Adopting the euro as the traditional currency had long been seen as a key element in Malta’s potential attractiveness to investors¸ and as official reports over the two years prior to euro adoption confirmed that Malta was on target for achieving the Maastricht criteria¸ foreign direct investment figures for 2006 and 2007 soared¸ while UNCTAD’s World Investment Report 2007 ranked Malta in 6th place globally for inward investment performance.
Indeed¸ over the latest few years Malta’s financial services industry has attracted a number of leading financial companies to set up operations on the island. These include insurance companies such as Munich Re¸ Aon March¸ JLT Insurance¸ Heritage¸ Willis¸ Health Lambert¸ fund administrators such as Apex¸ TMF¸ Custom House and HSBC¸ banks such as Credit Europe¸ Finansbank¸ Banif¸ the International Banking Corporation and Saadgroup Bank Europe as well as a selection of Fortune 100 companies who have structured financial operations on the island.
The latest verified data available indicate that Malta attracted 417 million euro in the first nine months of 2008. This is significantly less than the 642.6 million euro won by Malta in the same period of 2007¸ however¸ while FDI flows worldwide are expected to decelerate in the next two years¸ Malta is still attracting inward investment¸ albeit at a slower rate than in the past couple of years. Malta’s best year for foreign investment was 2006 when record amounts were registered (1.4 billion euro)¸ however figures for that year included one-off events such as the sale of national Telecoms operator¸ Maltacom (since renamed GO)¸ as well as Malta’s successful bid for two major international projects¸ winning the largest foreign investment projects the island has ever seen: SmartCity Malta¸ an investment of US$300 million (220 million euro) from Dubai Internet City’s Tecom Investments¸ and Lufthansa Technik’s 60 million euro expansion of their existing Maintenance¸ Repair and Overhaul (MRO) operations in Malta