Just over half of foreign direct investors in Malta believe they will be back to pre-pandemic operations within the next year, a survey has found. 

The latest instalment of the Malta Attractiveness Survey, which is conducted annually by consultancy firm EY Malta, found that 56% of foreign direct investors in Malta estimate they will make a full recovery to 2019 levels in one year or under.

On the other hand, 40% believe the recovery process could take up to three years.

The full survey will be out in October, but the consultancy firm released a sneak peak last week.

EY Malta said around half of investors have not changed their 2020 investment plans despite the ravages of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Seventeen per cent have delayed their plans, however, until 2021 and 12% have decreased their plans slightly.

68% will adopt remote working for the long term and 18% will reduce office space

Some 10% have “substantially decreased” their investment plans and the remaining 7% have completely ruled it out.

EY Malta said the data was gathered throughout June 2020, during one-to-one interviews with top foreign direct investment decision-makers on the island.

A total of 57% of FDI companies say the financial impact of COVID-19 has been negative so far, with a fifth saying they felt no difference, despite the economic slowdown. Interestingly, another 22% said the pandemic had been positive for them.

The sectors worst hit by the outbreak include hospitality, with 100 per cent of respondents saying they had had a rough time lately, and manufacturing at 79%.

Insurance companies (57%) and other financial services (33%) are the sectors which provided the highest number of positive replies when asked about the virus’ impact on them.

Remote working arrangements have dominated the last few months, EY Malta said, with three in four respondents saying they have implemented some form of teleworking in their business.

Nearly all of these companies said that they adapted quickly, but a majority (53%) have not seen an increase in productivity.

Still, 68% will adopt remote working for the long term and 18% will reduce office space as a result of this new way of working.

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