The number of local and foreign companies registered in Malta was on the increase for the fourth consecutive year in 2018, with the present average reaching 25.5 new registrations a day, the Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry reports citing Joseph Caruana, Registrar at the Registry of Companies Agency (RoC Malta). Presently, the number of foreign-owned companies nearly equals that of owned by Maltese.
While the year 2016 saw the average number of new firms registered standing at 22.2 per day, slightly rising to 22.7 per day in 2017, last year saw a hike to 25.3 on average a day, according to a report by the Malta Chamber. Some 99% of these registrations in 2018 were private limited liability companies, the Malta Chamber says in a post that originally appeared in the Malta Business Observer.
A dropping number of dissolutions also supported the rising figure. In 2018, the number of dissolved firms was 1,232, down from 1,603 in 2016.
Figures by the registrar show that 23,405 foreign or partly-foreign owned firms — with at least one non-Maltese shareholder — are quickly closing the gap, nearing 26,762 Maltese-owned enterprises.
“Maltese business legislation and the regulatory environment are among the most proactive and business-friendly ones in Europe,” says David Xuereb, Deputy President of Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry Deputy President. Mr Xuereb says he believes the local legislative framework provides a “safe and competitive” corporate environment, which is vital for boosting the number of successful applications.
Provided that all the requirements set by the Company Act are satisfied, a company can be established in the archipelago within two or three days by applying to the Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA) and RoC Malta, the Malta Chamber explains.
“The process is also inexpensive; a minimum share capital for private limited liability companies of €1,165 is decreed, of which only 20% has to be paid up front. This can be denominated in any currency, and there are no exchange control restrictions, thus encouraging the use of Maltese corporate vehicles for businesses trading internationally,” the press statement issued by the Malta Chamber says.
Mr Xuereb notes that the corporate environment in Malta is highly similar to Europe in general, which makes the island an attractive spot for companies planning to set up operations in here. He believes this also encourages the international corporate sector.
“We might see emerging segments in the economy attracting new investments and companies to Malta, especially in the fields of fintech, blockchain and distributed ledger technologies (DLTs) and, eventually, artificial intelligence,” Mr Xuereb says. “The motivation and energy seem to be coming from the services industry at this moment,” he adds.
Mr Xuereb notes that the regulatory framework, as well as institutions, should further be strengthened for ensuring sustainable growth in here, adding that the Malta Chamber has a vital role in such progress.