BNF Bank marks listing on the Malta Stock Exchange with ringing of the bell ceremony

BNF Bank p.l.c. has celebrated its very first listing on the Malta Stock Exchange with the traditional “Ringing of the Bell” ceremony. The Bank’s bond issue was a resounding success, allocating its €5,000,000 over-allotment option in full and closing the issue at €20,000,000 one week in advance of its closing date.

Throughout these years, with the new shareholders taking over the Bank’s majority stake in 2016, BNF has delivered a resilient and robust financial performance across a highly valued and trusted brand, immediately associated with the personalised service and customer-centric approach that BNF Bank has become renowned for. The listing will enable the Bank’s continued growth plans, delivering high-quality service to its customers and supporting the community which it serves.

Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director Michael Collis expressed his satisfaction at the successful closing of the bond issue, saying “We are very pleased with the market’s response and the strong show of confidence by local investors. We thank our appointed Sponsor & Manager, Jesmond Mizzi Financial Advisors, Legal Counsel, Ganado Advocates, and the Malta Stock Exchange as the registrar for their support in this issue. A special thanks goes to the dedicated team at BNF Bank who worked hard on this issue and all our staff for their continued passion and dedication in their daily work.”

HSBC Insurance Malta strengthens sustainability commitment

HSBC Insurance Malta Ltd has been strengthening its sustainability commitment by expanding the range of environmental and social governance (ESG) initiatives to meet both its decarbonisation and employee well-being priorities. In this framework, HSBC Insurance Malta is leading the Future Skills Working Group within HSBC Malta’s Climate Action Network.

HSBC Insurance Malta’s ESG commitment is focused on three pillars: exploring sustainable investment opportunities, driving insurance financial inclusivity and establishing sustainable operations. At an HSBC Group level, HSBC Insurance has invested $8.9 million in green bonds and sustainable equity. The Group plans to further increase this investment for the benefit of policyholders and shareholders.

HSBC Insurance Malta has also been including sustainability product disclosures on how the insurer incorporates ESG factors into its policies and processes, using non-legal plain language to improve the customer experience and enable clearer customer understanding. As part of HSBC Malta’s ambitions to transition to net-zero operations and reducing paper usage, HSBC Insurance Malta has embarked on a large-scale system upgrade to support the customer journey by digitising operational process from end-to-end and eliminating paper for record-keeping. Furthermore, marketing literature is now making use of QR codes with the aim of reducing paper usage.

Muriel Rutland, Chief Executive Officer of HSBC Insurance Malta, said: “Our ESG commitments ensure that HSBC Insurance Malta plays its part in encouraging environmental protection, good corporate citizenship and manager accountability to support our transitioning to a net-zero organisation. Together with our partners, we strive to encourage the business community to drive real change towards a net-zero economy which will benefit us all and future generations.”

Additionally, HSBC Insurance Malta has been active in supporting corporate social responsibility projects. HSBC Malta Insurance employees undertook two beach clean-ups organised by Nature Trust – Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) Malta earlier in the year as part of HSBC Malta’s voluntary leave scheme. Further initiatives in the pipeline include a collaboration with the JA Malta Foundation to deliver sessions to Skolasajf, Malta’s governmental summer school scheme, and interviewing sessions for fifth formers to assist secondary school leavers in developing their interviewing skills via hands-on, real-life experiences.

Hili Properties plc acquires majority shareholding in prestigious Romania office complex

Hili Properties plc, the strategic real estate investment subsidiary of Hili Ventures, has acquired a 75% shareholding in Baneasa Real Estate SRL, the owner of the imposing Miro office building in the
Baneasa area of Bucharest from major Romanian developer Speedwell. Hili Properties plc has also agreed to enter into an agreement for the acquisition of the remaining 25% shareholding in two
years’ time.

Commissioned late last year, the Miro is a Class A mixed-use property boasting 23,000 sqm of leasable area spread over five floors and a 1,700 sqm outdoor plaza. It is excellently located on Bucharest’s DN1 highway, providing direct access to the city centre, business hubs, and the airport. Its extensive list of reputable tenants includes KPMG, Rovere, COS, Eaton, Neoclinique, Speedwell,
Stradale/Mitzu, Jura and Hisky.

The Miro has been designed to be a unique, inspiring place of work, with a layout and facilities that shape a motivating space. The property was developed with a focus on the well-being of its
occupants and on sustainability as evidenced by its BREEAM ‘Excellent’ and WELL ‘Platinum’ certifications.

George Kakouras, Managing Director of Hili Properties plc, said: “We are delighted to extend our portfolio in Romania with this prime asset. We look forward to collaborating with Speedwell on the
management of the Miro and to increasing tenant satisfaction. Miro presents us with a solid, longterm investment and perfectly fits our strategy to build on the potential of assets for the benefit of
our shareholders, tenants and the local community. The Miro is a testimony to our vision to leave a positive impact on the communities in which we invest through sustainable buildings.”

Didier Balcaen, CEO and Co-Founder of Speedwell added: “This transaction once again proves that a quality asset always attracts a quality buyer, not least because it attracts high quality tenants. We
are very happy to have Hili Properties as our partner for Miro, knowing that our visions are aligned in properly managing, maintaining and further developing Miro as one of the key office locations in
the Baneasa area.”

The Miro increases Hili Properties’ portfolio value from €173.8 million to €234.2 million and extends the total leasable area to 119,092 square metres. The company’s portfolio comprises seven groceryanchored shopping centres across Latvia’s capital Riga; a private hospital in Bucharest, Romania; properties housing restaurants in key commercial districts in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta and Romania; an industrial plant in Lithuania’s Klaipeda Free Economic Zone; and three dedicated business blocks and office space in Sliema, Marsa and Floriana in Malta.

Its tenants include Premier Restaurants, Swedish-owned supermarket giant Rimi, Norwegian newsagent/convenience chain Narvesen, and international industrial materials manufacturer Rehau.

Debono Group CEO Geoffrey Debono appointed Honorary Consul-General of Japan

Debono Group and its subsidiary Michael Debono Ltd (MDL), Malta’s exclusive agents for Toyota, are proud to announce that Chief Executive Officer Geoffrey Debono has been sworn-in as Honorary Consul-General of Japan after having received his official Letter of Appointment from the Ambassador for Japan in Italy, HE Oe Hiroshi.

During his address Mr Debono said: “I am humbled to have been given this opportunity to further develop Malta’s economic and cultural relationship with Japan. My family’s relationship with this country dates back to 1960, when my late father Michael Debono imported the first Toyota vehicle in Malta and in Europe. Since then, our relationship with Toyota has grown from strength to strength. My personal experience working and interacting with the Japanese through my many visits over the years has always been one of loyalty, respect and hard work and I look at this role as my opportunity to give back.”

Mr Debono took charge of MDL at 21 years of age in 2005 following his father’s passing, thus inevitably taking over the representative company of Toyota Motor Corporation in Malta. Upon taking on his role as CEO, Mr Debono recruited experienced personnel to form his own management team to run the company’s day-to-day operations. Mr Debono has also continually pushed for innovation in mobility, not only keeping in line with Toyota’s vision as it introduced hybrid and electric vehicles to the international market. In addition, Mr Debono together with his team have been at the forefront of improved mobility solutions such as the ridesharing business COOL.

During the last ten years, Toyota has entrenched itself as the leading new car brand in Malta, with MDL retaining its position as a leading brand in Malta, including in customer satisfaction. The Group’s milestones also include the building of a new Toyota Retail Concept showroom and the setting-up of a fully-fledged body repair centre which uses the latest technologies on the market.

Geoffrey Debono graduated with degrees in business and entrepreneurship from the University of Malta and London Business School. He is an active member in the Malta chapter of Young Presidents Organisation (YPO) and won the “Outstanding Young Person Award for 2008’s Business, Economic and/or Entrepreneurial accomplishment” from Junior Chamber International (JCI).

The Ambassador for Japan in Italy, HE Oe Hiroshi, was present for the ceremony, along with the Commander of the Armed Forces of Malta, Brigadier Clinton O’Neil, Mr Debono’s family members and representatives from Malta’s Ministry for Foreign Affairs.

The Malta Chamber and PwC Malta sign Gold Collaboration Agreement

The Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry have signed a Gold Collaboration Agreement with PwC Malta. The aim is to provide a forward-looking vision for the country that supports business community growth through The Malta Chamber’s Think Tank.

Ahead of the signing The Malta Chamber President, Marisa Xuereb, said “while Malta and the world today is witnessing rapid changes across all sectors and industries, the future can be lived and foreseen in our present. With this in mind, PwC Malta are the ideal partners to spearhead the Think Tank, in provoking useful discussion to establish a vision which captures ideas, hopes and aspirations for both current and future generations.”

“In June 2021, the PwC International Network unveiled The New Equation, a global strategy focused on helping clients meet the needs of their shareholders, stakeholders and society. The profound changes in the world mean that organisations can only succeed by creating a virtuous circle between earning trust and delivering sustained outcomes. This collaboration with the Malta Chamber and leading its Think Tank presents an excellent opportunity to bring forward this approach and our ideas to help achieve a future that is human-led and tech-powered for our society” added David Valenzia, Territory Senior Partner at PwC Malta.

The Malta Chamber Think Tank is one of the main horizontal committees with the objective of exploring possibilities and future global economic scenarios with a view to forecast and advise on required strategies and resources. “The ultimate aim and guided by a strategic roadmap, The Malta Chamber Think Tank, supported by PwC Malta, will work through collective imagination, inspiration and design to help define and shape Malta’s future,” said President Xuereb.

The Gold Collaboration Agreement was signed by Ms Marisa Xuereb and Mr Christopher Vassallo Cesareo as President and Deputy President of The Malta Chamber, respectively, and David Valenzia, Territory Senior Partner at PwC Malta.

GasanMamo Insurance reconfirms its partnership with The Malta Chamber of Commerce

For the third consecutive year, GasanMamo Insurance will partner with The Malta Chamber of Commerce to champion the Chamber’s Education Committee’s objective in developing policy in key areas related to upskilling, talent, and education. The insurance company will be supporting The Malta Chamber Education Committee in conducting research and making the required representations about the educational requirements of both the business community and the country in general.

“There is really no way to underestimate the importance of education in employment. Upskilling and reskilling talent is a key component of long-term growth and organizational change,” said Marisa Xuereb, President of The Malta Chamber. “We are honoured to be once again collaborating with GasanMamo Insurance. Through this partnership, we aim to be better prepared in influencing policy to ensure that the business community can tackle emerging challenges, adapt to market changes while nurturing emerging talent,” noted Xuereb.

“We are delighted to renew our support as Bronze sponsors. We see The Malta Chamber as Malta’s leading constituted body which enjoys an excellent reputation as a widely respected social partner, that has a crucial role to play in discussions on matters that impact Malta’s society and economy,” said Julian J Mamo, Managing Director of GasanMamo Insurance. “We have a long-established reputation of operating in ways that make a positive social impact,” he added.

The Bronze Collaboration Agreement was signed by Ms Marisa Xuereb and Mr Christopher Vassallo Cesareo as President and Deputy President of The Malta Chamber, respectively, and Mr Julian J Mamo, Managing Director for GasanMamo Insurance.

Businesses present winning energy case studies at 4th WE MAKE workshop

As part of the WE MAKE Project, the Malta Business Bureau, The Malta Chamber and the Energy and Water Agency held a workshop where best practice businesses shared their experience on how they tapped into energy and water financing opportunities in order to complete a variety of energy and water efficiency projects.

The 4th WE MAKE workshop, held on the 28th July, was attended by over 30 business representatives. The event was kicked off by Ing. Anne Marie Grech, from The Energy and Water Agency, and Ing. Patrick Spiteri Staines, Malta Chamber Energy Efficiency and Conservation Committee Chairperson.

Deco Manufacturing General Manager, George Mifsud gave examples of energy projects identified through the energy audit grant by EWA. He stated that the energy audit report took around 4 months to carry out, with reimbursement within weeks by EWA as part of the energy audit grant programme. Deco Manufacturing have already actioned some of the recommendations in the report, thus benefitting from energy savings as well as non-energy benefits, such as increased productivity in some cases. He emphasized how useful the audit was in helping Deco Manufacturing understand their consumption and operations, as well as opportunities for improvement, and all this coming at no extra burden or cost to the company. Concluding, Mr. Mifsud stated that they are also looking into other Malta Enterprise funding to continue implementing further energy measures.

Ing. Paul Fenech, Crane Currency, Engineering and Reliability Director, explained how over the past year, Crane has invested heavily in adiabatic cooling, with support from the Malta Enterprise Investment Aid for Energy Efficiency financial support measure. The cooling upgrades have resulted in 30% improvement in energy efficiency, and through the Malta Enterprise financial support the ROI was reduced to 1.7 years.

Ing. Jeanice Mallia, Water Quality Engineer at WSC, explained the corporation tapped the EWA RDI Scheme. The RDI project, PurIlma focused on the implementation of Water Framework Directive, by exploring alternative disinfection measures to reduce chlorine usage on potable water. The project is being carried out in collaboration with the University of Malta. It started in Feb 2021, now in the final stages of the project, carrying out pilot studies.

Oli Vibra General Manager, Charles Spiteri, explained how replacing equipment could reduce cycle time by up to 40% and energy demand by up to 60%. The CAPEX for the investments was supported through the Malta Enterprise Smart & Sustainable Scheme. The Scheme was easy to apply for, and a decision was taken to accept the project application by Malta Enterprise within 2 months.
The final speaker, Chantal Giordmaina Head of Quality Assurance at JCL Holdings,and , winner of the Energy and Water Sustainability Award, spoke about the project implemented by the company that led to winning this award. This was based on the savings JCL achieved through various projects. The project included a large photovoltaic installation coupled with demand management to increase performance, and the coupling of rainwater collection reservoirs and a greywater system. Total savings from the project reached 34% from the photovoltaic installation, and 34% from the efficiency measures. The grant awarded as part of the Energy and Water Sustainability Award is being used by JCL Holdings in order to train personnel to ISO 14000.

Addressing attendees, Timothy Alden, The Malta Chamber Policy Executive, said “The project team is committed to ensuring that each event we organize brings value, which is why we invite companies as case studies as often as possible. In the coming months, we will be organizing more workshops and invite companies to get in touch with us to find out how the project can work for you.”

Through the WE MAKE Project, the MBB and the Malta Chamber are offering networking support for interested businesses, and support in identifying and tapping funds for energy and water R&D industry-academia projects. Interested businesses are invited to contact the MBB or the Chamber via

The Water and Energy Management and Knowledge Transfer in Manufacturing Enterprises (We Make) project, is a collaboration between the Energy and Water Agency (EWA), Malta Business Bureau and the Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry, sponsored by the EWA, to give manufacturing industry businesses guidance on how to consume energy and water efficiently.