07 January 2004

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Zarb Adami defends Maltacom’s Lm170,000 Portomaso acquisition

By Matthew Vella
Former Maltacom chairman Maurice Zarb Adami has justified the purchase of a Lm170,000 Portomaso apartment by the telecom company during his tenure as chairman as "a good business proposition".
Maltacom’s purchase of a luxury apartment at Portomaso in 2002 was a mystery which neither the Minister for Investment and IT, Austin Gatt, newly responsible for the company following a cabinet reshuffle in 2003, could answer. Gatt had listed the purchase of the apartment in Parliament at the end of the budget debate, when he asked what sense it had made for Maltacom to buy the Portomaso property. The acquisition was never declared to shareholders through a company announcement.
Maltacom is listed on the Malta and the London Stock Exchanges.
Zarb Adami, today the chairman of Gozo Channel Co Ltd, told the Malta Financial and Business Times that they had seen the purchase of the pricey apartment at the prestigious Portomaso with the intent of re-selling the property at a profit. Maltacom is now trying to sell the flat.
Asked why Maltacom had broached in property speculation with the acquisition of this single apartment, Zarb Adami said that companies today were diversifying their business. Admitting that this was not Maltacom’s core business, he said:
"Which commercial company today works only in its core business and not in other activities, if there are opportunities to be taken?"
Zarb Adami also said the apartment provided the possibility to have foreign guests use the place when visiting the islands. It is also known that the flat has also been used as a conference room.

Copyright © Newsworks Ltd. Malta.
Editor: Saviour Balzan
The Malta Financial & Business Times, Newsworks Ltd, Vjal ir-Rihan, San Gwann
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