We aim to achieve a leading position through customer satisfaction and repeat services, Charlo Briffa, BH Group – Marine Division managing director, says.
What makes Malta an ideal location from where to operate a yacht services company?
Malta is probably one of the most stable and safest countries in the world. Our geographic location in the heart of the Mediterranean gives us the opportunity to service European and North African countries. The economic climate in Malta is booming and high-net-worth individuals are on the increase and more people are basing their yachts in Malta. The workforce in Malta is the best resource that the country holds. All these factors put together make Malta an ideal location for organisations like ours to invest and operate in the yacht services industry.
How has the local yacht services industry grown in the past years?
It has grown considerably and this is clearly evidenced through the marinas around Malta. Nowadays Maltese people are gaining more opportunities to develop within the yacht services industry.
Malta offers good value for money to yacht owners. In fact, more in-dividuals are choosing Malta for winter berthing and to carry out winter works on their yachts.
Nonetheless the challenges are considerable. More infrastructure and human resources are needed to service the growing requirements of the industry. We are confident that Government is taking steps in the right direction to address these difficulties. However we just hope that professional operators like our group are given the right opportunities to undertake investments and develop the industry to another level.
Malta’s flag and VAT leasing legislation were certainly other major contributors towards the growth of the yacht services industry. Yachts undergoing VAT leasing in Malta are bound to visit Malta at the beginning and at the end of the lease. This gives Sunseeker Malta the opportunity to service these yachts during their short stay in Malta. Like Sunseeker Malta, other operators get similar opportunities.
Does the island lifestyle form part of the package of owning a boat in Malta?
Foreign direct investment has been on the increase over the past years and we are confident that it should only get better. Malta’s popularity increased globally especially following its EU accession and the launch of the individual investment programme. More high-net-worth individuals are choosing Malta as their base. In various circumstances their next natural move is to purchase property in high-end developments and thereafter purchase a yacht that they would base in Malta and use to cruise around the Mediterranean.
Our duty is that through our yacht concierge and service team, we make sure that these yachts are maintained in pristine condition, well provisioned and ready for use by their respective owner at all times. High-net-worth individuals expect a high level of service that comes part and parcel of the lifestyle that they acquire when purchasing the yacht. It is therefore a must for Sunseeker Malta to consistently aim for perfection in whatever we do and to strive to achieve a leading position through our customer’s satisfaction and repeat services. We are therefore dedicated to provide a service that is a consistent unrivalled experience. At the end, the Malta experience will be determined through the service that we and other service providers provide.
How has Sunseeker Malta grown in the past years?
During the past four years Sunseeker Malta experienced considerable and consistent growth, year by year. This growth was culminated through the sale of the 40-metre yacht that was delivered to our esteemed client at the beginning of this year.
Our group capitalised on the work of our predecessors while at the same time undertook massive strategic investments in equipment, infrastructure, marketing, product, training and employment. Our successful strategy consisted in bringing together an exceptional team that provides a bespoke and unrivalled service. Today Sunseeker Malta employs a multilingual team of 20 individuals who have extensive experience in sectors that include leisure, yachting, marketing, financial, management and engineering.
We are never afraid to push boundaries. This can be evidenced through our international expansion. We believe our approach is what has taken us this far and we are not about to stop now. So much so that locally during the first quarter of 2016, we are planning further investments that will enable us to provide more employment opportunities while increasing and improving our service offering.
As BH Group, what other markets do you operate in?
Our group is operative in Tunisia and Morocco and we plan to be operative in Algeria by mid-2016. We have also commenced market studies in other Middle Eastern and African countries.
In Tunisia our group set up an operation that provides a one-stop solution for boaters that include supply of chandlery goods, luxury water sports toys, tenders, marina products and yachts. In parallel, we established a strong service and maintenance operation that covers all aspects of aftersales services. In Morocco, the operation is still in its infancy as we only launched our activities last month. However the plan is to set up an operation on the same scale of Tunisia.
How do these markets compare to the local one?
Apart from being volatile they are also in their infancy. They are regarded as higher risk countries but the group has a wealth of experience operating in Africa and the Middle East. The current happenings do not really help but we are confident that in the longer term we will reap the expected results from the investments that we undertook in the respective countries.
Subject to the international circumstances that could be beyond our control, 2016 is looking extremely positive for our group. In Malta our objectives include the development of a new aftersales facility, the introduction of a new Sunseeker model Predator 57 that will be launched in March 2016, the employment of additional staff to join our aftersales division, and most importantly to retain our leading position of sales above 100 Feet Yachts. Outside Malta, we aim at the implementation of our project in Algeria.
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