The number of high-growth enterprises in Malta fell by 18 per cent in 2017, the steepest fall out of all the EU member states, according to Eurostat.
High-growth enterprises are defined as enterprises with an average annualised growth in the number of employees of more than 10 per cent per year over a three-year period and at least 10 employees when the growth began.
They play an important role in contributing to economic growth and job creation.
In Malta, there was a massive leap in the number of high-growth enterprises between 2015 (251) and 2016 (350).
However, a year later, in 2017, the number had fallen back down to 281.
In 2017, the number of high-growth enterprises in the EU overall increased by 6 per cent compared with 2016. According to the preliminary data for 2017, the number of high-growth enterprises in the EU was 190 000, compared with 180 000 in 2016.
These enterprises provided jobs for around 16 million employees: a year-on-year increase in employees of 5 per cent.
The number of high-growth enterprises increased by more than the EU average in 16 EU Member States, including Cyprus, Slovenia, Finland, the Netherlands, Italy, and Lithuania.
Besides Malta, high-growth enterprises decreased in four other EU member states: Slovakia (-8 per cent), Hungary (-3 per cent), the United Kingdom and Romania (both -2 per cent).