The Malta Independent 1 March 2021, Monday

Maltese businesses more sceptical about improving profits than foreign counterparts - Chamber report

Jake Aquilina Thursday, 18 February 2021, 18:00 Last update: about 10 days ago

Maltese businesses appear to be more sceptical about improve their profitability than their foreign counterparts, with only 38% of 105 CEOs saying that they expected an increase in profits in the next year, a report published by the Malta Chamber of Commerce found.

For comparison, 55% of CEOs in the United States expect their firm’s profitability to increase in the next 12 months, and that figure increases to 65% when analysing CEOs in the United Kingdom.

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The results emerged from the first report of Confidence Index (CI), published by the Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise, and Industry in collaboration with Vistage Malta, which surveyed 105 CEOs across Malta to see how their responses compared to those of others in the US and UK.

“We need to see how businesses are reacting to the pandemic. We need to benchmark and understand how they are performing,” President of the Chamber David Xuereb explained in a press conference on Thursday.

A “positively cautious” outlook to economic growth was noted by Vistage Malta chair Nathan Farrugia, while also mentioning that there are expectations of increased revenues and profitability.

“People are hopeful, the results showed. They expect to see an increase in revenues before an increase in profits. Largely, results are very similar, but are perhaps a bit more sceptic going forward than other countries.”

One of the standout points of the subject is that in Malta, 49% anticipate their revenue will increase during the next 12 months, 35% expect them to remain the same. This is relatively low compared to the US and the UK, as 67% and 71% are positive about having increased revenues in the US and UK respectively.

Another factor was when asked about if they expect their firm’s profitability to improve during the next 12 months, 38% responded in the affirmative, while a further 35% said it will remain the same. When compared to the US (55% to improve, 29% to remain the same) and UK (65% to improve, 21% to remain the same), it shows that Maltese business owners are more sceptical in this regard.

“Maybe gone are the days that GDP growth is the only measure to see how we are doing economically; we need to understand how confident the people who will make the growth happen are ready, prepared and confident,” the chamber’s president said.

Xuereb also said that they are involved in the discussion of the wage supplement to be extended, as it remains an important factor. “It has to be there as long as the country can support it, but we know it can’t be there forever.”

Nevertheless, the pandemic could prove to be a good opportunity to rethink and make businesses more sustainable, the Chamber remarked.

 

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