Archive for January, 2010

Registration of Doctors & Dentists in Malta

January 19, 2010

The Medical Council is the competent authority for the registration of Doctors and Dentists in Malta.  It is not the competent authority for employment matters.

Please find a brief outline of the procedures:

1) First one must be granted registration as a MD.  An application form and a set of explanatory notes may be provided upon request.  Authenticated copies may be scanned and sent by email or by mail.  Having a duly filled application form and all the documents listed, the Medical Council will discuss the case and inform the applicant accordingly;

 2) After registering with the Medical Council, if one is a specialist, one must then apply with the Specialist Accreditation Committee (SAC).  An email is to be sent to the Registrar SAC;

3) For employment within the Public Service, one may visit: www.sahha.gov.mt.

Usually practitioners whose primary qualification is not from an EU-Country are usually asked to sit for an examination.  These are the conditions:

 The exam is usually held during the last week of March and September.  It consists of an interview (oral) in the following subjects:

1.         Family Medicine

2.         Public Health

3.         Medicine

4.         Paediatrics

5.         Obs and Gynae

6.         Surgery

7.         General Pathology

8.         Psychiatry

 One must produce a copy of the first degree in medicine and a good standing certificate from the competent authority where a Medical Practitioner is registered.  Price for the exam is €1,170.

 It is recommended that one studies the 5th year syllabus which may be found on the University Of Malta’s Medical School website; kindly click here.  Please find all the modules which are covered by M.D. III, IV and V Year students during the Clinical Years.

 The Medical Council abides by the: Health Care Professions Act 2003 Chap 464 found in the Laws of Malta and by the EU Directive 2005/36.

 For further information, kindly contact:  medicalcouncil.mhec@gov.mt and should you require anything whatsoever, kindly contact 77 Great Estates on (00356) 2125 2455; (00356) 9944 7444; skype: info.77greatestates or info@77GreatEstates.com.

Give back in 2010

January 19, 2010

77 Great Estates encourages you to support charitable organisations and organisations which help our future generation in any manner whatsoever.  Such as Floriana FC’s nursery – one of Malta’s most successful football nurseries, Dar il-Kaptan – a respite service to people with disabilities and their families – and Fra Diego Home which care for children coming from families with social problems or who have experienced some type of abuse or neglect.  Apart from accommodation, Fra Diego home offers psychological assessment and counselling.

For further information, kindly contact 77 Great Estates on (00356) 2125 2455; (00356) 9944 7444; skype: info.77greatestates or info@77GreatEstates.com.

Record Amount of Bonds, Worth Over €290 Million, Issued in 2009 – Article by Claire Azzopardi – The Commercial Courier Dec 2009 – Jan 2010

January 12, 2010

BUSINESSES IN MALTA DO NOT TRADITIONALLY TURN TO THE STOCK EXCHANGE TO RAISE CAPITAL, BUT THE TIDE HAS CERTAINLY TURNED IN 2009 WITH A RECORD €290 MILLION WORTH OF BONDS ISSUED THROUGHOUT THE YEAR. CLAIRE AZZOPARDI DIGS DEEPER AND FINDS OUT WHAT LED TO THE BOOM ON THE BONDS MARKET AND WHAT IS EXPECTED TO HAPPEN NEXT.

For anyone who follows the local business news, the developments at the Malta Stock Exchange throughout 2009 must have certainly made for an interesting read. Despite the fact that the local business community does not usually turn towards the stock exchange as its primary means of raising capital, the last year seems to have brought a sharp turnaround in this trend with a record €290 million new corporate bonds being issued.

Even though this figure is a mere drop in the ocean when compared to capital raised through bank loans, it is the largest amount of money ever raised by companies in Malta through the stock ex-change. Edward Rizzo, Director of Rizzo Farrugia & Co Stockbrokers, observes that “this is a very positive development, although it has taken many years for the corporate bond market to register such growth and provide companies with another source of funding as opposed to customary borrowing from the bank.”

But perhaps the massive surge in the bond market should not come as a surprise. The historically low interest scenario following the sudden deterioration in global economic conditions by all major central banks, including the European Central Bank has had a remarkable negative effect on the returns earned on deposits held at banks. As a result, the demand for more rewarding investment options rose by a large number of investors, and with this increased demand, it suddenly became much more lucrative for private companies to raise the capital needed by issuing bonds on the stock exchange.

But this also begs the question ‘where is the money coming from?’ One may almost expect that during a recession, potential investors may not have a great amount of money to invest. However, the fact that the Maltese traditionally have a high propensity to save, could mean that many are still in a position to invest.

The safety offered by depositing cash at the bank may not be enough of an incentive to override the riskier, but potentially more rewarding, rates offered by the corporate bond market. Even though this may certainly be the case, Dr Cordina emphasises the fact that it is “quality companies that issue quality bonds will attract investment.”

This seems to indicate that while Maltese investors are showing a keen interest in investing in stocks bonds and shares, they display a tendency towards being risk averse and will carefully select their next investment.

Mr Rizzo explains that in 2009, ten individual private companies issued bonds on the local stock ex-change. He continues to explain that investors’ increased interest in bonds has also spilled over to the ‘secondary market’, with an increasing number of bonds being traded on a daily basis. “An increased awareness of the bond market was sparked when three new bond issues came to the market simultaneously in September – Corinthia Fi¬nance plc, Island Hotels Group Holdings plc and Melita Capital plc – which attracted a great deal of attention from potential investors,” he says.

Dr Gordon Cordina, a well known economist, explains that “in this time of economic crisis, various operators around the world are trying to sell quality bonds at a good rate which is favourable to the investor, and there is a strong demand for it. Take Microsoft for example… this is the first year that this massive global company has turned to the bond market.” “

The current trend is for companies to issue long-term bonds at a low interest rate, but the quality of these bonds is of paramount importance. This trend has also been reflected in Malta, within the limits of the domestic market. The fact that the domestic market had a high liquidity rate was also beneficial for the local bond market, but it is only quality companies and bonds that are likely to enjoy success in this regard,” he emphasises.

Yet another point that may be having a positive effect on the local bond market is linked to the negative experience that a number of local investors have had with some international bonds, including Lehman Brothers. Losses made through investments that lost substantial value during the economic crisis may even have enhanced the attractiveness of investing in local companies, as fluctuations and developments can be closely monitored and responded to in a timely manner.

Interest rate levels are often a double edged sword – while the cost of borrowing may be ‘cheaper’, investing in the bank was no longer an attractive option. This is most certainly one of the main reasons why the local bond market experienced such a surge throughout 2009. Companies and investors that were traditionally more inclined to turn to the banking system for financial support and investment options have increasingly started to turn to the stock market for investment and capital raising opportunities. The role of the stock exchange acting as an efficient intermediary, by facilitating the flow of capital and investment thorough the right channels has started to work more smoothly, and an increased flow was highly evident in recent months.

However, although the bond market has attracted a large inflow of funds in 2009, the same cannot be said for equities.

Mr Rizzo explains that share prices fell by approximately 16 per cent in the first quarter of 2009, hitting a low towards the middle of April. “This was not particularly surprising, as the economic recession has had a massive impact on investor sentiment, as well as financial performances of various companies. An encouraging recovery has been registered, and even though the rate of this recovery in Malta is still lower than that registered in other international markets, we are expecting this positive trend to continue to the end of the fourth quarter and beyond,” he says.

Mr Rizzo explains that four companies in particular have performed well. “Bank of Valletta’s performance has been remarkable – the company’s shares registered an increase of 30 per cent from the beginning of the year. HSBC was another good performer with an increase in share price of 14 per cent, while GO also registered a 10.7 per cent increase. Unfortunately, many of the other companies having shares listed on the stock exchange are still in negative territory,” he concludes.

These intriguing developments on the local and international stock markets will surely be followed closely by all economic stakeholders with government, investors, banks and even the general public using the trends registered within stock markets as an indication of future trends in the economy. Expectations for 2010 are high… perhaps 2010 will be another fruitful year for the Malta Stock Exchange?

COMPANY ISSUED VALUE OF BONDS

 Bank of Valletta plc € 50 million

Corinthia Group of Companies € 25 million

Fimbank plc € 30 million

Gasan Group of Companies € 20 million

International Hotel Investments plc € 35 million

Island Hotels Group Holdings plc € 14 million

Melita plc € 25.9 million

MIDI plc € 40 million

Mizzi Organisation € 30 million

Tumas Group € 25 million

For further information, kindly contact 77 Great Estates on (00356) 2125 2455; (00356) 9944 7444; skype: info.77greatestates or info@77GreatEstates.com.