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.