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COVER STORY

ONE-ON-ONE

MiGEA 2019

MiGEA 2019

A FORCE FOR GOOD

IN SOCIETY

FRANS TIMMERMANS, FIRST VICE PRESIDENT

OF THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION

THE HEART OF PLAY’N GO

IS ITS PEOPLE

AN IMPERATIVE TO

DIVERSIFY

Interview with Frederick Schembri,

Managing Director,

Aurobindo Pharma Ltd p.06

Exclusive with Frans Timmermans,

the Socialist Candidate for European Commission

President p.16

Interview with Thomas Mahoney,

Communications Manager,

Play’n GO p.28

Interview with Yossi Barzely,

Chief Business Development Officer,

Pragmatic Play p.32

MALTA BUSINESS REVIEW

ISSUE 51 | 2019

Newspaper Post


Approved and issued by HSBC Bank Malta p.l.c, (116, Archbishop Street, Valletta VLT1444), which is a public limited company regulated by the Malta Financial

Services Authority and licensed to carry out the business of banking in terms of the Banking Act (Cap.371 of the Laws of Malta). (Ref No. 106453 – 04/2019)


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Together we thrive


Malta Business Review

CONTENTS

Issue 51

32 AN IMPERATIVE TO DIVERSIFY

Interview with Yossi Barzely, Chief Business Development

Officer, Pragmatic Play.

34 WAZDAN HONOURED WITH TWO

PRESTIGIOUS MIGEA AWARDS

WAZDAN’s superb performance during MiGEA nets them

Malta’s Best Gaming New Slots Developer and Malta’s Best

iGaming Online Product of the Year.

SPECIAL FEATURE

06

42 THE PSYCHOLOGICAL BENEFITS TO HAVING

A DOG IN THE OFFICE ARE GREAT FOR YOUR

MENTAL HEALTH

Let’s find out why dogs make lots of people feel great,

especially in the office.

COVER STORY

06 A FORCE FOR GOOD IN SOCIETY...

DEFINING INSPIRATIONAL LEADERSHIP


Interview with Frederick Schembri, Managing Director,

Aurobindo Pharma Ltd.

EU ELECTIONS

08 VOTEWATCH: EU ELECTION REPORT

Synopsis of 2019 EU Election results.

16 28

ONE-ON-ONE

16 FRANS TIMMERMANS, FIRST VICE PRESIDENT

OF THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION

Exclusive with Frans Timmermans, the Socialist candidate

for European Commission president.

MALTA’S GAMING EXCELLENCE

AWARDS 2019

28 THE HEART OF PLAY’N GO IS ITS PEOPLE

Interview with Thomas Mahoney, Communications

Manager, Play’n GO.

SIMON

ESTATES

OUR GOLDEN PARTNERS

FEATURES

44 CLIMATE CHANGE

32 34

European Parliament’s ‘This Time I’m Voting’ campaign

went to Gozo with a public discussion on the EU’s Roadmap

to fighting climate change.

45 THE ROBOTS ARE COMING (TO RECYCLE...)

By 2025, we will generate 2.2 billion tonnes of waste a day.

AI has a role to play in helping us sift through such giant

amounts of rubbish.

47 A PORTAL FOR JOURNEYS INTO THE MYSTICAL

PATH OF THE GRAPE


By Special Correspondent

Vini e Capricci’s special food and wine event by Abraham‘s.

4


MALTA

BUSINESS REVIEW

Malta Business Review

The results of the European election have been announced. The huge rise

in voter turnout — participation surged across the EU to over 50 percent

for the first time in at least two decades — is perhaps the best argument

Parliament has in its quest to challenge EU leaders on who will determine

the next Commission president. However, it was not the case in Malta, were

massive drops in each electoral district proved fateful to the Opposition

Nationalist Party, as Prime Minister Joseph Muscat continues to ride the

crest of a wave of popularity.

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roses, When pleasant sights salute the eyes And

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The Nationalist Party has suffered yet another – somewhat foreseen and

inevitable trashing, which, if one wants to be honest to oneself, is mainly

self-inflicted. It is now evident that as new voters move closer to Labour, traditional Nationalist

supporters are deserting the PN, as the voting patterns with a message of dissent and quest for

internal change, clearly show.

Adrian Delia, and his inner circle of aides and advisers, must now assume full responsibility and

immediately resign. Every additional day they remain in office is a hemorrhage of votes in the PN’s

belly and a lost opportunity for the PN to start preparing for its next big contest: the general election.

Should Adrian Delia stay on, then the outcome of the next general election will be even saddening

for the party championing democracy values, and inevitably the broken pieces can never be patched

together again, since the consequences will be shattering for the PN.

Together with Dr Delia and his closest ‘aides’, the party’s highest organs, not least the parliamentary

group, also need to be held accountable and a general re-structuring from top-to-bottom needs

to be done, if the PN truly holds any chance of gaining votes come next election. They allowed an

evidently unpleasant and incompetent state of affairs to deteriorate because they did not want

to stand up and be counted, and because of change resistant factors within the PN. This should

also spell the end of the road for them, too, unless they pluck up the courage and publicly declare

enough is enough. Better late than never.

Well, after having been living in Malta all my lifetime, I must concede that it obviously strikes me

harder that when you become part, you are unable to notice the incremental decay. It is saddening

to be confronted with such obvious changes in the wrong direction. Apart from the political

shenanigans, there is one concrete slab building right next to the other and the potholes in the road

keep getting bigger. The island, which never was blessed with lush vegetation, is now taking the turn

towards the concrete jungle. This is just my observation- the Maltese decide on how they want their

island to look like. You get an idea of what I mean when you open the In-Flight Magazine from Air

Malta, about 50% of the contents is promotion for real estate....

Reading the news one has the impression, that there is nothing but corruption, fraud and crime on

the island- all sanctioned by a corrupt institution and sanctioned, or tolerated by the people of Malta.

What happened in Austria recently is a way how corruption and fraud in government circles can

be handled. Austria is a country which, in the past, has had a reputation of deep political scandals

and corruption. When I visited Vienna in the 80ies, it was evident you could not get anything done

without a bribe.

Apparently things can change. But that change has to come from within - it cannot come from the

outside. In that respect I guess Malta has the government it deserves (elected). I do not see any

changes in the near future - it will have to happen in the longer term, but complacency never has

been an accelerator for change.

I am not sure that my impression is correct, that the educational level in Malta has deteriorated

drastically in the past years. When I mentioned it to a friend of mine, he said that he agreed with

that impression. Several years ago, many people seemed to speak English, sometimes a little funny,

but it was understandable. There also was an English speaking channel on TV back then. Now, almost

everybody seems to speak Maltese and very few people do speak an understandable English. This was

very obvious to me when I spoke and listened to local people. Could it be that the majority of Maltese

have bought into the nationalistic populism, which both the PL and the PN seem to propagate?

I, for my case, have decided not to read the online news portals every day in the morning, as I used

to- it is too depressing every time I do and there is nothing I can do about it- It has to come from

within, as I mentioned before.

Wishing you a good read.

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.

Agents for:

www.maltabusinessreview.net

5


Malta Business Review

COVER STORY INTERVIEW

A FORCE FOR

Photos by Karl Paul Baldacchino

GOOD IN SOCIETY…

DEFINING INSPIRATIONAL LEADERSHIP

By Martin Vella

Aurobindo Pharma Ltd’s exponential

growth renders it a global success

story. With a three billion US

dollar turnover and producing

26 billion dosage forms per annum, it is

ranked the 12 th largest generic company in

the world. Aurobindo first came to Malta

under the invite of Malta Enterprise in

the summer of 2007. A decade later and

with a combined investment of twenty

million Euros, Aurobindo Malta employs

over 160 highly qualified personnel

offering analytical and logistical services

to numerous leading pharmaceutical

manufacturers at a pan European level.

We talk exclusively to an exceptional individual

regarding his ground-breaking achievements

in industry and his unique approach

to leadership, which have earned him much

respect and acclaim. Frederick Schembri,

Managing Director Aurobindo Pharma Ltd,

knows a great deal about growth, leadership

and success. When people talk about

Frederick, they mention his perseverance,

drive, confidence and integrity. These exceptional

qualities combined with one other

ingredient, “grit,” is what drives Frederick’s

core desire to continuously improve

and what he deems as absolutely necessary

for his continued success.

Frederick is the catalyst behind the Malta

operations and he is synonymous with

the local pharmaceutical industry. He

is a proficient executive with a proven

record of accomplishments spanning

twenty-five years’ in highly regulated

manufacturing industries and having a

broad management experience with a

specialisation in the integrated global

supply chain. Mr Schembri was also

involved in a number of mergers and

acquisitions and is the author behind five

pharmaceutical start-ups both locally and

overseas, including operations in Asia.

He is a multi-talented individual with

discerning knowledge and experience in

the corporate world. Known for his uncanny

ability to motivate and drive forward, his

uniqueness spans across industry as he

delivers outstanding results.

His success over the years is mainly

attributed to his vision and leadership

style. When you meet Frederick it is clearly

evident that he approaches any task and

challenge with undeniable determination,

passion, dedication and selflessness. He is

an extremely charismatic individual with

a very rare quality, a kind heart, which he

admits, some may perceive as a weakness;

however, he believes that this innate

characteristic is what actually makes him

a stronger and more grounded person and

effective leader.

In June 2018, Frederick was appointed as

President of the Board of Governors of

Malta’s Vocational College namely MCAST,

6


COVER STORY INTERVIEW

Malta Business Review

with the objective of developing collaborations

between industry and educators.

His vision for vocational education is set

in the context of collaborative initiatives

with industry, which offers a new kind of

technical educational experience. This

approach is one which our country and

economy desperately needs and which

is vital for the development of the kind

of skills the young generation require to

compete in the global market.

In this interview with The Malta Business

Review, we wanted to gain a better insight

into the man who inspires so many and to

understand why he gained such a strong

reputation for success

MBR: What motivates you most to

achieve business success?

FS: A passion for people and those that I

work with. The key to achieving success

in business is through the development

of others. By developing a team-oriented

environment, employees can contribute to

the overall success of the organization.

MBR: Which are the values that inspire

you to lead?

FS: The highest quality for leadership is

absolute integrity. Rules and standards are

only one part of the story and they may

not be sufficient, however, principles are.

A person that values his privileges above

his principles ultimately loses both.

MBR: Who was your early mentor?

FS: I have been fortunate to meet a

number of colourful people during my

travels and have made a few good friends

along the years. An interesting associate I

have known for years is a Parsi with a zeal

for life. We travelled extensively together

across India and shared endless hours in

airports and railway stations whereby he

would narrate numerous experiences.

One piece of advice that resonated was

“if you wish to live happily, do not multiply

possessions, but reduce wants”.

MBR: Which books are currently on your

bedside table?

FS: I have a distinct passion for books.

Always have a number of books started and

read according to the mood. At present, I

am reading:

Meditations by Marcus Aurelius, Sugar in Milk

by Bakhtiar K Dadabhoy, Post-Democracy by

Colin Crouch and Paradise-lost by Milton.

MBR: If you had the world’s attention for

30 seconds, what would you say?

FS: Learn something new every day, and

embark on the customs of performing

a spontaneous act of kindness. For it is

through learning and generosity that

we develop our better selves. Giving

spontaneously has a remarkable effect on

the receiver and is essential to our wellbeing

as it liberates us from obsession,

selfishness and isolation. You may feel

that you have little to offer however, in

the end, it is the act itself which actually

matters.

MBR: How do you plan for future success?

FS: As with many other industries, we

are facing an ever-increasing complex

and changing business environment.

Thus, I always look at how we can be

more responsive in our ways of working

MCAST Graduations 2018

The key to achieving success in business is through the

development of others. By developing a team-oriented

environment, employees can contribute to the overall

success of the organization.

to enable us to respond effectively to

predictable, as well as unpredictable

business challenges. Philosopher and

author Eric Hoffer once said, “In times of

change, learners inherit the earth, while

the learned find themselves beautifully

equipped to deal with a world that no

longer exists.”

These words resonate and shed light on

a major truth for me: We must always be

learning. No matter how many years of

formal schooling one may have, and no

matter how far up the corporate ladder

you have climbed, there will always be

something new to learn. There will always

be new environments and circumstances

to adapt to. MBR

www.maltabusinessreview.net

7


Malta Business Review

EP ELECTION WATCH

Key take-aways:

what the outcome

of the EU elections

will bring

As the dust settles and the emotion dissipates across the

continent, we now need to look at the future. Here are

our main take-aways that indicate what we can expect

EU decision-making to look like in the coming years:

n Higher turn-out in EU elections means that the debates with

regard to the decisions made in Brussels in the past years

resonated among the publics in the member states. Higher

interest has been noted all through the campaign, including on

our special platform built to show what MEPs have done during

the past 5 years: our www.yourvotematters.eu was a key source

of information for over 2 million citizens (twice as much as 5

years ago);

n The higher turn-out did not prevent (but in some cases

contributed to) the traditional parties losing substantial ground

to a variety of new-comers: they lost to the centrist liberaldemocrats,

to the leftist greens and to right-wing conservatives.

We can expect further transformations of the European political

spectrum in the years to come;

n The big winner of these elections is ALDE-Renaissance. Not

(just) because it gained substantially in absolute numbers,

but because its position has become vital for making any sort

of coalition. No matter how you combine the political forces,

you simply can’t skip ALDE-Renaissance if you want to reach

a majority: a broad pro-EU coalition, a center-left coalition

or a center-right coalition cannot pass the 50% threshold

without ALDE-Rennaissance. Already in the previous EP term

ALDE won more votes than both EPP and S&D – this trend will

increase further;

n The smaller-than-expected gap between the EPP and S&D

(combined with poor results of both) will make it harder for EPP

to push through their (initial) candidate for the Presidency of

the Commission. Despite that, Weber looked last night almost

as confident as Juncker looked in his election’s night speech 5

years ago. So did Timmermans. The most realistic scenario is

that both of them will get a job and that of Timmermans will be

other than the EC Presidency. Macron-Merkel talks will be the

key to give us the names of the persons to hold the top posts.

n Paradoxically, Macron lost in France, but won in Europe.

Although En Marche scored behind Marine Le Pen at home, it

won just enough to make Macron the key player in the new

ALDE-Rennaissance force. The big question that remains is how

cohesive/united ALDE-Rennaissance will be in the next EP term

under En Marche’s dominance (precedents point to a low level

of cohesion of this group);

n EPP and Socialists remain the strongest groups mainly because of

the smaller countries. From among the big EU countries, these

two traditional forces have won only in Germany (EPP) and Spain

(PES/S&D). They were hit by tsunamis in France, Italy (in the case

of EPP), Poland and, in the case of the Socialists, also in Germany

(and the UK*). The S&D will be, nevertheless, stronger than

forecast thanks to their good results in Spain and Italy.

n Just as 5 years ago, EPP manages to edge the Socialists thanks to

its Central Eastern European strongholds. Even in Romania and

Bulgaria, where the Socialists were above EPP in the surveys, the

outcome turned out to be the other way around. In Romania in

particular, the troubled PSD was dealt a blow by the electorate

despite its “efforts” to make it as hard as possible for the

Romanian diaspora (the largest intra-EU foreign community) to

vote. In a telling but twisted turn of events, the Dutch riot police

ended up using physical force against the Romanian voters who

were still waiting (“too enthusiastically”) at the door of the their

embassy in the Hague when the polls were closed before they

had a chance to cast their ballots;

n The smaller EPP-S&D gap will also make it even harder for

the EPP to lose any of their members, ie. FIDESZ, who scored

very high in Hungary and would be EPP’s third largest national

party delegation;

n The League was confirmed as the largest party in Italy and

Salvini will take the opportunity to show to the EPP that they

are needed. The same goes for the PiS, who won in Poland.

Mirroring the situation on the left side, the Greens, who did

very well in Germany and France, will pressure the S&D.

n All in all, the next EP will be more fragmented than ever and,

in legislative practice, coalitions will continue to be made on an

issue by by issue basis. Majorities will be smaller and the votes

of a few MEPs will make the difference. MBR

Credit: VoteWatch; secretariat@votewatcheurope.eu

8


TAX CRIMES

Malta Business Review

The recommendations, adopted by 505 votes in favour, 63

against and 87 abstentions, were prepared over a year

by Parliament’s Special Committee on Financial Crimes,

Tax Evasion and Tax Avoidance (TAX3). They range from

overhauling the system to deal with financial crimes, tax evasion

and tax avoidance, notably by improving cooperation in all areas

between the multitude of authorities involved, to setting up new

bodies at EU and global level.

The numerous findings and recommendations include:

n The Commission should start work immediately on a proposal

for a European financial police force and an EU financial

intelligence unit;

Tax crimes

MEPs want EU financial police

force and financial intelligence unit

By John Schranz

n An EU anti-money laundering watchdog should be set up;

n A global tax body should be established within the UN;

n There is a lack of political will in member states to tackle tax

evasion/avoidance and financial crime;

n Seven EU countries (Belgium, Cyprus, Hungary, Ireland,

Luxembourg, Malta and The Netherlands) display traits of a tax

haven and facilitate aggressive tax planning;

n Golden visas and passports should be phased out, with those

offered by Malta and Cyprus singled out for their weak due

diligence;

n Denmark, Finland, Ireland and Sweden criticised for maintaining

their opposition to the digital services tax;

n Several European banks have been involved in the Russian

‘Troika Laundromat’ money-laundering, including Danske

Bank, Swedbank AB, Nordea Bank Abp, ING Groep NV, Credit

Agricole SA, Deutsche Bank AG, KBC Group NV, Raiffeisen Bank

International AG, ABN Amro Group NV, Cooperatieve Rabobank

U.A. and the Dutch unit of Turkiye Garanti Bankasi A.S;

n The Netherlands, by facilitating aggressive tax planning, deprives

other EU member states of EUR 11.2 billion of tax income;

n The cum-ex fraud scheme clearly shows that multilateral, not

bilateral, tax treaties are the way forward;

n Whistleblowers and investigative journalists must be much

better protected and an EU fund to help investigative journalists

should be set up.

A press conference by the committee Chair, Petr Ježek and the two

co-rapporteurs, Luděk Niedermayer and Jeppe Kofod, will be held

at 15.30 and can be viewed here.

Quotes

The chair of the special committee, Petr Ježek (ALDE, CZ), said:

“Member states are not doing enough and in the EU, the Council

is clearly the weakest link. Without political will, there can be no

progress. Europeans deserve better.”

Co-rapporteur, Luděk Niedermayer (EPP, CZ), said: “The growing

interconnectedness of our economies as well as the digitalisation

of the economy need to be addressed more systematically as they

affect taxation. Yet many areas of taxation must remain a member

state competence and those who pay their taxes must not face

extra red tape.”

Co-rapporteur, Jeppe Kofod (S&D, DK), said: “This report is the

result of the most comprehensive work ever done by the European

Parliament on tax evasion and avoidance. Within the EU we need

a minimum corporate tax rate, an end to tax competition and to

make it more difficult to bring dirty money in.” MBR

The European Parliament has adopted

a detailed roadmap towards fairer and

more effective taxation, and tackling

financial crimes.

BACKGROUND

Following continued revelations over the last five years

(Luxleaks, the Panama Papers, Football leaks and the

Paradise papers), the European Parliament decided to

establish a Special Committee on Financial Crimes, Tax

Evasion and Tax Avoidance (TAX3), on 1 March 2018.

The report adopted today concludes the committee’s yearlong

mandate, which saw it hold 18 hearings dealing with

particular topics of interest, 10 exchange of views with

finance ministers and European Commissioners, and four

fact-finding missions – to the US, the Isle of Man, Denmark

and Estonia, and Latvia.

www.maltabusinessreview.net

9


Malta Business Review

BANKING REPORT

John Bonello (left) and Sonny Portelli

John Bonello appointed new

HSBC Malta Chairman

John Bonello has been appointed as the new Chairman

of HSBC Bank Malta p.l.c., succeeding Sonny Portelli who

announced his decision to step down after 12 years of

service, during the AGM held in April. Sonny Portelli will be

retiring as Chairman and Director of the Bank upon regulatory

approval of the new Chairman.

John Bonello was appointed as Non-Executive Director of HSBC

Malta in July 2013 and is presently Chairman of the Bank’s

Audit Committee and Member of the Bank’s Risk Committee.

John Bonello is a Chartered Accountant and a Certified Public

Accountant and was formerly the Chairman and Senior Partner of

PwC in Malta, retiring from this post in December 2009.

Andrew Beane, Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of

HSBC Malta, said: “I would like to pay tribute to our Chairman

Sonny Portelli after 12 years of service. Sonny has chaired our

Bank with distinction through a period of unprecedented change

in the financial services industry. He leaves with our thanks and

admiration, and we wish him and his family well for the future.

“I am delighted to congratulate John Bonello on his appointment,

subject to regulatory approval, as the next Chairman of HSBC

Malta. John has been a Non-Executive Director of HSBC Malta for

nearly six years and already knows our business very well. The

high regard with which John is held locally and across the HSBC

Group makes him ideally placed to lead HSBC Malta’s Board in the

next phase of our strategy.”

Sonny Portelli said: “It has been an honour and a privilege to serve

as the Chairman of HSBC Malta for the past 12 years. Throughout

this period I have worked with a talented and determined HSBC

executive team, and I wish them all the best for the future. I also

want to take this opportunity to extend my congratulations to

John on his appointment who I am sure will lead HSBC Malta with

eminent leadership and strategic vision. As a Bank, we believe in

doing the right thing, so it is only befitting that I step down after

serving for 12 consecutive years, the maximum term possible, as

mandated by the best practice governance guidelines.”

John Bonello said: “I would like to extend my best wishes and thanks

to my colleague and friend Sonny. He has been an exceptional

Chairman of our Board during a period of great change in our

Bank. His experience and personal qualities have enabled him to

lead the Board with unwavering courage and integrity.

“I am greatly honoured that the majority shareholders have placed

their trust in me by appointing me Chairman. As we enter the next

phase, our Board will continue to support our executive and management

teams as they build a stronger and safer customer-focused

Bank in the interests of our depositors, our customers, our shareholders,

our people, our brand and the jurisdiction as a whole.” MBR

10


BANKING REPORT

Malta Business Review

HSBC Malta appoints

seasoned banker as

Executive Director and

new Head of Business

Development

Michel Cordina will drive growth

from the bank’s core business

HSBC Bank Malta p.l.c. has announced that Michel

Cordina has been appointed as Executive Director on

the HSBC Bank Malta p.l.c. Board. Michel has also been

appointed as the bank’s first Executive Head of Business

Development, a new role created to usher the bank in its new

phase of growth.

Michel Cordina has been the Head of the bank’s Commercial

Business for the past eight years.

HSBC Malta CEO Andrew Beane said: “Michel is a seasoned banker

and has a wealth of experience and we look forward to seeing

Michel’s remarkable energy driving growth from our core business

and from HSBC’s signature strength as the world’s leading

international bank.”

Michel started his banking career in 1981 with Mid-Med Bank

Limited and joined HSBC in 1999. He has worked in various areas

of banking in both Personal Banking and Commercial Banking

business units. He has also led a number of operational and support

functions of the bank. Michel has occupied various executive roles

within HSBC Malta including, Deputy Head of Operations and Head

of Business Transformation. He was also the Programme Manager

responsible for bringing the HSBC UK Contact Centre to Malta. In

2010, Michel was seconded to HSBC Commercial Banking in London

where he performed the role of Head of Sales Performance.

I am honoured and privileged to be

appointed as a Director on the bank’s

Board and very excited to take on this new

executive role in my more than 37-yearlong

association with the bank.

In his new capacity, Michel will work with all global businesses and

functions to develop the bank’s business with the bank’s primary

clients and external stakeholders as it focuses on a balanced

return to growth. Facilitating growth in HSBC’s corporate business

will be a particular priority.

Michel said: “I am honoured and privileged to be appointed as

a Director on the bank’s Board and very excited to take on this

new executive role in my more than 37-year-long association with

the bank. I am fortunate to be part of the HSBC Group and I look

forward to strengthening our business in Malta and connecting

our customers to opportunities, enabling them to thrive and

supporting the Maltese economy to prosper.” MBR

www.maltabusinessreview.net

11


Malta Business Review

BANKING REPORT

FIMBank holds its 2019 Annual General Meeting

FIMBank plc recently held its Annual General Meeting

at the Hilton. An overview of the key elements which

led to the Group’s results for 2018 was given to all

shareholders present.

During his presentation to the shareholders, FIMBank Group CEO

Murali Subramanian explained that the performance across the

Group in 2018 was characterised by growth in the forfaiting, factoring,

local real estate financing, and shipping businesses. He highlighted

the fact that London Forfaiting Company Ltd (LFC) reported its highest

profit ever since being acquired by FIMBank in 2003. Moreover, at

the end of 2018, Egypt Factors had returned to its first full year of

profit since the acquisition of the company by the Group in 2016.

He added that in 2018, his team “vigorously pursued the further

upgrading of FIMBank’s asset origination and product differentiation

efforts. Further improvements in operational efficiencies also allowed

it to continue making inroads into greater revenue generation, while

optimising on its capital and funding resources.”

Mr Subramanian also pointed out that the past years “have been

marked by rapid changes in the nature of our business and the

technology which supports it. During 2018, we were successful

in keeping up with these developments, primarily by attracting

and retaining the best talent, and by maintaining a leading edge

in our Information Technology capabilities. Amongst others, in the

year under review we embarked on the upgrading of the Bank’s

core system.” The FIMBank CEO concluded that going forward

“the Group is expected to continue evolving within rigorous

parameters and frameworks, aimed to solidify its origination and

risk processes, achieving growth at a sustainable pace.”

The Chairman of the FIMBank Group, Dr John C. Grech said

that “The Bank’s performance, despite the myriad of challenges

The Bank has developed a reputation

for trustworthiness and reliability, as

we continue building strong banking

relationships with our varied clientele.

faced throughout the year, reflects the resilience of our dynamic

business model. It bolsters our commitment and resolve to

respond to future challenges, ensuring sustainability for the years

to come.”

The Group Chief Financial Officer Ronald Mizzi went on to explain

that FIMBank’s Consolidated Audited Financial Statements show

that for the year ended 31 December 2018, the Group registered

an after-tax profit of USD10.2 million, compared to an after-tax

profit of USD7.7 million in 2017.

Mr Mizzi referred to the 2018 USD105 million Rights Issue

as a key milestone in the Bank’s progression which enabled

it to strengthen its capital base. He explained that during

2018 revenues from core operating assets have strengthened

and with continued investment in the Group’s resources,

FIMBank can continue building on solid foundations, scale the

operations and keep transforming the business for better and

higher returns.

In his concluding remarks to the AGM, Dr Grech highlighted

that FIMBank is celebrating its 25 year anniversary. He said that

the Bank “has developed a reputation for trustworthiness and

reliability, as we continue building strong banking relationships

with our varied clientele. When looking back at our achievements,

we must highlight the importance and consistent support of all

our stakeholders, without whom we would not have achieved

such significant results across the years.”

Shareholders approved resolutions to declare a 1:30 bonus share

issue by capitalisation of the share premium account. MBR

For further information about FIMBank plc please visit

www.fimbank.com

12


Malta Business Review

www.maltabusinessreview.net

13


Malta Business Review

ICT

HOW CLOUD CONSTRUCTION

SOFTWARE CAN DO THE HEAVY LIFTING

AND TRANSFORM YOUR BUSINESS

Whereas in the past, a physical

computer or server were

necessary in order to run

an application, cloud-based

computing gives users access to software

applications that run on the internet.

Businesses are increasingly moving to the

cloud to increase efficiency, information

flow, collaboration, and absolute flexibility.

As exclusive resellers of Acumatica Cloud

ERP in Malta, our team at Computime

Software shares three key benefits of

cloud-based accounting software built

specifically for the construction industry.

1. Real-time access to your business

applications

Perhaps the major benefit cloud computing

can offer is that it allows you to set up what

is essentially a virtual office. This provides

all back office and onsite construction

workers the flexibility in their work

practices by enabling immediate access to

current data. So as long as you have access

to an internet connection, you can work

efficiently.

Indeed, those working remotely or in the

field can enter important data on their

device and have it automatically synced

within the ERP system, thus providing

insights across an organisation without

delay. When a team has full, up-to-date

visibility and can access, share, and

edit documents anytime, anywhere, it

increases collaboration and improves

decision making.

2. Mobility through a native app

Modern cloud construction software such

as the Acumatica Construction Edition

provides secure remote access through a

native mobile app. This empowers onsite

workers in the construction industry with

a single source of real-time data such as

revenue and costs. It also gives them the

ability to check intuitive dashboards from

their mobile device, manage contracts,

view change orders, and exchange

information with customers, suppliers, and

contractors.

3. Reduced IT costs

Managing and maintaining IT systems can

be costly, so many construction companies

are moving towards a Software as a Service

(SaaS) model instead of purchasing software

outright, thus moving to a cloud-based

construction accounting software means

paying much less upfront. Furthermore,

rather than using a traditional per user

pricing model, Acumatica has a unique,

all-inclusive user licensing model which

encourages usage of the system across the

entire organisation.

Transform your construction business

with remote access, real-time data, and

streamlined processes

From Accounting, Project and Field

Management to CRM, the Acumatica

Construction Edition offers a full set of

construction management functionality,

which coupled the Acumatica mobile

app, creates a seamless flow of data

between the field and the back office. This

allows you to run the entire construction

cycle more efficiently and provides your

employees access to real-time insights for

improved decision making.

For more information on how Computime

Software can help your business improve

margins and project control at all stages

of home, multi-family, commercial, mixeduse,

land development, and government

projects, visit www.computimesoftware.

com/acumatica-erp/construction-edition/ or

email info@computimesoftware.com. MBR

14


Malta Business Review

ONE-ON-ONE

FRANS

TIMMERMANS

First Vice President of the

European Commission

Can a candidate really get momentum

in a 28-country European election

often dominated by national and

local issues? To the extent that it’s

possible, Frans Timmermans, the Socialist

candidate for European Commission

president, has that momentum. In the

last month he’s seen socialist leaders win

national elections in Finland and Spain,

and been boosted by the U.K. taking part

in the European election (Labour is on

track to send 20 MEPs to Brussels). Last

week he won the audience vote in the

Maastricht presidential debate, and now

Hungary’s prime minister is refusing to

back his Conservative rival Manfred Weber.

All of that means that Timmermans is now

within striking distance of Weber.

Asked what he’d do differently to current

Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker,

Timmermans focused on tax and

communication. EU governments are “not

capable anymore, individually, to tax big

companies. These big companies have

become so big they can arm-twist states

into allowing them to make billion in profits

and pay no tax. Only Europe can fix this,” he

said. What’s his plan? Timmermans would

like the EU to set a minimum corporate

tax rate of 18 percent, and allow tax

competition only above this rate. He also

wants to be on tour: not to government

buildings, but to workplaces and homes

and town squares across Europe.

Timmermans likes to disarm election

crowds and interviewers with surprising

turns of phrase. “I have no problems with

Euroskeptics,” he said. Having grabbed

EU Confidential’s attention, he added: “I

have problems with the Europhobes, the

people who will say they will save Europe

by destroying the European Union.”

It’s a similar story on migration. “We can

only have an open Europe if we have

control over who comes in. An open

Europe doesn’t mean open to everyone,”

he said, before complaining about the lack

of solidarity between EU governments in

2015 and 2016 when the “situation was

out of control.”

His other big goals are global: “I would make

every single commissioner responsible for

a part of the 17 Sustainable Development

Goals” of the United Nations. How will he

fund all that sustainability? Not through

fuel taxes in the style proposed (and

quickly dropped) by France’s Emmanuel

Macron, but via increased corporate taxes

which he would put “directly into the

climate transition.” MBR

Courtesy: POLITICO SPRL

I have no problems

with Euroskeptics.

“I have problems with

the Europhobes, the

people who will say

they will save Europe

by destroying the

European Union.

Franciscus Cornelis Gerardus

Maria Timmermans is a Dutch

politician and diplomat serving as

First Vice-President of the European

Commission and European

Commissioner for Better Regulation,

Interinstitutional Relations, the

Rule of Law and the Charter of

Fundamental Rights since 2014.

16


SECTION TITLE

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WE INSTALL ANY TYPE

OF AIRCONDITION UNITS

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FROM HIGH WALL TO

CONCEALED UNITS INCLUDING

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www.audiomalta.com

info@audiomalta.com

fb.com/audiomalta


Malta Business Review

YACHTING

NEW

GUIDELINES

REGARDING

THE VAT

TREATMENT OF

YACHT LEASING

Following the introduction of the new yacht leasing model in

Malta, Chris Cini, Legal Director at Equiom Malta, outlines

the key takeaways and how it impacts the yachting sector.

As you are probably aware, the Maltese authorities have

published new guidelines relating to the place of supply of the

hiring of pleasure yachts. The new guidelines are applicable to

operating lease structures and provide clarity on the manner in

which the use and enjoyment of pleasure yachts is to be treated

for VAT purposes.

The guidelines specify that the level of use and enjoyment of

the yacht in EU territorial waters shall determine the VAT to be

incurred on the hiring of a yacht, the supply of which shall take

place in Malta. As a result, no VAT shall be due on the portion of

the lease where the yacht is effectively used and enjoyed outside

EU territorial waters.

The new guidelines follow the principle set out in Article 59a of the

EU VAT Directive which grants Member States specific discretion to

deal with the quantification of a yacht’s sailing within EU territorial

waters to ‘prevent double taxation, non-taxation or distortion

of competition’. The said discretion shall be vested in the Malta

Commissioner for Revenue in cases where a pleasure yacht is put at

the disposal of the lessee in Malta and therefore such lease shall fall

within the remit of Malta VAT.

Conditions

The below conditions need to be fulfilled for the guidelines to apply:

n A Maltese entity, to own the private yacht and act as the lessor,

is to be established and VAT registered in Malta.

n The lessor will enter into a long-term yacht lease agreement

with a non-taxable third party (Maltese / non-Maltese).

n The conditions of the lease, including its duration and the

consideration to be paid by the lessee to the lessor, shall be

agreed contractually between the parties.

n The yacht must be placed at the disposal of the lessee in Malta

(to occur on the execution of the lease agreement).

n Prior approval in writing must be sought from the Malta VAT

Department confirming the application of Malta VAT based on

effective use and enjoyment.

n The effective use and enjoyment of the yacht in EU territorial

waters is evidence based and the lessor is required to obtain

from the lessee documentary and/or technological data to

demonstrate the yacht’s movements within / outside EU waters.

n An annual declaration is to be submitted by the lessor with the

Commissioner for Revenue within the prescribed timeframe.

Effective use & enjoyment

The guidelines lay down rules for the assessment of a preliminary

ratio on the basis of which VAT shall initially be declared and paid

to the Malta VAT Department on submission of the VAT returns by

the lessor.

The guidelines further provide an adjustment mechanism which

shall ensure that VAT which has been declared and paid is based

on the actual use and enjoyment of the yacht by the lessee in EU

territorial waters for each preceding year, leading to the actual ratio.

No penalties or interest shall be levied on such VAT adjustments

provided that these are in conformity with the guidelines.

This method shall ensure that VAT being declared and paid over

the full term of the lease tallies with the actual use and enjoyment

of the yacht by the lessee in EU territorial waters.

For more information regarding the new guidelines, contact me

on chriscini@equiomgroup.com

This article has been carefully prepared, but it has been written

in general terms and should be seen as broad guidance only.

The article cannot be relied upon to cover specific situations and

you should not act, or refrain from acting, upon the information

contained therein without obtaining specific professional advice.

Please contact Equiom to discuss these matters in the context

of your particular circumstance. Equiom Group, its partners,

employees and agents do not accept or assume any liability or

duty of care for any loss arising from any action taken or not taken

by anyone in reliance on the information in this article or for any

decision based on it. MBR

Equiom (Malta) Limited is authorised to act as a trustee and

fiduciary services provider by the Malta Financial Services

Authority.

18


The Equiom Way

We are a global professional services provider,

working with you to navigate the twists and turns

on the journey towards achieving your ambitions.

Our proactivity and passion for progress will guide

you forward, going beyond exceptional service to

develop deep and meaningful client relationships.

We provide an unrivalled breadth of bespoke

end-to-end wealth protection and business

support services to private clients, corporate

clients and funds.

We deliver those services 'The Equiom Way' – with

passion, reliability and responsiveness.

equiomgroup.com/malta

Equiom (Malta) Limited is authorised to act as a trustee and fiduciary

services provider by the Malta Financial Services Authority.


Malta Business Review

GOZO EXPO AND GOZO BUSINESS AWARDS

2019

Gozo Minister Launches the

First Ever Gozo Expo and the

Gozo Business Awards 2019

Imagine if some of the Gozo’s greatest

business minds and industrious

entrepreneurs coming together to

reshape the future. Well, in Gozo they

are just doing that on Friday 30th May and

Saturday 1st June 2019 at the Grand Hotel,

Mgarr, Gozo, for the first ever Gozo Expo

and the Gozo Business Awards, organised

by MBR Publications Limited, and

supported and sponsored by the Ministry

for Gozo and the Gozo Business Chamber.

During the launching Press Conference

held at the same venue, the Minister for

Gozo, Dr Justyne Caruana, welcomed a

packed audience and said that, “this is

Gozo’s first and only trade fair, whereby

these two combined business events,

fall under the Ministry’s Gozo strategy

for further business development, trade

expansion and investment. It will culminate

in a unique event celebrating Gozitan

entrepreneurial achievement, and bringing

together more than 300 of Island’s top

business leaders, executives, advisors and

investors who are leaders in innovation

and masters of business transformation.

“The theme chosen by the organisers

MBR Publication Limited focuses on

‘Opportunity, Mobility & Sustainability’,

and was brought to life by influential

panelists, thoughtful speakers and the

Ministry’s agenda to create more business

opportunities and provide a new business

platform for investors through supporting

and financing such events,” said the

Minister. These ranged from the future

and use of social media to international

business growth in the most unexpected

places . Among the highlights: the

Travellers live in concert, George Curmi

(Il-Puse’) and his Quartet, YADA Dancers,

fire eaters, fire jugglers and also a chance

to win a return trip to Rome/Paris for two

persons courtesy of FCM Travel Ltd.

“The very presence and participation

of various major businesses from Gozo

embodies the whole essence of this major

event. The organisers even created a

wall to showcase corporate pledges and

those who committed to give more young

people a chance at that all-important

first job. This is the largest ever business

MBR Publications Ltd Managing Director Mr Martin Vella addressing the Press Conference, together with

(L to R) Mr Joseph Borg, President, Gozo Business Chamber; The Hon Minister for Gozo Justyne Caruana

and Mr Joseph Fenech, Director of Gozo General Hospital, speaking obo Steward Health Care Malta

award gala event to be held in Gozo and

the largest trade fair of its kind. Today is an

important entrepreneurial milestone for

Gozitan entrepreneurs. We are gathered

here at the Grand Hotel in Mgarr, to

launch the most prestigious trade show

and business awards event held in Gozo.

This event not only honours the essence

of entrepreneurship, but also honours

all the business professionals who have

deservedly been selected as the nominees

of the awards in their respective categories,

as well as to show appreciation to all the

organisers, whose work has contributed to

the enhancement of entrepreneurs in the

Maltese Islands,” said the Hon Minister.

Dr Caruana thanked all the exhibitors,

nominees and their companies, who

through their participation are indirectly

assisting growth in all sectors of the

Gozitan economy, which under this

Government have seen increased growth,

the biggest performer were the financial

and insurance sectors, where an increase

of almost fourteen (17) per cent was

recorded. “Malta has been registering

positive economic performance, and

the strong momentum exhibited by the

Maltese economy during 2017, 2018 and

2019, and is set to continue during this year,

where the Maltese economy is expected to

maintain a growth of four (4.4) per cent in

real terms during the first quarter of 2019,

which compares to an average growth of

one (1) per cent registered in the Euro Area

for the same period,” the Minister stated.

“It is essential that we understand

the importance of appreciating and

rewarding inspirational business

leaders. Entrepreneurs need this kind of

recognition much more often than one

tends to think. To have such a competent

and well-versed adjudicating team look

over your shoulders, probe your business

plan, look at your balance sheet, question

your sustainability and future strategies

and to then give you the nod of approval

is a source of great satisfaction,” said Mr

Martin Vella, organiser of the event. MBR

20


Malta Business Review

BUDGET RECOMMENDATION

Update

MEA Budget

recommendation

implemented

In its proposals for the 2018 National

Budget, and in previous years, the MEA

recommended that:

“It is common for companies to be owed

money from one Government department

whilst having outstanding payments

themselves with other Government

departments. This causes a strain on the

cash flow of many companies who are,

in some instances, charged interest and

penalties on outstanding payments, and

at times even face criminal proceedings.

It is proposed to establish a system under

which set-offs can be arranged. This will

be a big relief for many businesses as it

improves their liquidity situation.”

According to a recent statement by

the Minister of Finance, Prof. Edward

Scicluna, this proposal has been taken on

board when he announced a new scheme

in which companies who are owed more

than €10,000 by the government for

services rendered will now be able to

offset these amounts with others owed

to government, such as income tax and

VAT. This will certainly address liquidity

issues which companies face when

rendering services to government. The

measure, which was announced in the

last budget, came into force on Friday

10th May 2019.

It will be available to companies on a

voluntary basis, and will be open to

companies, partnerships and those who

are self-employed. For an application to

be accepted, the government creditor and

debtor must be the same legal person,

meaning that personal tax bills can’t be

offset against payments owed to a company

the same person owns. Applications will be

first vetted with a process of reconciliation

carried out before an agreement between

the two parties is entered into. There will

also be a cut-off date after an agreement

is reached and after which no payments

can be affected between the two parties.

Each government department will have an

appointed person who will evaluate and

process applications. These are the steps

to follow to access the scheme:

STEP 1

Access the Ministry of Finance official

website

STEP 2

Scroll down website homepage till you

find: POPULAR TOPICS

22


BUDGET RECOMMENDATION

Malta Business Review

The MEA Secretariat:

Director General

Mr Joseph Farrugia

Executive in EU & Legal Affairs

Dr Charlotte Camilleri

Research Executive –

Economic & Social Affairs

Ms Sharon Farrugia

SME Helpdesk Executive

Mr Anton Vella

Administrative Secretary

Ms Dorianne Azzopardi Cilia

© UPDATE is prepared and

circulated by:

MALTA EMPLOYERS’

ASSOCIATION

35/1, South Street,

Valletta VLT 1100, Malta

t: (+356) 21237585, 21222992

www.maltaemployers.com

STEP 3

Click on: OFFSETTING AND BUDGET

DIRECTORATE FORMS

STEP 4

Then click on OFFSETTING PROCEDURE

where you will be able to download the 4

documents listed:

• Applikazzjoni tal-offset

• Guidance notes

• Linji Gwida

• Offsetting application form

STEP 5

For more information contact OFFSETTING

HELPLINE on 25998351.

For further information, you can touch

base with MEA’s SME Helpdesk via email:

anton.vella@maltaemployers.com, or call

on 21222992.

This case demonstrates that members’

ideas and suggestions for the National

Budget can be constructive and with

the right lobbying, persistence and

goodwill, can be implemented. We will

keep you informed about any further

developments. MBR

www.maltabusinessreview.net

23


Malta Business Review

POSTAL AND DELIVERY

Assisting Businesses in their

Logistical Requirements

Online shopping fits perfectly

in today’s busy life style by

allowing consumers to shop

online in a global market at

competitive rates from the comfort of their

computer or smart phone and have their

item conveniently delivered to their home

or office or a in 24/7 parcel locker.

MaltaPost has a range of logistical solutions

for individual and business clients to shop

from local and global online stores. These

include specialized services spread across

the globe to enable Maltese consumers to

even shop form those online sites that do

not offer the option of direct shipping to

Malta or have expensive shipping rates.

Shopping from the UK

MaltaPost offers a comprehensive service

to accomodate individual and business

clients shopping from the UK. It offers 2

shipping options:

Priority Shipping for items weighing up to

30Kg which will arrive in Malta or Gozo in

around 7 working days.

Standard Shipping for items weighing up to

300Kg which will arrive in Malta or Gozo in

around 12 working days.

This service is combined with MaltaPost’s

Easipik solution, a nationwide parcel

locker network to further strengthen its

last mile delivery. This network provides

customers the option to collect their

items on a 24/7 basis from automated

locker banks conveniently located around

Malta and Gozo.

SendOn also offers insurance policies to

protect shopping items forwarded to Malta

through its hubs. MBR

For more information visit www.maltapost.com/sendon

24


SECTION TITLE

SendOn

UK

WE DELIVER

WHEN OTHERS

DON’T

Priority Service

Standard Service

Insurance

Pick Up 24/7

info@maltapost.com

www.maltapost.com/sendon


SECTION TITLE

Excellence Awards 2019

REWARDING INNOVATION, CREATING WEALTH

Friday, 17 th May 2019

SmartCity, Kalkara

Proudly sponsored by

MiGEA trophies on display

Red carpet welcome and display

of BMW vehicles

Fireworks display

Big Band Brothers

Alison White

White Heat by Alison White

Magician Brian Rolé

Pragmatic Play –

Best Gaming Company of the Year

Paddy Power Betfair – Best Customer

Service Support of the Year

Synot Games –

Best Rising Star in iGaming

Matching Visions –

Best Gaming Excellence Award

White Heat by Alison White


SECTION TITLE

Wazdan – Best Gaming Online Product

of the Year Award

Betconstruct – Best Innovative Product

Company of the Year Award

Truevo Payments –

Best Payment Provider of the Year Award

Synot Games

Altenar –

Best Technology Provider of the Year

Event organisers Margaret Brincat

and Martin Vella

NetRefer –

Best Industry Contributor of the Year

Martin Vella, Managing Director,

MBR Publications

Lapalingo Q&A session

Margaret Brincat and Ivan Filletti,

Chief Operating Officer, Gaming Malta

Guest table

Paddy Power Betfair

MyAffiliates

Margaret Brincat and David Dingli

Heathcliff Farrugia, CEO of MGA and

Yossi Barzeli of Pragmatic Play


Malta Business Review MiGEA 2019

The heart of Play’n GO

is its peopleBy George Carol

Play’n GO Communications Manager, Thomas Mahoney believes that having

a brand with values that people recognise is important in building the trust

of your clientele. Let’s find out just why in this interview with Mr Mahoney.

Thomas Mahoney

Communications Manager

MBR: Why is Play’n GO considered as one

of egaming’s most respected slot game

developers?

TM: We have consistently created

innovative and entertaining games for

the industry, and so, the reputation grew

organically. Our games are some of the

most popular in the market, and we

continuously strive to create games that

will entertain people. Once you do that,

everything else falls into place.

MBR: So far 2019 has been a massive

year for Play’n GO, culminating in being

triumphant at Malta’s largest gaming

awards – Malta’s iGaming Excellence

Awards, where you swept away three

coveted awards. Could you share your

feelings with our readers and also give us

your feedback on MiGEA 2019?

TM: It’s an amazing feeling to be honoured

and for those honours to come in two of

the areas we consider most important

in the company, our games and our

employers, makes it even more special. We

don’t do what we do for the awards, but it

is great to see all of our hard work being

recognised.

MiGEA was a wonderful event. It brought

together people from some of the

biggest names in the industry in a friendly

atmosphere, and it was a very entertaining

and enjoyable event.

28


MiGEA 2019

Malta Business Review

MBR: How significant are these awards to

Play’n GO and why does the HR employer

branding award stand out from the rest.

TM: Our employer brand experience

is a journey, from the very first time a

prospective employee meets the brand

through to their employment and, if it is

the case, their eventual off-boarding.

We provide ourselves on being genuine

and showing our employers exactly who

we are as a company. We believe in underpromising

and over-delivering to our

people, not the other way round! It makes

all the difference.

MBR: Why are quality, trust and energy

the driving pillars of Play’n GO?

TM: We believe these are important

foundations for a company to be built on

and, if you have these, then you have the

strength to move forward and to grow as

a company. Each of these pillars matters

internally and externally; you need the

best quality of people to create the best

quality product for your audience. You

have to trust each other to pull together

and get things done while gaining the

trust of your clients by delivering what

you promise, and you need the energy to

create the best games and services while

giving your clients 100% all of the time. It

just makes sense

MBR: You faced some big competition

in the employer branding category – why

do you believe Play’n GO was chosen

as the winner? Has the winning feeling

settled?

TM: I think Play’n GO was chosen because

of our people first approach; we always

put our people first. By doing this,

we create a happier, more productive

workforce which leads to us creating

better games and products. When you

get the right people working for your

company you want to keep them, so by

putting them first you make them feel

valued, they want to stick around, and you

get the best from them.

We hugely invest in talent and, rather than

focusing on what we don’t have; we look

to build the people we do have first, and

then we mirror that culture externally.

They say charity begins at home, so that’s

how we work.

MBR: In an increasingly saturated gaming

industry, how big is the challenge in

developing new and engaging titles?

TM: It’s a huge challenge, but one that

we welcome! We are players ourselves

at heart, so we always look at what we

would like to see in a slot title. If there’s

something we do not see in the market,

then we look for ways to create it, whether

We hugely invest in talent and, rather than focusing

on what we don’t have; we look to build the people

we do have first, and then we mirror that culture

externally. They say charity begins at home, so that’s

how we work.

it’s something completely new or an

improvement on a classic formula. There’s

still plenty of room in the industry for

creative games.

MBR: How do you ensure that customers

will be attracted by, and go back to, Play’n

GO offerings?

TM: By offering an engaging and entertaining

experience. We are entertainers

first, and so that is always our chief aim.

If we can create a game that people love

to play, they’ll play it again and again, and

also trust our other games to provide them

with the same experience.

MBR: Why are the employees the heart

of Play’n GO?

TM: A company is only as good as its

people. No people, no business. It’s as

simple as that.

MBR: Why is it so important to have the

right people to keep your brand identity

strong?

TM: You want people working for the

company that are invested in the brand.

Otherwise, things will fall apart. Having a

brand with values that people recognise

is important in building the trust of your

clientele, and so you want everybody

pulling in the same direction to make sure

that identity runs through everything that

you do as a business.

The right people ensure that you don’t

have to worry about that.

MBR: Looking forward to 2019/20, what

is Play’n GO striving to achieve, and

how do you intend to stay ahead of the

competition?

TM: The same way we always do, by

creating great games and offering top

quality products and services to the

industry. We have a lot of exciting titles

lined up for release for the rest of the year,

and people see that our other products,

such as our Casino Platform and Server-

Based Gaming system, are great tools to

give them an edge in the industry.

We are always excited about what’s around

the corner, and that passion drives us to be

the best and keeps us competitive. MBR

Play’n GO accepting their Best Gaming Casino Supplier of the Year Award

at Malta’s iGaming Excellence Awards 2019

www.maltabusinessreview.net

29


Malta Business Review

GAMING

Excellence Awards 2019

REWARDING INNOVATION, CREATING WEALTH

Friday, 17 th May 2019

SmartCity, Kalkara

Proudly sponsored by

BMW cars on display Guest Table Truevo Payments

Wazdan Q&A session

Lapalingo

Guest Tables

Fireworks display

Guest Table

Margaret Brincat and John Paul Abela

30

Join Games Q&A session

Guests

Gaming 1 –

Best Industry Achiever of the Year


GAMING

Malta Business Review

Lapalingo Guests Western Union

Matching Visions

Altenar Q&A session

NetRefer

Big Band Brothers

Clemence Dujardin (right) of MyAffiliates –

Best Woman Leader of the Year

Play’n Go –

Best Gaming Casino Supplier of the Year

Lapalingo –

Best Online Casino Operator of the Year

Guest Table

White Heat by Alison White

Welcome drinks and canapés

Alison White

www.maltabusinessreview.net 31

Magician Brian Rolé


Malta Business Review MiGEA 2019

AN IMPERATIVE TO

diversify

By Martin Vella

Exclusive interview with Mr

Yossi Barzely, Chief Business

Development Officer of

Pragmatic Play, who explains

why diversity is King.

MBR: What recent strategic advancements

Pragmatic Play have recently made aimed

at developing the company into a multiproduct

one?

YB: The industry has traditionally perceived

Pragmatic Play as a slot developer, but we

are rapidly building a new reputation as

one of igaming’s foremost multi-product

providers.

We continually add to our portfolio of

top performing video slots with three

high quality releases every month,

including recent launches Pirate Gold and

Mustang Gold. Bringing innovation to the

marketplace with each new video slot

launch is a key part of our identity, with

feature-rich bonus rounds a hallmark of

our games line-up.

Working on the foundations of our heritage,

we have launched groundbreaking bingo

and scratchcard products, while we have

also expanded into the live casino and

virtual sports sectors with the respective

acquisitions of Extreme Live Gaming and

VSoftCo.

Diversity is king in the modern iGaming

landscape, and our USP is that all of these

products are available via a single API,

giving our partners unparalleled ease of

access to our content portfolio.

MBR: What are the advantages of having

a multi-product strategy and why does

it underline your position as one of the

iGaming industry’s premier and most

forward-thinking providers?

YB: At Pragmatic Play, we view a multiproduct

approach as crucial for a number

of reasons. Firstly, it allows us to expand

our offering, and by extension reach a

greater number of markets. Naturally,

this is key to the growth of the business,

but it also allows us to develop a greater

understanding of the wider iGaming

world – gathering data on the preferences

of individual regulated markets and more

effectively tailoring our products to meet

them.

Being able to supply games across a variety

of regulated markets makes providers

like us an attractive proposition to

operators – giving them firm ground on

which to move into multiple regulated

markets, secure in the knowledge that

our products are capable of meeting any

jurisdictional requirements.

Aside from growing as a company,

diversification of portfolios also

allows providers to be at the forefront

of technological development and

innovation. As we progress from being

a slot developer to a multi-faceted

provider, with the launch of live casino,

bingo and virtual sports, we can take

32


MiGEA 2019

Malta Business Review

At Pragmatic Play, we place responsible gambling at the heart of

everything we do. We are dedicated to expanding our presence in

regulated markets globally, and a big part of this approach is ensuring

that we continue to meet the highest standards of commercial and

technical probity.

Yossi Barzely (4 th from left) and his team accepting

the Best Gaming Company of the Year Award at

Malta’s iGaming Excellence Awards 2019

aspects of casino games that we like from

different verticals and look to use that

technology across our products. Having

access to a wider range of technology

can only allow us to be more innovative

and create even greater content for our

operator partners.

MBR: What can you tell us about the

acquisition of Extreme Live Gaming

and what significance does it have to

Pragmatic Play?

YB: We completed the acquisition of

Extreme Live Gaming in June 2018,

bringing the company into the Pragmatic

Play family and using that acquisition as

a springboard to launch our dedicated,

branded live casino offering in early 2019.

Our games will be hosted by highly skilled

dealers and broadcast using the latest,

cutting edge 4k camera technology. We

recently received an operational licence

from the Romanian gambling authority

to operate this from a newly built, state

of the art studio in Bucharest, and we

can’t wait to capitalize on our solution’s

potential. We recently announced our first

major agreement with leading operator

Interwetten, and have plenty of similar

deals in the pipeline – watch this space.

MBR: What is Pragmatic Play’s competitive

edge in the iGaming industry? Why was

this acquisition important and what are

its benefits?

YB: There are a number of elements which

give our live casino offering a competitive

edge over our rivals, beyond the obvious

levels of dedication with which we aspire to

deliver high quality products that can form

an important part of any operator’s offering.

Setting our offering apart is our ability to

create dedicated branded environments

for our partners, featuring everything

from branded equipment and dealer

outfits to tailored game types and

preferred dealing styles. We have recently

announced our first such agreement with

1xBet, a forward-thinking operator which

recognized the capacity of our dedicated

studio environments, and look forward to

building on our rich potential with similar

innovations in this space.

MBR: Why is it so important to have

player protection and responsible

gambling as pillars of your philosophical

approach?

YB: At Pragmatic Play, we place responsible

gambling at the heart of everything we

do. We are dedicated to expanding our

presence in regulated markets globally,

and a big part of this approach is ensuring

that we continue to meet the highest

standards of commercial and technical

probity. We will continue to work closely

with all industry stakeholders in order to

minimize gambling related harm.

MBR: How do you consider your support

and entry as nominee in Malta’s Gaming

Excellence Awards, which are the only

accredited and audited gaming awards

on the Island?

YB: We are delighted to have been

recognized as the Best Gaming Company

of the Year at the Malta iGaming

Excellence Awards. It was a fantastic night

for all involved, and it is a privilege to have

had the hard work of our entire team

acknowledged at such a special event.

I was also pleased to have been named

Best Gaming Ambassador in a hugely

competitive category featuring some

of the most recognizable names in

iGaming. Pragmatic Play is now a

household name, and I want to place

on record my thanks to our amazing

team for their efforts, which continue

to propel us to success.

MBR: What have been your major experiences

as a Chief Business Development

Officer and can you give us the positives

learnt from your vast travels abroad?

YB: The key thing I have taken away from

my time in this industry is that success

is ultimately a product of listening to

the customer. A lot of emphasis in this

industry is placed on analyzing what your

competitors are doing, and it is true that

inspiration can be drawn here, but it is

ultimately listening to and iterating on our

clients’ feedback that has helped to put us

in the strong position in the market which

we occupy today.

MBR: Can you share with us your insights

into what 2019/20 could hold for the

market?

YB: There is no doubt the next twelve

months will be interesting ones. One

aspect we will definitely witness is the

continued spread of regulation. There

are interesting ongoing developments in

South America, with several jurisdictions

including Colombia and Brazil rich with

opportunities that we will leverage our

experience to capitalise on. MBR

www.maltabusinessreview.net

33


Malta Business Review

MiGEA 2019

WAZDAN

Honoured with

Two Prestigious

MiGEA Awards

Excellence Awards 2019

Wazdan is celebrating after

walking off with two key

prizes at Malta’s iGaming

Excellence Awards 2019.

The innovative games developer prevailed

in a competitive category to secure the

title of Malta’s Best Gaming New Slots

Developer. It also clinched the prestigious

Malta’s Best iGaming Online Product of the

Year Award, capping a superb 12 months

for the company.

Wazdan has caught the attention of

leading operators across the globe thanks

to its innovative suite of tech-rich, omnichannel

casino games. Recent partnerships

for Wazdan include tie-ins with Kindred,

SuprNation, Avento, InBet Games, ComeOn

and White Hat Gaming.

The pioneering team at Wazdan has been

honoured with a clutch of awards over the

past year in recognition of its contribution

to the on-going success of the iGaming

industry.

“We are very proud and excited to gain

industry recognition from an independent

panel of expert judges,” says Wazdan’s

Head of Sales, Andrzej Hyla. “The iGaming

sector is full of dynamic developers and to

be recognized as the best in the business is

a great honour.”

“These awards are a testament to the

team’s commitment to pushing the

boundaries of technology and producing

engaging, exciting, feature-rich games that

meet the desires of the modern player

on a range of different channels. We will

continue to blaze a trail of innovation going

forwards as we seek to become a trusted

partner for operators across the world.”

Games from Wazden boast vibrant graphics

and an extremely smooth user interface,

while they can be tailored according

to the particular preferences of each

individual player. This has seen them soar

in popularity over the past year. Unique

Wazdan Features are the key to Wazdan’s

success and include the patented, worldfirst,

truly innovative Volatility Levels,

the thrilling Unique Gamble Feature, Ultra

Lite Mode, mobile-friendly Energy Saving

Mode, Ultra Fast Mode, Double Screen

Mode and the newest Unique Wazdan

Feature, Big Screen Mode.

Wazdan has been developing innovative

games for more than a decade and it now

offers more than 110 striking HTML5 games.

The portfolio includes extremely popular

titles such as Magic Stars 3, 9 Lions, Great

Book of Magic Deluxe, Magic Target Deluxe,

Los Muertos, Magic Stars 5 and Space

Gem, as well as newly released titles, such

as Juicy Reels, Magic Stars 6 and Space

Spins, which were all received with great

industry enthusiasm at ICE London 2019.

Wazdan releases at least one new game

each month and has recently announced

the release of three new exciting games:

Lucky Reels, Larry the Leprechaun, and Relic

Hunters and the Book of Faith.

Already off to a rapid start this year, the

team at Wazdan shows no signs of slowing

down. Be sure to follow all the latest news

at www.wazdan.com

About Wazdan

Wazdan is a popular game producer,

developing innovative casino games that

deliver an original, fun and truly omnichannel

player experience. Offering an

extensive game library of over 110 HLML5

slots, table games and video poker games,

Wazdan is gaining popularity in the iGaming

market thanks to the great quality of their

games, interesting themes and engaging

gameplay. Wazdan’s game portfolio consists

of such popular titles as Magic Stars 3,

Great Book of Magic Deluxe, Magic Target

Deluxe, 9 Lions, Los Muertos, as well as

amazing new and upcoming slot games,

including Magic Stars 6, Juicy Reels, Space

Spins and Larry the Leprechaun amongst

others. Wazdan releases new, exciting

titles on a regular basis and equips them

with Unique Wazdan Features: innovative

Volatility Levels, exciting Unique Gamble

Feature and mobile-friendly Energy

Saving and Double Screen Modes, Ultra

Lite Mode, Ultra Fast Mode, as well the

brand new Big Screen Mode. Wazdan

holds a number of European trademarks

including a trademark for their world’s-first

Volatility Level. Their extensive portfolio

of clients includes some of the top gaming

operations in the industry. The company is

headquartered in Malta and holds licenses

issued by the UKGC, the MGA and complies

with Curacao regulations. Furthermore,

their games use the RNG certified by the

GLI, which ensures reliable, fair and secure

gameplay. MBR

Contact: Laurie McAllister, Digital Fuel,

laurie@digitalfuel.marketing

34


HOSPITALITY INTERVIEW OF THE MONTH

Malta Business Review

passion and purpose

By Martin Vella

As the Manager of Il-Logga

Boutique Hotel, in Xaghra, Gozo,

Joseph Bigeni is a driven man

with ambition. Joseph is proud

to combine the personality and style of

an independent hotel with the reliability

and attentive service of a family business

hotel. It mixes cutting-edge design with

local influences and creates a place to

relax and rest in a serene, welcoming

ambience.

MBR: You became the Manager of

Il-Logga Boutique Hotel and its F&B

department at a very young age. From

that point onward, your career path

pointed in one direction, to become a

hotel general manager of a boutique

hotel. Did you always want to be a GM

and is your vision looking to develop into

an international brand?

JB: I started managing il-Logga at just

23 years old. My role as manager has

emerged spontaneously upon formulating

the concept of the boutique hotel and

restaurant themselves. Slotting into this

managerial role was primarily facilitated

by my previous academic qualifications

and experiences in accountancy and

hospitality. Moreover, additional

courses that I still pursue on my own

initiative have prompted me to take

on the challenge of managing my own

establishment. The fact that I lead my

own business venture motivates me to

make continuous sacrifices to constantly

ameliorate the level of service rendered to

our customers. In my opinion, managing

a business of such magnitude at a tender

age demonstrates grand ambition, but

not impossibility given that significant

commitment is put into it. Although not a

current priority, the notion of broadening

our brand on an international scale does

not intimidate me.

MBR: When customers dine in your hotel

restaurant, what else do they look at

besides the menu?

JB: I am a firm believer that dining is not

only about what lies on the plate but more

about the holistic details within the dining

experience. The ambience, service, setup,

uniqueness and several other minute

factors add as much to the entirety of

the dining experience. To date I am still

in awe with the unthinkable specificity

our diners review their experience with

us. Renowned gastronome Brillat-Saverin

once suggested that “a meal without

wine is like a day without sunshine”. This

quote really got into me and enabled me

to value the attentive pairing of food with

wine and gather a remarkable selection

of wines from all around the globe in

our restaurant. It further inspired me to

expand my knowledge of wine by reading

for various courses. Such efforts serve to

portray my belief that the success achieved

by the award-winning restaurant I manage

is down to the critical details and values

which each member of my team commits

and adheres to every single day.

MBR: What are the most challenging

issues you are facing on your current job?

JB: Oddly enough, the current major

concern is social media. By all means,

social media works wonders to showcase

the pride in what one is able to deliver.

However, it can also prove to be destructive

when what is published does not truly

reflect what one truly represents. For

instance, a major drawback of popular

social sites like Facebook and Trip advisor

is that it allows for anyone to comment

relatively freely. In the hospitality

business such as my own this option has

created a precedent whereby a minority

of users can submit dishonest reviews

about services which they have not even

received. The power of social media is

immense and unfortunately a few negative

reviews tend to speak louder volumes

than several positive ones. However,

the major disappointment linking to

the content of such uneventful online

criticism is that it is beyond a manager’s

control and moreover does not validate

as a constructive platform on which one

can improve. The repercussions of such

unfair incidences dampen the tremendous

effort entrepreneurs like me put into their

enterprise and simultaneously misguides

potential customers of what their company

truly stands for.

MBR: What is the best compliment you

have ever received?

JB: In almost three years of management in

this business sector, I had the opportunity to

welcome people from all parts of the world

and also the privilege to host a handful of

renowned celebrities and gastronomers.

What greater compliment can you receive

than being repeatedly told that the

experience at your restaurant and hotel rate

amongst the best they had ever been to?!

MBR: What are your expectations as a

nominee in the first ever Gozo Business

Awards 2019?

JB: The nomination in itself fills us with

great honour. In our first year in business

we were nominated and voted as the

‘Best Boutique Hotel’ at the ‘Malta’s Best

Entrepreneur Award’ event and we are

equally proud to be invited to this event.

Being nominated to the ‘Gozo Business

Awards’ gives us a huge consolation

because it shows that our work ethic and

commitment have been recognized and

appreciated on the same island which the

family-run business I manage strives to

deliver everyday. MBR

www.maltabusinessreview.net

35


Malta Business Review

ANNIVERSARY

Synergix Group celebrates 25 years of Exceptional Events

Mark Vella, Managing Director and Owner

of Synergix Group

Synergix

Celebrates25

Group th Anniversary

Malta’s leading events and entertainment provider hosted a gala

reception to celebrate the milestone. Synergix Group this week

celebrated its 25th anniversary with an exclusive event that treated

guests to some of the company’s latest innovations.

At a reception on 17 April, Synergix hosted a select guest list at the beautiful

Giardini Lambrosa in Rabat, with delicious canapés, food stations and beverages

served by Elia Caterers Ltd.

The evening’s programme kicked off with a cocktail reception, before guests

enjoyed a fun-filled example of one of the Group member’s team-building activities

Harmonica Harmony, led by award-winning international blues artist Eddie Martin.

The guests then watched a fascinating presentation – with a surprise dance

performance – that told the story of Synergix Group throughout its 25 years of

creativity, expertise and service at the heart of Malta’s entertainment industry.

Guests at the event also had the opportunity to experience Malta’s first-ever

Virtual Reality teambuilding activity, The Infinite Loop, during the evening’s

programme, as well as a selection of fun and interactive activities provided by its

team building sister partner company Outdoor Living.

“We were delighted to host such an enjoyable event to celebrate this milestone

with the people who have helped build the success of Synergix Group over the last

25 years,” says Mark Vella, Managing Director and Owner of the Synergix Group.

“It was a great opportunity to reminisce about the journey towards excellence

that the Group has taken so far, while planning for even more exciting innovations

in the future.”

As a leader in the field of professional entertainment since 1994, Synergix Group

offers the Maltese islands a range of entertainment services including themed

events, animation and teambuilding activities for conferences, incentives,

and corporate and leisure groups, as well as awards ceremonies, historical reenactments,

shows and spectaculars.

Through the Group’s subsidiaries Outdoor Living, which produces and organises

innovative events as Malta’s teambuilding specialists, and Powerhouse, an audiovisual

rental and production company, Synergix ensures that it remains at the

forefront of Malta’s thriving entertainment industry. MBR

Outdoor Living team with Directors Mark Vella

and Danica Fava

Powerhouse team with Managing Director Mark Vella

Outdoor Living showcases their Virtual Reality team

building event – The Infinite Loop

36


TURNING

YOUR EVENT

INTO A

SUCCESS

STORY

TAILOR-MADE TO THE

LAST DETAIL

| Weddings

| Conferences

| Themed Nights

| Corporate Events

| Digital Signage & more!

powerhousemalta.com

info@powerhousemalta.com


Malta Business Review

MEMORANDUM FOR UNDERSTANDING

Launch of Malta’s Vision for

Video Games Development

and eSports, and Signing

of Memorandum of

Understanding Between

Malta and ESL

‘We will be putting Malta as a central hub in the Mediterranean and Europe for

video games and eSports’ – Prime Minister Joseph Muscat

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat

launched Malta’s vision for video

games development and esports,

a vision which will pave the way

for growth in this economic sector. “It is

very clear where we want to go with this

strategy. The incentives that will be rolled

out are in line with EU regulations and they

complement other incentives already in

place. We will be putting Malta as a central

hub in the Mediterranean and Europe for

video game development and esports”,

said Prime Minister Muscat.

In reaction to the signing of the MoU with

one of the oldest and leading companies in

esports sector, ESL, Prime Minister Muscat

said that there are many ways in which both

sides can collaborate in order to attract

companies and enhance touristic niches in

this field. ‘The partnership with ESL is very

handy. There are many ways in which we

can cooperate and build this ecosystem.

You already refer to other countries as your

centrepieces, and I am pretty sure that

within the next decade you will be referring

to Malta’, said Prime Minister Muscat.

The vision was presented by the

Parliamentary Secretary for Financial

Services, Digital Economy and Innovation

Silvio Schembri who explained that the

industry has so much potential in terms

of value-added contribution to the

economy as well as the creation of new

38

job opportunities in the ICT and the digital

arts sector.

“Malta’s vision for video games

development and esports is aimed at

helping companies already residing in

Malta to further expand their operations

and attract new game studios from

abroad. The industry currently employes

around 200 employees. Malta’s vision

for video games development is aimed at

expanding the industry’s contribution from

0.1% to 1% of the GDP in 10 years, whilst

creating up to 3,000 new jobs”, explained

Parliamentary Secretary Schembri.

Schembri emphasised that one of the main

pillars in the strategy is in fact education.

“The video games business model is

structurally different from igaming and

game developers need industry-led and

sector-specific expertise and support to

be able to grow. Hence, after discussions

with key stakeholders, we sought to take

significant educational initiatives to sustain

the existent talent pool, cater for the needs

of the industry, and make it easier for future

generations to pursue a career in this thriving

sector which is expected to continue to grow

in the coming years”, said Parliamentary

Secretary Schembri. Consultation on these

initiatives will continue in the coming weeks

with all stakeholders.

He also highligthed that esports is also

central to Malta’ vision on developing

Photos: DOI - Kevin Abela

its digital economy, where efforts are

underway to help attract international

esports tournaments to Malta. To this end, a

memorandum of understanding was signed

between ESL and the Government of Malta

through the GamingMalta Foundation. The

MoU will serve as an intent for both parties

to develop a multi-year programme to help

the development of the local grassroot

esport ecosystem, the organisation of local

and international events, as well as the

sharing of expertise in the sector.

In reaction to the signing of this MoU, CEO

of ESL Global Ralf Reichert said, “We at

ESL have a core mission to create esports

ecosystems and we are very excited about

developing Maltese esports together with

the Maltese Government”.

Speaking on behalf of ESL, Mr Jacob Visser

described this, “as a great opportunity for

the development of esports in the industry

and to support the Maltese government’s

goals of fostering video gaming and the

esports industry. ‘Let’s do it together”, said

Jacob Visser.

Malta’s vision for the video games

development and esports sector includes

several strategical initiatives such as a

European model for tax rebates and

grants to firms, Direct Grant Schemes for

Innovation, a fund for the development

of video games with a cultural dimension,

the development of a Venture Capital

Investment Fund, Investment to support the

University of Malta and MCAST in upgrading

their curricula, and investment in new

facilities required for game-development

related courses. It also includes a bursary

programme to attract local and foreign

graduate students to further their studies

with local institutions whilst working in

the industry, as well as incubator space for

games development startups. MBR

Credit: OPM


MENTORING

Malta Business Review

MENTORING

PROGRAMME

FOR HOMELESS

YOUNG PERSONS

IN MALTA By Bryan Magro

Editor’s Note

Bryan Magro is the National President of the National

Federation of Past Pupils and Friends of Don Bosco

Over 20 organisations come together for Mentor Power

seminar

A

mentoring programme to assist young homeless

persons was launched last weekend. The Erasmus+

EU Funded programme will help these vulnerable

persons in discovering more about themselves and their

environment to follow a path of higher achievement and stability.

The programme was launched under the title “Mentor Power”

in the form of a handbook and training manual. Together these

tools will be used by the Salesians in a pilot programme aimed at

reintegrating young persons back into the community.

Bryan Magro President of the National Federation of Past Pupils and

Friends of Don Bosco, the lead organisation on the project, said: “Our

intention was to create a handbook and training guide that would

be implemented in our own mentoring programme. But we also

wanted to create a tool that can also be used by other organisations

in developing their own programmes to help vulnerable young

persons. The response to this project by other NGOs was

overwhelming and we are also looking at ways of collaborating with

each other on further projects related to mentoring”.

Research shows that mentoring programmes are associated with

positive behavioural outcomes and are an effective tool to assist in

positive youth development and to encourage social adjustment

and improved personal outcomes. Mentors support and guide the

homeless young person in managing their future to become selfsufficient

and to live independently in the community. MBR

For evidence on positive outcomes emerging from mentoring

programmes view: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/

PMC2352144/

OUTSTANDING IS NOT AN INTENT, BUT THE

STANDARD WITH OUR 360° GAMING PLATFORM.

www.singular.uk

www.maltabusinessreview.net

contact@singular.uk 39


Malta Business Review

EDITOR’S CHOICE

2019 Baselworld New Models

Rolex Day-Date 36

Like all models in the prestigious Day-Date

range, the Oyster Perpetual Day-Date 36 is

made only of precious metals. In addition

to the date, it indicates the day of the week

spelt out in full in a window on the dial.

The new generation of the Oyster Perpetual

Day-Date 36 is available in 18 ct yellow, white

or Everose gold with distinctive new dials.

All the new versions of the Oyster

Perpetual Day-Date 36 are equipped with

calibre 3255 for the first time.

Rolex GMT-Master II

Designed to display the time in two

different time zones simultaneously, the

Oyster Perpetual GMT-Master 2 is an ideal

watch for criss-crossing the globe

The Oyster Perpetual GMT-Master 2 is

presented in Oystersteel, with a Jubilee

bracelet and a bidirectional rotatable

bezel with a two-colour 24-hour graduated

Cerachrom insert in blue and black ceramic.

This new version is equipped with calibre

3285, which was first introduced on the

Oyster Perpetual GMT-Master 2 in 2018.

Datejust 36

The Oyster Perpetual Datejust 36 is the

archetype of the classic watch thanks to its

elegance and aesthetics that never go out

of fashion. Two new variants of the Oyster

Perpetual Datejust 36 are introduced to

the Datejust range – both white Rolesor

versions (combining Oystersteel and 18 ct

white gold).

Equipped with calibre 3235, the Datejust

36 is at the forefront of watchmaking

technology.

Rolex Sea Dweller

The Oyster Perpetual Sea-Dweller, an ultraresistant

tool watch, has played a vital role

in the conquering of the deep.

A yellow Rolesor version (combining

Oystersteel and 18 ct yellow gold) of the

Oyster Perpetual Sea-Dweller brings 18 ct

yellow gold to the Sea-Dweller range for

the first time.

On its black dial, the inscription “Sea-

Dweller” is in yellow, mirroring the 18 ct

yellow gold. When the Sea-Dweller was

updated in 2017, this lettering was in red,

in reference to the original model. The

light reflections on the case sides and lugs

highlight the profile of the Sea-Dweller’s

43 mm Oyster case, which features a

unidirectional rotatable bezel with a

60-minute graduated Cerachrom insert in

black ceramic.

Rolex Yacht-Master 42

Sleek and distinguished, the Oyster

Perpetual Yacht-Master 42, celebrates the

ties between Rolex and the world of sailing.

Yacht-Master sailing watches are

recognisable thanks to their distinctive

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60-minute graduation. The Yacht-Master

42 is fitted with a Cerachrom insert in mattblack

ceramic that perfectly complements

its black lacquer dial. Created from 18 ct

white gold, this new watch heralds the

arrival of this precious metal on a Yacht-

Master model.

Datejust 31

Two new variants of the Oyster Perpetual

Datejust 31 join the Datejust range – one

in a yellow Rolesor version (combining

Oystersteel and 18 ct yellow gold), and

the other in an Everose Rolesor version

(combining Oystersteel and 18 ct Everose

gold).

Both combinations are equipped with

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All Rolex watches carry the Superlative

Chronometer certification, which ensures

excellent performance on the wrist.

valletta - T. +356 21 24 7447 | st. julian’s - T. +356 21 38 4503 | info@elcol.com - www.elcol.com

40


DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION

Malta Business Review

TRANSFORMATION

How to start and

where to focus

By Deborah Sherry

Digital Transformation offers many opportunities for industrial

leaders to answer that age-old question: “How do I make

more of the right product at the lowest cost?” In this exclusive

article, the author uses real case studies from industrial

companies such as SIG, P&G and Gerdau. She shows how these leaders

have started their Digital Transformation journeys - but also how they

are focusing their investments for the greatest possible ROI.

Despite massive advances in industrial processes and manufacturing

technologies in the last 20 years, industrial leaders face the same

problems they have always faced:

How do I make more of the right product at the lowest possible cost?

Whether it’s aseptic packaging, shampoo or steel, leaders are always

looking to do more with less. It’s better for our businesses, it’s better

for our economies and it’s better for the environment.

Companies like SIG, P&G and Gerdau are living examples of this. But

one of the biggest barriers to this industrial holy grail is unplanned

downtime. It’s a huge issue: Unplanned downtime and poor-quality

costs North American process businesses over $20 billion a year. What

is staggering is that 80% of this is entirely preventable.

And while the problem is well understood, the real challenge industrial

leaders face today is the other part of the equation - the huge volume

of fast-moving technologies and solutions available to address it. As a

result, in my conversations with customers, the same themes come

up time and again:

Where do I start, and once I’ve started…where should I focus?

There is no shortage of buzzwords. The cloud, AI, Machine Learning,

Digital Twins, Cobots, Additive Manufacturing, the Industrial Internet

of Things. Nowadays, there are lots of digitalisation solutions, which it

itself creates difficulty: which solution do I go for? Who’s the best fit

for my business? What can I afford?

Crucially, what will bring the best return on investment?

The fact is, most companies have started their digital transformation

journeys, even if that’s just taking the first couple of steps. What we

see time and time again with our customers is that the journey is never

uniform, straightforward, or the same as anyone else. Often, one

factory will be quite advanced, and another factory will be running on

ancient excel sheets and post-it notes. The path is never linear.

So how do the experts do it?

How to start

In my experience, the most successful companies are the ones that

drive these initiatives at scale – in support of an existing business

strategy – starting with a focus on internal productivity growth.

Over time they leverage data from multiple sources to connect

directly with end customers – and potentially disrupt markets. One

great example of a company starting with a clear business strategy is

SIG, the Swiss aseptic packaging manufacturer. In 2017 they produced

33 billion cartons that were filled with soup, juice or other beverages

by their machines installed all around the world. SIG have a very clear

process of using the company strategy to drive the digital strategy – and

a clear process for prioritizing the myriad existing digital investments

that were already taking place.

During their strategic business review, SIG found over 150 digital

transformation projects. They reduced these down to six priorities and

invested heavily in the first two – Asset Performance Management

and Field Service Management. We are now working with them to

deploy this to over 400 of their customers’ factories worldwide.

Where to focus

Once a technology has been selected, it is important to drive ROI – fast.

Gerdau – one of the world’s largest steel manufacturers, wanted to

start small, but scale fast with our cutting-edge predictive maintenance

solution, Predix APM. The digital programme they embarked on with

GE Digital was part of a bigger strategy to reduce overall maintenance

costs by the year 2022. Based on the success of the initial Asset

Performance Management pilot, they scaled our solution up to 12

plants across Brazil, and we are now working with them to deliver an

additional plant in Argentina.

They are now saving $4.5 million per year from their maintenance bill –

and achieved ROI in half the time they initially expected – only nine

months. You do not need to look purely at new predictive analytics

solutions to find great ROI. Some manufacturing companies are best

served by building on the infrastructure they already have – like P&G.

Proctor and Gamble are a longstanding Predix MES customer – the

software is used to boost productivity at over 100 P&G plants worldwide.

We are now partnering with them to rollout the new Predix

Manufacturing Data Cloud (Predix MDC) solution at dozens of these

plants at incredible speed.

With Predix MDC, P&G is consolidating and transforming manufacturing

data across plants for cloud storage, analysis, and analytics. P&G has

already gained a detailed, data-supported view into their manufacturing

processes providing insights that drive productivity. The new Predix

MDC solution is helping the company meet data compliance regulations

and significantly increase the speed of its on-premise MES.

Summary

There are myriad ways to address unplanned downtime in industry –

and investing in the right solution in this fast paced world is no mean

feat. So when I am asked by a customer where they should start (or

where they should focus) this is what I say:

There’s no silver bullet for digital transformation and everyone’s

journey is going to be different. Your existing culture, systems and

processes all play a role in what you need to do next. But wherever

you happen to be right now, you can learn from the leading industrial

companies like SIG, Gerdau and P&G that are connecting business

& digital strategies first - so that they can deploy at speed and scale.

That’s the straightest line between strategy and ROI. If you can get

that right, then whichever technology you choose you will find the

answer to the oldest industrial question: How do I make more of the

right product at the lowest possible cost? MBR

Deborah Sherry is the Senior Vice President and

Chief Commercial Officer at GE Digital Europe,

Russia & CIS

Credit: GE Voices Europe; #digitaltransformation

#leadership #changemanagement #industry4.0

#factoryofthefuture

www.maltabusinessreview.net

41


Malta Business Review

LIFESTYLES

Image of Keiko by

Michael Buffham Wade

The

psychological benefits

to having a dog in the office

are great for your mental health

Unless you are highly

allergic, it’s no secret that

dogs make lots of people

feel great. They wag, look

cute, and do things that

make even your office

nemesis go “ahh.”

Who doesn’t want a workplace

pooch that needs you to rub

its belly or throw that ball

again and again?

According to research, having a dog around

the office can improve cardiovascular health,

lower cholesterol and even decrease blood

pressure. But studies have shown they can

boost mental health too by reducing anxiety

and stress levels. After all, it’s been said that

the only one who loves you more than you,

is your dog.

But do they have a place in the workplace,

and how can they really help to lower anxiety

and stress levels?

Spending time with dogs reminds us to take

pleasure in the smaller things, something

that’s important in the cut-throat world of

office politics. You might be fighting with Lola

from HR, but her Pekinese is entranced by the

spiky plant next to the photocopier. Be more

like the dog and let office fights float past you.

Watching dogs experience every sensation

as if it’s the first time they’ve ever witnessed

someone opening a can of Pedigree Chum/

reaching for a leash is magical. We could do

Norma CREDIT:

Lee McGuffie

with letting a little bit of every day magic

seep into our lives occasionally.

Dogs play a vital role in emotional support.

They help whoever is looking after them feel

needed (after all, a dog can’t open a packet

of meat chews alone). Several recent studies

show the psychological benefits to having a

pet in the office. Confrontation reduced and

people raised their voices less. The study

found that for the control group with a dog in

the workplace, stress levels were reduced by

the end of the working day.

The same can be said for university support

dogs. The University of British Columbia

brought therapy dogs during students’ exam

season. A study co-author who monitored

the students reported that the results were

remarkable. “We found that, even 10 hours

later, students still reported slightly less

negative emotion, feeling more supported,

and feeling less stressed, compared to

students who did not take part in the therapy

dog session,” said Professor Stanley Cohen.

Michael Buffham-Wade, director of member

experience at Virgin Red, who brings his dog

Keiko, a female Shiba Inu, into the office says:

“Dogs are just so predictable and happy to

see you that it reduces anxiety because you

look into their faces and it’s that whole purity

- they don’t have ulterior motives. There’s no

politics with a dog.”

And any employers unsure about a pooch’s

benefits should ready themselves for

national Bring Your Dog to Work Day on June

21st. Dogs encourage the office to get up

and move around, which can reduce back

problems we all associate from sitting at

our desks for too long. Many offices have

introduced foosball tables and dart boards

The fabulous Canto, relaxing in a

chilled office environment

as light relief, but what would break up the

interminable task of filling out a spreadsheet

more than throwing a squeaky toy?

Plus, studies have also shown the simple act

of stroking a dog’s fur can reduce stress. It

reduces your blood pressure, putting you in a

better frame of mind for the day. And it’s not

just Virgin that encourages dogs. Ogilvy had a

Chief Relaxation Office called Bailey, a cocker

spaniel, while Nestle, Google and Amazon

also let pet parents bring in their offspring.

Tips to make sure your doggo is comfortable

include bringing in a dog bed and toys from

home. Making sure they have quiet place to

chill out in if it all gets too much. And ensuring

that everyone around the office is okay with

dogs before you bring them in. Some people

have dog phobias so it’s important to respect

everyone around you. No matter how great

your dog is, if someone is having (excuse the

pun) kittens because your beast is sprinting up

and down the hallway, they’re going to have a

miserable and unproductive day at work.

Lee McGuffie, Virgin Red’s digital and content

strategy director says: “Remember your

dog’s wellbeing too. The office needs to be

a place they enjoying coming into as well

and they are renowned for picking up on the

mood and atmosphere. Bear this in mind if

your day is going to be hectic and you won’t

have much time for them. Bring things in

they love at home: their own bed/blanket, a

couple of familiar toys and the odd treat or

two so you can reward them as you would do

at home. Oh, and don’t forgot to take them

out for a walk and a toilet break often. Not

only do they get a walk and a sniff but you get

a break from the desk and computer which

ticks all the boxes.” MBR

Credit: Virgin

Image of Keiko by

Michael Buffham Wade

42


DIGITAL LIFE

Malta Business Review

THE BEST AND WORST

COUNTRIES

FOR DIGITAL LIFE ABROAD

Looking at Europe; Estonia, Finland

and Norway are the best countries

for digital life – Italy and Germany

are the worst.

n Estonia, Finland, Norway, Denmark, New

Zealand, Israel, Canada, Singapore, the

Netherlands, and the USA are the best

countries for digital life abroad.

n The majority of European countries

ranks in the top half of the digital life

ranking — Italy (57th) and Germany

(53rd) are the worst in the region.

n Myanmar, China, Egypt, India, Philippines,

Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Peru, Turkey,

and Uganda are the countries where

expats are the least satisfied with their

digital life.

Digital Life

in Europe

Munich, 22 May 2019 — Over the last

years, it has become impossible to imagine

a world without digital communication,

especially for globally mobile people:

staying in touch with loved ones at home,

mastering the administrative challenges in

a new country, or working remotely as a

digital nomad — the digital needs of expats

are extremely diverse.

In its first Digital Life Abroad Report,

InterNations, the world’s largest expat

community, identifies the best and worst

countries to live a connected life. The

results, which are based on the annual Expat

Insider survey, reveal that Estonia, Finland,

Norway, Denmark, and New Zealand excel

at offering a digital environment. Expats in

these countries are very satisfied with their

unrestricted access to online services and

Best Digital Life

Worst Digital Life

the possibility to pay without cash almost

anywhere. At the other end of the scale,

Myanmar, China, Egypt, India, and the

Philippines are rated the worst countries for

digital life. Expats in these countries struggle

with a lack of government services online,

difficult access to high-speed internet at

home, or even restrictions in their use of

online services.

With Estonia (1st), Finland (2nd), Norway

(3rd), Denmark (4th), and the Netherlands

(9th), five out of the top 10 countries

for digital life are in Europe. While no

European country ranks among the bottom

10 countries in the world, Italy (57th) and

Germany (53rd) are the worst within the

region. Among other factors, expats in both

countries are extremely unhappy with the

lack of cashless payment options. MBR

ROMANIA

1 Estonia

2 Finland

3 Norway

4 Denmark

5 New Zealand

6 Israel

7 Canada

8 Singapore

9 Netherlands

10 USA

11 Sweden

12 Bahrain

13 Taiwan

14 Australia

15 UK

16 Luxembourg

17 Switzerland

18 Portugal

19 Hong Kong

20 Austria

21 Chile

22 Ireland

23 Spain

24 Romania

25 Russia

26 Mexico

27 South Korea

28 Qatar

29 Czechia

30 Costa Rica

31 Kenya

32 Poland

33 Cyprus

34 Malaysia

35 France

36 Hungary

37 UAE

38 Panama

39 Colombia

40 Ecuador

41 Belgium

42 Malta

43 Bulgaria

44 Serbia

45 Dominican Rep.

46 Oman

47 Thailand

48 Kazakhstan

49 South Africa

50 Brazil

51 Japan

52 Greece

53 Germany

54 Argentina

55 Vietnam

56 Kuwait

57 Italy

58 Morocco

59 Uganda

60 Turkey

61 Peru

62 Indonesia

63 Saudi Arabia

64 Philippines

65 India

66 Egypt

67 China

68 Myanmar

www.maltabusinessreview.net

43


Malta Business Review

CLIMATE CHANGE

CLIMATE

change

The European Parliament’s ‘This Time

I’m Voting’ campaign went to Gozo with

a public discussion on the EU’s Roadmap

to fighting climate change

The topic of the debate was chosen

as a response to how climate

change has markedly increased as

one of the main concerns for the

Maltese people, as evidenced by the latest

Eurobarometer EU-wide survey published

last month- where it shot up dramatically

to second spot after migration.

In the context of the European elections

the citizens have a big role to play to push

elected representatives to make sure

fighting climate change becomes even

more of a political priority – speakers and

public concurred.

In her introductory remarks, Ms Anna

Zammit Vella, acting Head of the European

Parliament Office in Malta, highlighted

how three quarters of Europeans want the

EU to do more to protect the environment.

She outlined Parliament’s action and the

space it gave to the young Swedish green

activist Greta Thunberg who told MEPs to “

panic “ about climate change , as well as to

the debate of the Lead Candidates’ for the

44

Commission Presidency of the day before, in

which the lead candidates from the European

parties political talked action: not on if, but

rather how to tackle climate change.

In a keynote intervention, Mr. Baptiste

Chatain, European Parliament Environmental

Policies Specialist, said that a lot of change

had happened in the five years of the

mandate of the outgoing Parliament, mainly

due to MEPs being more connected to the

constituents. Today, four years after the Paris

Agreement and two years after the IPCC

report that showed the difference between

a ‘+1.5°C world’ and a ‘+2°C world’, there is

a greater sharing of goals as well as an evergrowing

consensus. The result is that policies

will get a lot more support in the EP today

than they did five years ago.

But which economic model do we want for

2050? Climate action is not punitive: the

more science and data we have the more it

shows that actually there are benefits too.

It is about framing innovation policies and

having investors in cars, appliances and

other industries on board so that we make

sure that money goes in the right direction.

Mr Chatain reminded that the EU is only

a fraction of the global scenario, and if we

are to move towards more ambition for

2050, it has to do this through the exercise

of climate diplomacy, and trying to pull

others to tow the same line. While some

would say that we should not move too

fast, at the same time we should show we

have the policies and that these policies

do work – he said. An example of this is

the recent agreement in Parliament for the

reduction of car emissions. He also added

that the more ambitious we are on cleaning

the transport sector, etc, the better quality

jobs we will have. Thus, it is also important

that the EU also aims at giving European car

manufacturers a competitive advantage.

With regards to single use plastics, society is

already ahead of lawmakers, and an example

of this is the 2014 plastic bag ban, where

people managed to make the switch without

a problem. This feedback teaches lawmakers

that Europeans in different countries are

probably ready to move towards more

environmentally-friendly policies.

Ms Kathiana Ghio, Deputy Head of Cabinet,

Environment Commissioner, EC, observed

that working globally is one of the main

tasks of the European Commission and

that tackling climate change only within

the EU will not by itself tackle climate

change. On the issue of how to reconcile

the EU’s macro perspective with people’s

everyday lives, she emphasized that when

taking the issue to the citizens, we need to

ensure that our policies are tailor-made to

the realities on the ground. It is imperative

for the citizens to know that their country

is part of burden-sharing exercise in

reducing CO2 emissions, and that their

daily actions - whether they’re driving

their car, consuming food and products,

or managing their garbage - impact this

shared effort.

Continued on page 48


ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE

Malta Business Review

Go on, be honest. How many

times have you stood frozen in

the kitchen, holding a container

from last night’s Pad Thai in one

hand and an old blueberry yoghurt pot in

the other? Which one goes where? Can

you recycle the foil lid? Do you think it’s

socially acceptable to chuck the yoghurt

pot in with the regular trash, and do you

have to be at work in three minutes so

you’re losing the will to care?

Recycling is crucial. Earlier this month a

record-breaking deep sea dive found a

plastic bag in the bottom of the Mariana

Trench. Animals are being found dead

stuffed with plastic straws and coffee

cups. At the rate we’re generating singleuse

plastics, we’re damaging the natural

environment far too quickly for it to

sustainably survive. Unless we change.

This is why it’s essential we engage in

effective recycling waste management.

The truth is, we generate too much waste

as a population for traditional waste

management to be effective anymore:

that's around 1.3 billion tonnes of waste

each day. Is there a way to recycle more

sustainably? Using AI to effectively manage

waste management could be the solution.

The World Bank predicts that by 2025, we

will generate 2.2 billion tonnes of waste a

day. AI has to play a role in change as it’s

the only way we can sift through such giant

amounts of rubbish on such a large scale.

Climate crisis is already here.

Mark Hall, CEO of Business Waste points

out that if everyone did their bit in the

first place, there’d be no need to recycle.

“If manufacturers didn’t create products

that didn’t need to be recycled, then we

wouldn’t need recycling at all.”

To be honest if everyone did their bit, if

we didn’t have manufactures creating

products that can’t be recycled then we

wouldn’t need to recycle. BusinessWaste.

co.uk is the waste company that hates

waste, we want to prevent it and divert

it all away from landfill. It should work

like the following: prevention, re-use,

recycling, recovery, and disposal.”

AI, or artificial intelligence, is a system

that has the ability to learn and develop

itself from experience, rather than being

programmed by a human to do something.

And in the world of recycling, it’s already

being used to good effect.

ZenRobotics are hoping they have the

answer. They’re a world leader in waste

separation, and in 2011, the Finnish

company began to use AI to manage waste

more efficiently. Their solution? A robotic

waste sorter. They programmed the robot

to identify elements that could be recycled

The Robots

Are Coming

(to recycle)...

By 2025, we will generate 2.2 billion tonnes of

waste a day. AI has a role to play in helping us

sift through such giant amounts of rubbish.

from the factory belt, and these were

then removed and sorted. Data supplied

from sensors, 3D laser cameras and

spectroscopic cameras to identify what can

and can’t be recycled. The robots are used

across 10 different countries.

Robots are also being physically used in

waste disposal centres. They are able to work

non-stop and use AI to sift through mounds

of rubbish. The robots use computer vision

systems, which are adept at recognising if

something is recyclable or not.

And, if you’re one of those people who

constantly finds themselves questioning

whether to recycle a dog food can or not,

then breathe easy.

Hall says: “AI is already here. It’s in smart

bins that use sensors and cameras to split

the waste into compartments so the only

waste that is suitable goes to landfill and

everything else is sorted into the right

recycling box. It’s also in use at recycling

plants with machines that sort recycling

waste can learn from touch and weight for

Continued on page 49

AI is already here. It’s

in smart bins that use

sensors and cameras

to split the waste into

compartments so

the only waste that is

suitable goes to landfill

and everything else is

sorted into the right

recycling box.

www.maltabusinessreview.net

45


Malta Business Review

FOCUS: CHINA

China’s looming current account deficit

will have consequences for us all

Investors need to mitigate the risks

of China’s looming current account

deficit, coming at a time of ballooning

U.S. budget deficits.

This is the warning from a Senior

International Investment Strategist at

one of the world’s largest independent

financial advisory organisations. The stark

observation from deVere Group’s Tom

Elliott comes as the escalating trade war

between the U.S. and China – the world’s

two largest economies -threatens to curb

Chinese exports, accelerating the Asian

powerhouse’s lurch towards a current

account deficit. He explains: “China has

spent the last two decades turning its trade

surplus into purchases of overseas assets,

from U.S. Treasuries to London property.

“But China is changing. Its current account

is about to turn negative, meaning its

economy will be increasingly dependent

on foreign capital to continue growing. This

has potentially far-reaching implications,

not just for China, but for the U.S. and the

rest of the world. The 25% tariff imposed

by the U.S. on $500 bn worth of Chinese

imports will accelerate this trend.”

He continues: “As China stops being a large

buyer of U.S. Treasuries, America’s budget

deficit is ballooning and will be just short of

$1 trillion this fiscal year. The combination

is negative for U.S. Treasuries, and may

help drive up U.S. and global bond yields.”

“Investors around the world may see

higher global borrowing rates, from car

loans to mortgages, because of the end of

the Chinese savings glut. This could trigger

a global economic downturn. The two main

drivers of this change both reflect the fact

that China has become wealthier, and that

a growing middle class has cash to spend.”

“First, the growth in the export of goods

has not kept pace with the growth of

consumer imports. China’s deficit in

traded goods with Japan and South Korea

has grown.

“Second, a huge increase in Chinese

tourism abroad has occurred over the last

decade which has increased the persistent

deficit in services. In 2018, Chinese visitors

spent $240 billion more abroad than

foreign visitors spent in China, thanks in

part to their lavish spending habits. In

2017 Harrods, the London department

store, reported that mainland Chinese

overtook British customers as the largest

customer group.

“Domestically, the Chinese authorities have

responded to the change in the current

account by opening China’s capital markets

to foreign investors, to help boost inflows

of foreign capital.” deVere’s International

Investment Strategist concludes: “China’s

- and therefore the world’s – economy is

changing. Mr Elliott goes on to say: “But

remember, wherever there is disruption

there will be winners.”

“As such, investors should remain

diversified, geographically and by asset

class - that’s to say, maintaining exposure

to equities and bonds, from as many

different issuers as possible - in order to

protect their savings from this uncertainty

and capitalise on the opportunities that

will inevitably present themselves. MBR

e: george@priorconsultancy.co.uk

t: +44 207 1220 925

Twitter: @PriorConsults

Editor’s Note:

deVere Group is one of the world’s

largest independent advisors of

specialist global financial solutions

to international, local mass affluent,

and high-net-worth clients. It

has a network of more than 70

offices across the world, over

80,000 clients and $12bn under

advisement.

46


WINES

Malta Business Review

A portal for journeys into

the mystical

grape

paths of the

By Special Correspondent

Abraham’s Vini e Capricci’s recent

foray into the exquisite world

of food and wine left those

attending the evening in awe of

the food and wine pairings. The successful

evening on the 11th of May was the

result of an exciting collaboration at Vini e

Capricci’s own Executive Chef George Borg

and Taro at The Villa’s Executive Head

Chef Adrian Buttigieg. Supported by their

respective brigades, they presented a true

gastronomic experience to the guests,

whose star-studded list was led by the

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat. “Excellence

in quality is achieved through the

symbiosis of imported produce and locally

sourced materials. This brings out the

strengths of the menu as designed by

Chef Borg and Chef Buttigieg” said owner

Abraham Said. Their strong passion and

creativity in culinary arts, added Said,

brought together concoction of the finest,

freshest ingredients translated into a fiove

course dinner, starting with imaginative

canapés and delectable petit fours. “This

has always been our target”, added Said,

“the quest for excellence in the matching

of quality products and discerning clients”.

The participation of Distillerie Berta,

Donatella Cinelli Colombini, Livio Felluga

and Michele Chiarlo, prominent distillery

and wineries in the world made this

evening a momentous one. The strong

yet limpid grappa of the Distillerie Berta

showcases a strategy for quality that has

been refined over generations. From

the deep heartland of the great Tuscan

Reds, came the wines of Donatella Cinelli

Colombini, who draws on years of old

tradition and range of experience. Livio

Felluga’s oenological experience descends

through five generations of vine-lovers

and particularly white wine, sweet or

not as the case may be. The jewel in the

Livio Felluga range of whites is Picolit, a

supremely complex, warm and mellow

wine that harmoniously unites sweetness

and tangy acidity. A true “meditation

wine”, Picolit is as subtle and precious as

the old gold it evokes in the glass. Michele

Chiarlo has been vinifying the essence of

Piedmont, loving and developing one of

the most incredible wine regions in the

world. They cultivate over 100 hectares

of vineyards between Langhe, Monferrato

and Gavi which are among the finest crus.

For Michele Chiarlo, Distilleria Berta,

Donatella Cinelli Colombini and Livio Felluga,

the evening also signalled the relationship

which along the years went beyond

commercial interests and today they are

part of Abraham’s family. Parts of the

Vini e Capricci cellars were stacked with

their exclusive stock. For these companies,

this is undoubtedly a market while for the

clients, this is definitely a portal for journeys

into the mystical paths of the grape. MBR

This has always been our target: the quest for

excellence in the matching of quality products

and discerning clients.

www.maltabusinessreview.net

47


Malta Business Review

CLIMATE CHANGE

Continued from page 44

In her intervention, Professor Simone

Borg, Malta’s Climate Change Ambassador,

pointed to the EU plan to achieve net zero

emissions by 2050, and outlined the three

main pillars of climate action: mitigation

(reducing emissions), adaptation to climate

change and, most important and perhaps

challenging of all, the governance of

climate change issues. Being a very crosssectoral

subject, climate change does not

just concern environmental issues and if

we are to acquire a low-carbon economy

and achieve net-zero emissions, we require

a radical shift in the way we presently do

things. With this aim, the EU has required

all its Member States to each have a plan

of how to achieve a low-carbon economy,

while establishing also its own Energy and

Climate Plan. This features targets for 2020

and 2030, which targets are a means to an

end and are meant to put all the Member

States on track to eventually become netzero

emitters by 2050.

Being a group of member countries, the

EU has the strength of not just being a

promoter of climate action, but also of

being a union of states which help each

other out so that the reduction in emissions

is achieved collectively. At the same time, it

has a most rigorous legal framework that

imposes legal obligation on members to

reduce emissions. It has addressed climate

change mitigation in sectors like power

stations, industries, agriculture, waste, and

land, air and maritime transport.

Prof. Borg remarked that Malta is currently

experiencing a works-in-progress attitude

towards reaching its climate action targets,

and that it has to be mindful that it has

certain realities that other MS do not

have - a small territory, the economies of

scale, its isolation - which all contribute

to making our choices more limited.

Nonetheless, these same factors can

be regarded as strengths too, such as

working closer together because we are

smaller. She mentioned how, in 2016, the

Climate Action Board watchdog was set up,

with the aim to sensitise the sectors and

materialise stakeholder Dialogue.

Prof. Borg gave examples of the rewarding

experience of various sectors of Maltese

society that embarked on their own

climate action campaigns, from Ekoskola,

to a campaign set up by the nursing

department at UOM; from the various

activities organised by the Malta Business

Bureau and the Chamber of Commerce, to

initiatives taken by certain hotels to make

their tourist product eco-friendly and less

energy intensive.

Mr. Mark Sultana, Birdlife Malta CEO,

remarked that the biggest challenge to

politicians is to get people to take policies

on board. A clear example of this was the

plastic bag ban loophole. In this sense, it is

not just about policy, it is about explaining to

the people why we are introducing policies.

He emphasized the importance of

explaining to the people the issue and the

risks of climate change, the need for people

to start voicing more their concerns with

nature, and that a massive participation by

the civil society in this regard would result

in a stronger lobby power and the demand

for politicians with a backbone. He pointed

to the fact that we humans are part of

nature and that messing up with nature is

messing up with ourselves.

People are worried that if sea levels

continue to rise, we will lose Għadira,

the Sliema waterfront and the Maltese

wetlands. He also mentioned how, despite

the closing-down of the Marsa power

station, today we recurrently have 6 or

7 cruise liners docked in port, using the

dirtier sulphur fuel in the Mediterranean

than that used in the North Sea, which has

lead to a worsening air quality. This, he

said, is unfair, and that is why they were

pushing against it around the EU.

Mr Sultana continued by saying that the civil

society organisations (CSOs) see the EU as

a watchdog that makes sure governments

do what they’re supposed to do, and that

they want the European Commission to

push harder. CSOs exist because there is

a gap in government. When governments

have conscience, there would be no need

for such organisations, Mr Sultana added.

He concluded by saying that, on the local

level, the EU is inviting CSOs where the

government is not inviting them, and that

is the reason why we need the EU. With

reference to the recent European elections,

he concluded that CSOs are empowered by

the vote and that we need to have a good

turnout in the 2019 European Elections so

we would have a stronger voice when we

talk to the EU.

Concluding, Prof. Borg said that climate

action is a join-the-dot exercise that is

meant for everybody - from the grassroots

level to the decision-makers, and

that it very much depends upon what we

as civilians demand and do, and in our

capacity as consumers, business people

or tourists, to make choices. The more

conscious we are of our choices and

on how these can contribute to climate

mitigation, adaptation to it, and to better

governance, the quicker we can achieve

net-zero emissions.

Replying to a question from the audience,

Ms Ghio said that the purpose of the

European Commission’s long-term

strategy is consultation. To that end,

Commissioner Arias Canete and his team

have been touring to see where the

Member States want to go. On these lines,

the June European Council will be decisive,

as the EU will be working on the political

priorities of the next legislature and, just

like climate change was a political priority

for the Juncker Commission, it is now up

to the citizens, through this consultation

process, to push their governments to

make sure that climate change remains a

political priority and, if anything, that it is

strengthened through stronger links with

biodiversity, where we are also entering

into a crisis.

The EU Roadmap to Fighting Climate

Change was organised jointly by the

European Parliament Liaison Office

and the Gozo NGOs Association as

part of the European Parliament’s This

Time I’m Voting campaign – www.

thistimeimvoting.eu – in Malta www.

diddarbasenivvota.eu/ – aiming to give

citizens a voice on EU issues that matter

to them - in the run up to the European

Elections on May 25. MBR

48


CITYWEALTH AWARDS

Malta Business Review

Equiom, the global professional

services provider is pleased to

announce that its Global Chief

Executive Officer, Sheila Dean has

been named ‘Outstanding Individual of the

Year’ in the 2019 Citywealth Magic Circle

Awards.

The Citywealth Magic Circle Awards

celebrate the best advisors and managers

in the global private wealth sector.

Individuals are assessed through a rigorous

set of criteria including technical expertise

and recommendations, qualifications and

experience, demonstrated growth of the

business over the past year and leadership

initiatives. The winners are selected

through a mix of public voting and judging

by a panel of industry experts.

Sheila’s winning submission highlighted

her strong leadership skills and impressive

vision for the future of Equiom.

Commenting on the win, she said: ‘It

is humbling to be recognised in such a

significant way by Citywealth. It has been

a very successful year for Equiom. We

have expanded into two new jurisdictions,

launched two additional service lines

and established three new offices. As we

continue to provide the highest levels of

client service, we are always striving to

be better in each and every area of our

business and this award demonstrates

all of our achievements and more. I am

proud to accept the award for Outstanding

Individual of the Year and know I couldn’t

have done it without the support of a

strong professional team at my side. I look

forward to leading the incredible Equiom

team through all of the successes and

challenges that the future holds.’

Sheila’s successful career with Equiom has

been founded on her belief in building

partnerships with clients and intermediaries,

some of whom she has worked with for

more than 30 years. Shelia has led the

company through two management

buyouts and 24 acquisitions and has been

shortlisted for and won numerous awards

over the past eight years.

EQUIOM CEO,

SHEILA DEAN NAMED

OUTSTANDING INDIVIDUAL

OF THE YEAR

About Equiom

We are a global professional services

provider, working with you to navigate twists

and turns to achieve your ambitions. We

provide an unrivalled breadth of bespoke

end-to-end wealth protection and support

services to private clients, corporate clients

and funds to facilitate wealth generation

and security. We deliver those services The

Equiom Way – with passion, reliability and

responsiveness. For information on the

regulatory status of our companies, please

visit equiomgroup.com/regulatory

Equiom’s Award Successes

We have been consistently recognised as

a leader in professional services sector.

To learn more about our awards visit

equiomgroup.com/the-equiom-way MBR

For more information about Sheila and Equiom, including our award wins, visit The Equiom Way

Recycling is crucial. Earlier this month a

record-breaking deep sea dive found a plastic

bag in the bottom of the Mariana Trench.

into dumpsters and skips. Data is then

collected from the receptacles and

information is shared about what items

have been incorrectly placed. They can

then see which businesses or restaurants

are putting the wrong items in the rubbish

bins and encourage them to change.

Such measures may seem dramatic, but

when we’re dealing with billions of tonnes

of recycling generated each day, we need

to act now. It’s vital that we get an army of

people and machines on board to combat

climate crisis.

For more information about recycling,

Check out Virgin Unite to see how they’re

trying to change the world, one project at

a time. MBR

Courtesy: Virgin

Continued from page 45

example so it can sort which grade plastic

something is.

The Mechatronics Systems Engineering

company, at Simon Fraser University,

designed a way to transform waste

management and businesses by designing

smart bins. These bins can sort the rubbish

out once it’s in the bin. Using sensors, the

bin uses data to decide what to do with

the rubbish and where it should be sorted

to. Depending on what it has decided, the

bin sends the rubbish to the appropriate

location, whether that’s a dump or a

recycling centre.

And it’s not just home and office recycling

that’s revolutionising the status quo.

San Francisco company Compology

aims to use AI to motivate businesses

to recycle better by building technology

Mark Hall

CEO of

Business Waste

www.maltabusinessreview.net

49


Malta Business Review

NEWSMAKERS

The implications of the Digital Tax are becoming clearer and therefore

Malta urges caution at EU level

“Malta was asking other member states to be cautious about

going for a quick fix Digital Tax in view of the implications

which are now becoming clearer, that as Europeans the

impact on us could be serious and possibly ominous. This is

because Europeans are mostly exporting countries and the

significant loss in revenue would be enormous if we were to

switch corporate taxation on consumers.” This was stated by

the Minister for Finance Edward Scicluna while addressing

the ECOFIN Council which met today in Brussels.

The minister further stated that Malta fully supports the

setting up of a working group to examine the various

impacts on EU member states of the various tax proposals

being put to the OECD, as a result of the increasing

digitisation of the economy.

On the issue of excise taxation on wines and spirits, the

minister explained the reasons why Malta was asking for a

derogation for Malta’s wine producers to allow for a lower

excise tax on wines.

The Finance Minister participated also in the Eurogroup

meeting which was convened on Thursday. The Eurogroup

meeting focused primarily on the Budgetary Instrument for

Minister for Finance Edward Scicluna with the

Managing Director of the European Stability

Mechanism Klaus Regling

Convergence and Competitiveness (BICC) which forms part

of the ongoing discussion on the deepening of the Economic

and Monetary Union, through the setting up of a Eurozone

budget. The discussion on the BICC centred on the revenue

aspects as well as the overall features this instrument

should contain.

During the meeting, Minister Scicluna stated that Malta

cannot agree with the introduction of this instrument if its

financing would impinge on the national tax sovereignty.

Minister Scicluna added that the allocation criteria to

Minister for Finance Edward Scicluna with the

President of the Ecofin Council and Minister for Public

Finance of Romania, Eugene Teodorovici

be used for the instrument should not discriminate

disproportionately amongst member states and should

not be based exclusively on population. Minister Scicluna

argued that member states which have converged in the

past, but are experiencing an element of divergence, should

also be given preference.

Discussions on this instrument are expected to continue

with the aim of reaching an agreement in June. MBR

Photos: MFIN

Maltese aviation cluster expanding

and growing annually

Artificial Intelligence as a tool

for diplomacy

The aviation cluster in Malta will

grow to include British aircraft

manufacturer and aviation services

provider Britten-Norman, through

a Heads of Agreement signed

between Malta Industrial Parks and

the company. The establishment of a

local base will involve an investment

of €1 million over a three-year period

and will create 14 new quality jobs.

Through discussions with Malta Enterprise and Malta Industrial Parks, an airside land allocation

has been assigned at the Safi Aviation Park for the company to consolidate its operations.

Britten-Norman’s operation from Malta will have multiple facets, having already applied for

approvals from Transport Malta’s Civil Aviation Directorate for a number of operations. The

company has applied for an Air Training Organisation certificate so that it can train pilots in

Malta, as well as for a Maintenance Training Organisation certificate in order to train engineers

and technicians on this type of aircraft. Britten-Norman shall also be looking at registering

a number of its aircraft on the Malta registry and has recently entered a new three-year

agreement for training of the AFM pilots.

The cluster in Malta has seen extensive investment by the government in order to

facilitate operations. This investment has been centred around four new hangars at the

Safi Aviation Park that has been constructed since 2016 through ERDF funds, that has

propagated a specialised industrial area designed to provide secure, airside facilities

for the industry, particularly within the MRO sector. “Malta aims to develop into a fullyfledged

aviation centre that supports the entire spectrum of aviation-related services. We

are committed to continuing to build a cluster of quality and Britten-Norman’s addition is

a testament to the potential of our jurisdiction,” said Minister Cardona.

The aviation cluster as the end of April 2019, employed 1,409 individuals representing

an increase of circa 5.4% on the employment levels recorded in the same month in the

previous year. Employment within the MRO sector has been particularly strong. As at the

end of April 2019 under MRO activities, there were 959 FT employees. This represents an

increase of 78 full-time employees (or +8.9%) on the levels recorded in April 2018. As at

the end of April 2019, full-time employment in this sector contributed to 4.8% of the fulltime

employment in the manufacturing sector. MBR

Courtesy: The Ministry for the Economy, Investment and Small Businesses

“While governments need to regulate,

they also need to ensure that they

do not restrict creativity. Artificial

Intelligence (AI) can be used as a tool to

promote trade and within diplomacy, in

terms of the technology supporting the

functions of diplomacy and the day-today

tasks of diplomats. In this respect,

it is important to remember that AI

is not an end in itself but it is only as

useful as it can meaningfully support

diplomats. The Ministry for Foreign

Affairs and Trade Promotion itself will

start integrating blockchain and AI.”

This was stated by Minister for Foreign

Affairs and Trade Promotion Carmelo

Abela during a panel discussion at the

spring edition of the Malta Artificial

Intelligence and Blockchain Summit,

held at St Julian’s end of May 2019. In his remarks, Minister Carmelo Abela referred to the EU

framework on AI and its AI guidelines, stating that, “Malta is formulating a national AI Strategy

that will be ethically aligned, transparent and socially responsible to strengthen Malta’s appeal

as a hub for foreign investment in this sector, while identifying the underlying skill base and

infrastructure needed to support AI.”

The Maltese laws on blockchain can be used as a template on an EU-wide level. The United

Nations and the Council of Europe have a role to play to ensure that AI is used respecting

human rights. The minister referred to Africa and the great opportunities it offers for companies

based in Malta even in the fields of blockchain and AI: “Overseas Development Aid in Africa

should embrace blockchain and AI. A practical example of how this technology is already used is

remote health. If used correctly AI can reduce the world divide rather than increase it.”

The minister outlined that the 31 smaller states in the Commonwealth could be assisted by the

Commonwealth Small States Centre of Excellence based in Malta that could provide a virtual

space in which new or untested software or coding can be run securely for other member

states. The Malta Blockchain Summit, taking place over a three-day period, is organised

by Sigma with the intent to connect global thought leaders, policy makers, investors, and

blockchain and AI startups from all over the world. The forum is dedicated to blockchain and AI

and its revolutionary impact on each sphere of human activities. MBR

Photos/Courtesy: MFTP - The Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Trade Promotion

50


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Malta Business Review

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51


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