Mario de Marco, Deputy Leader for

Parliamentary Affairs, Shadow Minister for

Finance, PN

Payment Collection Period

IN MALTA

The Average DSO – Days Sales Outstanding

or as also referred to ‘the payment

collection ratio’ across all the Maltese

business sectors as at 31 December 2016

was 89.04 days.

This figure was derived from a survey

conducted by The Malta Association of

Credit Management (MACM) amongst its

members. MACM represents suppliers

selling on credit in Malta and other

creditors hailing from all sectors of the

Maltese economy.

compared to last year’s DSO figure.

However, a DSO of 89.04 days is still

relatively high when compared to the

average DSO of other European countries.

In fact, the average DSO for Malta comes

very close to that of Italy (80 days)

according to the European Payment Index

issued recently by Intrum Justitia.

MACM is committed to assist the Maltese

business community securing sound cash

flow and selling on credit profitably.

MBR

The DSO figures for specific industries

and sectors were also issued and

communicated to the respective MACM

Members who participated in this

important exercise.

MACM notes with that there has been

a marginal improvement of 2.63 days

www.mbrpublications.net

59


Malta Business Review

BUILDING & CONSTRUCTION

WHY CONSTRUCTION CLIENTS

SHOULD INVEST IN

Health and Wellbeing

A

high-functioning, profitable

building is no longer just about

bricks and mortar. It’s not even

just about the aesthetics of the design.

Health and wellbeing plays an increasingly

important role in the planning, design,

the construction process and the finished

product, and any construction client

holding the purse strings would do well to

not ignore this growing trend.

By Katia Knox

The relationship between people and

the building in which they are working is

vital. The way that buildings are designed,

constructed and maintained impacts the

way we work, sleep, what we eat, and how

we feel. The right building can advance

health, happiness, mindfulness and

productivity.

Health and wellbeing is the new frontier in

construction, growing fast as we realise the

many benefits it has. This is an opportunity

for organisations to think differently and

use their physical premises for competitive

gain, whether that’s a construction client

or an investor trying to command a higher

price for a new, high-performing building

or an occupier looking to take on a space

needed to drive business success.

Credit: Barbour Products; LinkedIn

MBR

For architects and designers, the idea that

buildings influence the health, wellbeing

and productivity of their occupants is not

new. But this type of thinking is still not

influencing most design, financing and

leasing decisions as much as it should.

The Health and Wellbeing concept is

making big noise in the industry, so buyers

will keep a look out for buildings that

adhere to the guidelines set out companies

like WELL. And in the construction industry,

it's always better to be a forerunner than a

backbencher.

Let’s have a look at the office sector. The

physical work environment has an impact

on the health and productivity of the

office worker. Of course, the terms health,

wellbeing and productivity encompass

a whole range of related and complex

issues. Health encapsulates physical and

mental health, wellbeing hints at broader

feelings or perceptions of satisfaction and

happiness, and productivity refers more

explicitly to business-oriented outputs.

Clean air, for example, is a critical

component to our health. Good indoor

air quality, and also thermal comfort, high

quality views, daylight, good acoustics and

indeed location and amenities all play a

crucial role in creating a healthy, productive

workplace. And a productive workplace

equals an easy sell of a profitable building.

One way of promoting wellbeing is to have

workspaces that employees can engage

with and feel comfortable in. Conversely,

a poorly designed workspace can quash

any green shoots of creativity, good

performance, engagement and innovation.

ABOUT THE

Author

Katja Knox is an

Editorial Account

Manager, LinkedIn

60


Malta Business Review

BUILDING & CONSTRUCTION

SILENCE IS

GOLDEN

AT NIGHT

by Antoine Bonello

Bliss is when someone can sleep

comfortable in bed on a stormy night

knowing that your house is protecting you

and your loved ones from the elements, or

if you are awake and drinking a nice cuppa

while starring at the window waiting for the

lightings to light the sky with their magic.

But what happen when things go wrong or

better why things go wrong. An old friend

of mine who I haven’t see for a long time

called me not long ago in the middle of

the night, in a state of panic. He asked

me what to do due to river like water

infiltrations inside his house from almost

everywhere. Later I came to know that this

was mainly due to badly applied DIY with a

low quality waterproofing membrane.

The truth is that many of us here in

Malta love the DIY, which in my opinion is

something very positive. Waterproofing

applications looks so simple on paper

yet two important factors are always left

out of the equation. First the qualities

of the materials used and second the

application itself. Here in Malta we have

a huge problem with regards product

Waterproofing must be applied also inside

the drain

and application knowledge, many are

self-thought and they tend to pass their

incorrect information to one another.

What is worse is when one decides to visit

the local ironmonger..., amazingly these

people know it all, from the tiny screw of

the flushing to the motherboards of the

space shuttle. It is the place where one can

hear all sorts of unthinkable solutions just

to convince you to pick up that particular

membrane or product, which usually

carries the most profit. Let us start with

the first problem, the product used itself.

There are different types of membranes in

the market. The term liquid membrane is

very misleading as it groups varies types

of membranes under one roof. This means

that that the good the bad and the worse

membranes are grouped under the same

roof. Most liquid membranes fall in the

category of plastics /acrylics, cement and

latex, bitumen, resins, Polyurethanes and

polyacrylics.

The plastics/acrylics compounds or

membranes lack UV resistance and will

deteriorate after a year or two. The

cement based which usually consists of a

mixture of cement and latex invented way

back in the 70’s is very rigid and fail when

subjected to structural movements, the

bitumen based are dark in colour absorb a

lot of heat intake and melt at 35% definitely

the worst of them all. The last three are the

new generation of membranes they are

designed to withstand almost everything.

The resin based membranes that are CE

certified can withstand UV rays, concrete

expansion, foot traffic and direct bonding

of tiles; some of them have micro fibres

for extra strength and elasticity. A thermal

version which can reduce heat intake

inside the buildings by 90% also exists.

The polyurethane membranes exist in

two versions dual or single component.

The single component is very delicate

and if used incorrectly can create more

damage than good. They are very sensitive

to humidity and once the can is open

must be used in a very short period of

time and can’t be stored for the next day,

while the two components can be mixed

in the required quantities and are much

stronger then the mono component.

Polyacrylics on the other hand is the

latest innovation they are a mixture of

polyurethane, solvents and acrylics, they

are proving to be also very reliable and are

also reinforced with micro fibres. Of the

above mentioned I personally would opt

for the Resin liquid membrane as they are

superior to the first three mentioned and

it is almost as strong as polyurethane and

polyacrylic systems while at the same time

it is more economical.

When it comes to application one has to

bear in mind that materials alone is not

enough. It is always recommended to

sand and remove the previous coatings,

an acid wash to eliminate moss and other

microorganisms is a must and after at least

24hours proceed with the application of

the primer. What is a primer one might say?

The primer is bonding agent that when

applied on the surface stops concrete

dusting and enhances the adhesion of the

membrane. This will make sure that you

will not experience any membrane peeling

afterwards.

When we apply the liquid membrane we

must not reason in number of coats as

62


BUILDING & CONSTRUCTION

Malta Business Review

this differs from one person to another. A

popular misconception is that for a perfect

application we must apply 2 coats, well

its wrong. Membrane must be applied by

weight, and for a good application strong

enough to withstand the Maltese climate

must be of not less than 1 kg of material

per square metre, for sure this means not

less than 3 coats if one presumes to apply

an average of 300g per coat. The correct

quantity of material applied must be

according to the square metres of the roof

(Ex 100sq m = 100kilos).

Product knowledge and how to use the

material correctly is the secret of an able

installer and this applies also when it

comes to DIY or a professional installer.

A good advice if you opt to have your

waterproofing needs carried out by third

parties, always make sure they are members

of the Malta Professional Waterproofing

and Resin Flooring Association. Always ask

to see the Association’s INSTALLERS CARD.

This will save you a lot hassle as improper

roof protection by unaccountable or

unethical persons can give way to a

serious of unwanted damages. Over 80%

of building damages originates from water

intake. The result is an endless court case,

if you are lucky enough to trace the guys

who carried out the works. All this will

eventually take years and prove fruitless.

The Malta Waterproofing and Resin

Flooring Association provide technical

knowledge and professional formation to

all Maltese installers who wish to improve

their workmanship or start a carrier in the

waterproofing business. The Association

also assists its members by providing the

services of a profession advisor when facing

challenging situations or other difficulties

during their works. The Association

also provides its qualified members the

Certified Installers Card. This is done to

reassure the general public that the person

is able to carry out the requested job at its

best. All this is being made possible thanks

to the Resin and Membrane Centre and

NAICI International Academy. For further

information with regards the Malta

Professional Waterproofing and Resin

Flooring Association visit our website on

www.maltawaterproofing.com or call on

27477647.

MBR

Certifications & Standards of a

good quality membrane

For more information:

www.maltawaterproofing.com

+356 27477647

We are Quality

PROFESSIONAL WATERPROOFING MATERIALS & RESIN FLOORINGS

Visit our showroom for professional advice on how to protect your home.

The Resin and Membrane Centre, 264, Old Railway Track, St. Venera

Web: www.theresincentre.com E-mail: info@theresincentre.com Tel: 27 477 647 Mob: 99 477 647

www.mbrpublications.net

63


Malta Business Review

BANKING NEWS

FIMBank announces

USD 5.3 million

profit for 2016

Refocused strategy yields positive results

The FIMBank Group’s return to

profitability is the outcome of a successful

consolidation and turnaround strategy

launched in 2015. This is the highlight of

the Group’s 2016 performance.

FIMBank’s Group Consolidated Audited

Financial Statements show that for the

year ended 31 December 2016, the Group

registered a profit of USD5.3 million,

compared to a loss of USD7.1 million

in 2015. At 31 December 2016, total

Consolidated Assets stood at USD1.74

billion, a substantial increase of 21 per cent

over the USD1.44 billion reported at end

2015, while total Consolidated Liabilities

stood at USD1.57 billion, up by 24 per cent

from USD1.27 billion in 2015. Operating

income before net impairment for 2016

stood at USD46.1 million, at par with

2015 levels. On the other hand, during

the year in review, net interest income

decreased by USD7.6 million to USD22.0

million. Operating expenses decreased

by USD8.3 million, from USD47.0 million

to USD38.7 million. Significantly, “as a

result of energetic and consistent recovery

efforts”, for the second year running

net impairments saw a very significant

decrease, this time by more than 70

per cent, to stand at USD2.3 million,

compared to USD10.3 million in 2015.

Meanwhile, the Board of Directors will not

be recommending a dividend, however,

subject to the Regulator’s approval, the

Board will be recommending a 1 for 80

Bonus Issue of Ordinary Shares by way

of capitalisation of the Share Premium

Account.

According to the FIMBank Group’s

Chairman, Dr John C. Grech, the 2016

financial results “are a vindication of our

steadfast resolve to bring the Group back

on the road to profitability following the

bleak performance of 2014”. He explained

that “after considerable effort and sound

strategic decision-making, today we are in

a position to witness the financial response

to a successful turnaround strategy,

superbly crafted and ably delivered by

FIMBank’s management team, led by our

CEO Murali Subramanian”. Dr Grech also

referred to the fact that “on the back of

consistent support of our controlling

shareholders Fitch Ratings upgraded

FIMBank to BB and its Support Rating to

3 from 5”.

Commenting on the financial results,

FIMBank Group CEO Murali Subramanian

stated that the pillars for the successful

turnaround of the Group’s fortunes post-

2014, included an improved origination

strategy, the harmonisation of FIMBank’s

product offering, exploring new product

opportunities, developing a marketappropriate

risk appetite, as well as the

implementation of cost efficiencies across

the whole Group. “These principles

provided a platform from which FIMBank

has, since then, been successfully

stabilising its performance, growing its

loan book and reversing the negative

financial trend, eventually returning a fullyear

profit by end-2016”.

Mr Subramanian identified the

strengthening of FIMBank’s management

structure, the vigorous implementation

of cost control measures, and the

implementation of a common risk

management framework, as key

contributors to the success of the

turnaround. From an operational

perspective, during 2016 the re-alignment

and streamlining of FIMBank’s international

factoring strategy “proceeded as planned”,

with the ongoing restructuring of business

units across the factoring network.

FIMBank’s CEO highlighted the Bank’s

Shipping, Factoring as well as lending

into selected Real Estate in Malta, as

sectors expected to drive increasingly

important revenue streams to the Group.

He also mentioned the Group’s “successful

approach to the retail depositor market,

thanks to the diversification of our funding

base and a reduction in the overall cost of

funding”.

Referring to the immediate outlook for

the Group, Mr Subramanian said that “We

will evaluate further avenues to diversify

the target sectors wherever viable, in

order to reinforce balance, and rebuild

or consolidate the different portfolios”.

He referred to the macro-economic

outlook as encouraging, and reiterated

management’s intention to continue

monitoring closely developments in all

the markets, “thus allowing us to exploit

opportunities and protect ourselves from

potential external risks to the business”.

FIMBank’s CEO stated that “The overall

objective is to continue growing our

business to more sustainable levels of

profitability, generating greater returns

to shareholders, while strengthening our

balance sheet further”. MBR

FIMBank p.l.c., Mercury Tower, The Exchange Financial & Business Centre, Elia Zammit Street, St. Julian's STJ 3155, Malta

Tel: +356 21322100 - Email: marketing@fimbank.com

64


GLOBAL ECONOMY

Malta Business Review

Deloitte

Global

Economic

Outlook

Q1 2017

As 2017 begins, the global economic

environment is characterized by

new political realities.

In the United States, there is a new

president with ideas and goals different

from those of his predecessor. The US

election has led to higher bond yields

and a higher-valued US dollar based

on expectations of faster growth and

more inflation. In Europe, growth and

inflation have begun to accelerate, yet

unemployment remains stubbornly high

in much of the continent. Meanwhile,

important elections are on the horizon

for both Germany and France, setting the

stage for the policy environment in the

coming year. In Asia, growth is stabilizing,

but risks are piling up in the form of

higher debts and rising trade tensions. In

this edition of Deloitte’s Global Economic

Outlook, economists across the globe

examine the unfolding environment and

offer their thoughts on how things might

evolve.

First, Patricia Buckley discusses the US

economy in light of the election. She notes

that the economy is in “fairly good shape,”

but that the incoming administration has

fiscal plans designed to boost growth

and trade as well as immigration plans

meant to shield the US economy from the

vicissitudes of the global economy.

In the second article, Alexander Börsch

looks back at 2016 and how it was not

a bad year for the Eurozone from an

economic perspective. He discusses how

the current environment sets the stage

for continued moderate growth with rising

inflation. On the other hand, he notes the

political earthquakes that struck Europe

in the past year, such as Brexit and the

Italian referendum, as well as the various

downside risks to Europe’s economy.

In the third article, Dr Ira Kalish looks at

the Chinese economy. He discuss how two

issues in particular are likely to determine

the path of the Chinese economy. First,

trade is top of mind, with exports declining

due to a high-valued currency, rising wages,

and weak external demand. Moreover,

the threat of protectionist action by the

United States makes the trade outlook

uncertain. Second, efforts to cool down an

overheated property market are bearing

fruit but threaten to undermine growth.

Japan is the topic of the fourth article. Dr

Ira Kalish examines how stronger exports

have led to an acceleration in economic

growth. Moreover, the weakness of the

yen bodes well for continued export

growth.

In her article on India, Rumki Majumdar

offers a detailed examination of the

government’s recent and controversial

demonetization. She notes the potentially

disruptive effect of this policy.

Mexico is the subject of our next article

by Jesus Leal Trujillo and Daniel Bachman.

The country has attracted quite a bit of

attention given President Donald Trump’s

talk about renegotiating NAFTA. Jesus and

Danny examine the history of Mexico’s

shift toward freer trade in the past two

decades and the economic impact.

In the next article, Akrur Barua examines

Turkey, an economy with many positive

attributes. However, currently Turkey faces

some significant challenges, including

terrorism, an influx of refugees, slow

growth in export markets, and political

uncertainty.

Lester Gunnion examines the South African

economy in the next article. He points to

relatively slow growth and the necessity

of tight monetary and fiscal policies,

which don’t much help persistently high

unemployment.

In the final article, Akrur Barua and Anshu

Mittal take a look at the global shipping

industry. They discuss the upheavals facing

the industry as a result of excess capacity

and a slowdown in global trade.

The Deloitte Global Economic Outlook Q1

2017 may be downloaded from http://

deloi.tt/2lfr5hq. MBR

www.mbrpublications.net

65


Malta Business Review

NEWSMAKERS

Maltco Lotteries presented

Malta U21 Football Coach

Silvio Vella with Coach of

the Year Award

Maltco Lotteries, sponsored the Sport Malta

Awards for the fifth consecutive year and presented

Coach of the Year Silvio Vella with his award at the

Mediterranean Conference Centre.

Maltco Lotteries, supported the Sport Malta

Awards for the fifth consecutive year and

presented Malta U21 Football Coach Silvio

Vella with the coveted Coach of the Year Award.

Maltco Lotteries broadcast a number of sports

through their U-BET platform. Coach Silvio

Vella, who masterminded the Malta U-21s’

positive run in the European qualifiers, was

presented by David A. Gatt - Maltco Lotteries

Sales & Marketing Director with the Coach

of the Year award in front of an appreciative

audience at the Mediterranean Conference

Centre broadcast live on television. Coach

of the Year Vella obtained 110 points from

the 8 independent juries and was the only

nominated coach to garner a three figure

points score, underlining the tremendous

coaching work in the last Euro Championship

qualifying campaign. Under Vella’s guidance,

the Malta U-21 team gained three wins, beating

Latvia 1-0 at home and 2-1 away, and Moldova

3-2 at home in their final qualifier, played on

October 11. They also figured in two goalless

draws away to Moldova and Montenegro for an

unprecedented tally of 11 points which placed

them above Latvia and Moldova in the group

standings. Malta U-21 team’s feat in collecting

11 points in Group One of the 2017 UEFA U-21

Championship qualifying campaign, a record

for a Maltese national side, meant Coach Vella

had every reason to celebrate his Coach of the

Year title. A spokesperson for the Company

said that it is an honour for Maltco Lotteries to

support this event year after year and to award

the successful coaches and athletes. She also

emphasised on the importance of promoting

all sporting disciplines being practised in Malta

in an effort to boost sports participation in the

country. For further information email info@

maltco.net, visit the Maltco website www.

maltco.com or call 2388 3000. MBR

MALTCO LOTTERIES PRESENT H.E.

MARIE-LOUISE COLEIRO PRECA

WITH CHEQUE FOR €10,000 IN AID

OF THE MALTA COMMUNITY CHEST

FUND FOUNDATION.

Maltco Lotteries, presented Her Excellency,

Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca, President of Malta

with a cheque for €10,000 in support of the

President's Solidarity Fun Run 2016 in aid of the

Malta Community Chest Fund Foundation.

The President’s Solidarity Fun Run brings

together the whole nation in an effort to

help those in need and also promotes the

importance of an active healthy lifestyle

through regular physical activity. The Malta

Community Chest Fund Foundation provides

financial, material and professional support

to people experiencing difficulties because

of severe chronic illness, such as cancer.

The foundation also supports persons with

disability, people in poverty and NGOs through

the Fund for Voluntary Organisations.

Maltco Lotteries CEO Vasileios Kasiotakis said:

Minister for Competitiveness and

Digital, Maritime and Services

Economy Emmanuel Mallia

addressed directors and employees

on the occasion of the celebration

of the thousandth employee to have

been engaged with Betsson Group

in Malta.

Emmanuel Mallia said that it is the Government’s

responsibility to provide the necessary

frameworks, platforms, resources and tools

which will allow Betsson Group and other

companies within the iGaming sector to operate

smoothly and achieve the desired growth in the

years to come. The Minister stressed that it is the

government’s vision that the iGaming industry

is nurtured in order for it to become a leading

driving force in the Maltese economy, achieving

year-on-year growth whilst also attracting

further business and investment.

‘The Government of Malta is committed to

attracting sector leaders such as Betsson Group,

as well as budding start-ups to our shores, and

believes that a symbiotic partnership between

the public sector and such technology- and

innovation-driven business is critical for Malta’s

economic development’, Minister Mallia said.

Betsson presently employs almost 2000 people

from 43 different nationalities with a wage bill

that reaches 40 million a year. Malta has by far

the largest office and company headquarters.

Betsson commenced operations in 2016 and

employed ten people—today it is the largest

iGaming company in Malta. MBR

Minister for Competitiveness and Digital,

Maritime and Services Economy, Emmanuel Mallia

Maltco Lotteries, Malta’s national

lottery brand, presented a cheque

to President Marie Louise Coleiro

for €10,000 in support of the annual

President’s Solidarity Fun Run in aid

of the Malta Community Chest Fund

Foundation.

"Maltco Lotteries supports this event as part

of our community support, with the company

having also mobilised its Agents on behalf of

the Malta Community Chest Fund Foundation.

Maltco Lotteries is pleased to combine with

the enthusiasm and generosity of the Maltese

people to raise funds for such a worthy cause."

For further information email info@maltco.net,

visit the Maltco website www.maltco.com.mt

or call 2388 3000. MBR

NEW STUDY: A European

Statute for Social and

Solidarity-Based Enterprise

Social enterprises (SE) are subject to ad hoc

legislation in an increasing number of EU

jurisdictions and legislative initiatives in this

field are under consideration by EU institutions.

This paper explains why tailor-made legislation

on SE is essential for the development of this

unconventional form of business organization.

It describes and compares existing models of SE

regulation and discusses the core elements of

an SE’s legal identity, with the aim of providing

recommendations on the potential forms and

contents of an EU legal statute on this subject.

This study was requested by the European

Parliament’s Committee on Legal Affairs and

commissioned, overseen and published by

the Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and

Constitutional Affairs. MBR

66


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