11 July 2001

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Malta and Iceland debate greater economic linkages

Minister for Economic Services Josef Bonnici has just returned from a short visit to Iceland where he had meetings with Ms Valdgerdur Sverrisdottir, Minister of Industry and Commerce, and with Mr Sturla Boovarsson, Minister of Communications. The objective of these meetings was to discuss opportunities for greater economic linkages between Malta and Iceland and to identify initiatives that could result in greater investment and trade flows between the two countries.
The visit was prompted by the acquisition of Pharmamed Ltd. in Malta by the Icelandic pharmaceutical company Delta Ltd., which acquisition has just now been formally concluded. In Rejkjavik, Minister Bonnici visited the head office and principal factory of Delta Ltd. which manufactures a wide range of generic pharmaceutical products with flourishing exports, primarily to the European Union.
Delta Ltd. had been seeking to expand its production capacity and the acquisition of Pharmamed will give it the additional skilled personnel, plant and equipment that it requires, to meet its current expansion plans. The activities of the two companies are also complementary from a marketing perspective, with Delta being primarily active in the European market and Pharmamed exporting primarily to African and Asian countries.
From a Maltese perspective, this acquisition is a most significant development that should lead to an injection of additional management expertise and a greater local involvement in Research and Development activity. It also introduces the prospect of new products and new markets, which could herald a new development phase for the pharmaceutical industry in Malta, in general.
It is anticipated that political and economic ties between Malta and Iceland will be enhanced further over the coming months. It is expected that a double-taxation treaty between the two countries will be concluded by the end of the year. The Icelandic Minister of Foreign Affairs, who is also responsible for external trade, is due to visit Malta later this year to help cement the closer contacts that are being developed.

The Business Times, Network House, Vjal ir-Rihan San Gwann SGN 07
Tel: (356) 382741-3, 382745-6 | Fax: (356) 385075 | e-mail: editorial@networkpublications.com.mt