Lying at the gateway between two continents, the Maltese archipelago is a group of three islands of about 325 square kilometres. Malta is situated just to the south of Sicily, and is a few hours flight from any European capital. Malta has long played a pivotal role in the Mediterranean. The islands boast a history spanning some 7,000 years.
Socio Political Make-up
Malta has a stable economy, well oriented internationally credit rating agencies rate Malta highly. The World Markets Research Centre has rated Negligible Overall Risks.
Maltese Law is based on the code Napoleon and European and English law. Legislation is drafted in Maltese and English and proceedings in court may also be carried out in English. Malta has a low crime rate and is a safe country to live in.
Maltese and English are the official languages of Malta. English is the language of education and business. German, French, Spanish and Arabic spoken at a lesser degree. Translations widely readily available. Italian is widely spoken.
Malta has a high standard of education with round 20,000 students attending the university or tertiary education institutions.
Foreign Direct Investment
Determined to attract foreign direct investment, Malta offers attractive incentives to companies manufacturing high value added products, R&D, IT, pharmaceuticals and avionics. Following the revolution in communication technology Malta has transformed its erstwhile insular handicap into strength. Huge investments are still being made at all levels in communication technology so as Malta can claim to be a truly modern infrastructure in this respect with one of the highest broadband accesses in the EU.
Information and Communications Technology (ICT): Malta rates highly amongst Mediterranean countries in the technology index. The world economic forum competitiveness index ranks Malta 13th out of 133 countries for financial market sophistication in its 2009/2010 report, with a banking sector that is 13th soundest in the world.
A European Model
Perfectly placed for International Business, Malta is a frontier state in the EU close to North Africa. Malta easily acts as a bridge between the two continents across the Mediterranean. Indeed the excellent relationships with all neighbouring countries sets Malta in a prominent position achieve objectives.
The country provides in itself an exceptionally safe society and a good business environment with high levels in accountancy, legal and education systems which evolved from British and European models.
Throughout the ages Malta's strategic location connecting two Continents has placed it as a focal point in the Mediterranean and regional affairs, albeit for different reasons and circumstance. Modern times are no exception and although still better known as a tourist location. What is less known is the fact that Malta is becoming an increasing important launching pad for successful business investment – to which numerous international companies such as HSBC, Lufthansa, De La Rue, Aventis, Playmobil, ST Microelectronics and Microsoft have discovered.
Top reasons to do business here
If you are still uncertain whether Malta is the right business location for you, below is a quick check-list:
- Relative ease of incorporation for non-regulated entities
- Audited accounts must be prepared in accordance with IFRS’s and filed for public inspection
- Low minimum capital requirements - US$1,500
- No local shareholders or directors required
- Low registration and maintenance costs
- No “thin-capitalisation” rules
- Share capital, accounting, and tax in a foreign currency
- No withholding taxes on remittances of dividends, interest, and royalties to nonresidents
- Possibility of “flighting” companies to and from Malta
- Extensive DTT network – aggressive policy of expansion
- Lower costs
- Quality of life - convenient European time zone
- Accessible and solution oriented regulator
- High quality workforce - fluent in English. Other mainland languages not uncommon
- Tax efficiency
- Quality Professional services
- “Can do” attitude
- Political Stability and a safe country
- Variable share capital companies - SICAVS
- Licensed trustees as registered shareholders
- No exchange controls
- Choice of accounting year-end
- Tax only payable at the earlier of 18 months after year-end, or when a dividend is paid
- Low capital duties – max US$1,600
- Stamp duty exemptions
- Capital gains normally exempt (or treated in same way as foreign income)
- Defined capital reduction rules