Making things matters. However, it’s fair to say that Malta, given its tiny size, is not exactly the first place one would expect global investors to do business and build state-of-the art manufacturing. But over the last decades, the government of Malta has turned this island paradise into something more lucrative than just another Mediterranean holiday destination.
1. The main sectors
Manufacturing sector in Malta is one of those post-independence economic development success stories. Once being mostly locally oriented, it revolved around the food, beverage, and furniture. But shortly after gaining independence from the UK, Malta attracted businesses from a number of industries including pharmaceuticals, mechanical engineering, electronics, maritime products, biomedical equipment, as well as packaging and security systems. Of course, Malta is not the industrial superpower that is Germany — it will never be. But today, its manufacturing sector contributes some 10% to the country’s GDP, and accounts for approximately 11% of full-time jobs.
2. High labor productivity and low labor costs
When it comes to making an organization competitive, there’s an essential ingredient – people. Malta has done particularly well in attracting international manufacturers by a relatively low-cost, yet skilled and educated workforce. The 21st century manufacture jobs in Malta have become more challenging and technology-driven, so the country has constantly invested in strong education systems to support the manufacturing sector’s ongoing evolution. The University of Malta offers degree programmes through the faculties of science, engineering and medicine, and the island’s vocational college MCAST offers training in electrical and electronic engineering, among other courses.
3. Innovation is the answer
The long-term goal for the country is to develop an international standing not only as a production base, but also as a test-bed for innovation. The government’s plan is to encourage research, development and innovation activities. Malta will continue stepping up efforts to keep up with the rapid changes in the development of global manufacturing processes and technologies.
STMicroelectronic is an electronics and semiconductor company, the largest private employer in Malta’s manufacturing sector
4. Home to many international players
While the sector is dominated by locally owned firms, there is a number of larger foreign-owned export-oriented manufacturers finding a place in the sun. The French-Italian multinational electronics and semiconductor company STMicroelectronic is the largest player in Malta’s manufacturing sector. Malta is home to the engineering group Trelleborg, packaging specialists Toly Products and toy manufacturer Playmobil. Generics manufacturer Actavis and the Medichem Group are some of the key names in the pharma sector. Aircraft maintenance is headed by Lufthansa Technik and SR Technics, but when it comes to the food and beverage industry, the largest enterprises are Magro Brothers, Farsons and Foster Clark.
5. Ambitions to grow
The manufacturing industry is expected to continue being key to Malta’s economy — the country still has a desire to see new companies setting up on the island. The government introduced business-friendly policies and invested heavily in infrastructure, making it easier for investors to relocate and do business. Starting a manufacturing business in Malta combines two of every entrepreneur's greatest desires: a relatively inexpensive and business-friendly environment with skilled and educated workforce — that’s how Malta attracts foreign companies to its shores.
Read more about the Manufacturing Sector Profile: