DAMAC Group representatives have told The Malta Independent that they have “no specific plans yet” for investment in Malta, however mentioned that the recent visit was the first of several which are planned.
The group was responding to questions asked about the kind of investment DAMAC was considering (residential, hospitality-related etc.) in Malta.
Billionaire developer Hussain Sajwani, chairman of Dubai-based DAMAC Properties had expressed interest in private sector investment during a meeting with Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, and did not mention investment which would involve the public sector, government officials have indicate. The recent visit was, government officials said, “a courtesy call arranged by one of the ‘big four’ companies who are advising DAMAC. DAMAC wanted to brief the Prime Minister about their interest in investing in Malta.”
A DAMAC Group representative told this newsroom: “the tour of Malta and the meeting with Prime Minister Muscat showed the positive investment environment that Malta presents for hospitality, leisure and luxury property opportunities.”
The representative said, when asked whether investment in the island was guaranteed, that “DAMAC continues to seek out strategic investments overseas that would enable it to expand its ever-growing footprint beyond the Middle East. Malta is one of several global destinations that DAMAC is exploring, given its growing tourism sector, attractive location and favourable tax incentives for foreign investment.” This response seems to leave things open, and thus it does not yet seem that the Group has decided whether to commit to some form of investment on the island or not.
While OPM spokespersons said earlier this week that during the discussions, that only possible private sector investment was mentioned during the meeting with the Prime Minister, the DAMAC representative did not rule out the possibility of Public-Private partnerships. “While it is too early to tell what type of partnerships, if any, would be shaped in Malta, DAMAC is open to all types of opportunities in both sectors. A recent example of this is the $1Bn project in Oman in which DAMAC was selected as the master developer to transform Port Sultan Qaboos into an integrated tourist port and lifestyle destination that includes hotels, residences, dining, retail and leisure offerings.”
As for the possibility of working with local companies, the representative indicated that if the company does dive into a local project, then the likelihood of working hand in hand with local companies seems likely. “As a leading developer, when DAMAC enters a new country, we work with a number of local and international companies that provide key services that can include architectural design, contracting and construction, as well as legal, financial and government related services. Working with local companies enables us to become a part of the local community while helping small start-ups to succeed and grow, but more importantly, enables us to create jobs for the local pool of talent available in the market.