PM signs state-of-the-art $100 million currency operation deal in Boston
Prime Minister Joseph Muscat yesterday afternoon signed an agreement worth $100 million with a Boston-based currency printer that is to set up shop in Malta.
Speaking from Boston, Dr Muscat said the investment, being undertaken by Crane Currency, will create 200 jobs initially – a number that is expected to rise to 300 in due course.
The facility will be located in Ħal Far, Dr Muscat said, and would herald a “turnaround” for the manufacturing sector. It will be operational in 18 months’ time and will take up roughly 20,000 square metres.
Dr Muscat said that the company would join a “significant” community of American investors in Malta, and that the investment made good on the government’s pledge to go beyond European shores when seeking investment.
Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said that the opportunity arose for Crane Capital to consider Malta as the next location to expand after it was announced that De La Rue would be restructuring its main operations.
He also said that De La Rue, the biggest currency manufacturer in the world will remain in Malta and will shift its business to another niche within the currency printing sector.
“To give one an inkling of the sheer significance of this investment to our manufacturing sector, I need only say that the last time that our country managed to attract an investment of this magnitude, with a comparable number of employees, was in 1981. At the time, SGS-Ates,
now ST Microelectronics, started operating out of Malta with 127 employees, and 35 years later it is largest foreign-owned employer in the country.
“The Crane story demonstrates how hard work, networking, perseverance, and belief in our national offering can really turn challenges into opportunities. It shows that globalisation is a process in which one has to be innovative, proactive instead of being complacent because of limitations,” he said.
Crane was founded in 1801 by Zenas Crane in Boston. It now has facilities in the USA and Sweden and is involved in the currencies of more than 50 countries.
“With Crane’s investment, we are not only providing an alternative to those who were already engaged in currency printing in Malta, but we are offering young people new rewarding careers and quality jobs.
“Over the next year where Crane will be preparing their operations in Malta, we will be engaging in preparing new training courses aimed at making sure that the young and not so young who want to acquire these skills are able to do so, to land a job at Crane and other players in the printing industry,” Dr Muscat said.
Education and Employment Minister Evarist Bartolo said that currently talks are underway with Jobsplus, the national training, labour market researcher and job seeking entity, and MCAST in order to ascertain what type of vocational training is needed to fulfil the jobs.
Mr Bartolo said the fact that Crane Currency will be setting up shop in Malta does not alone please him, but rather what he wants to see is the factory employing Maltese people.
Asked whether the local workforce have the necessary skills to fulfil the positions created by Crane Currency, Mr Bartolo said 18 months is enough time to carry out the necessary training.
Mr Bartolo made note of his pleasure for Malta to have a mixed economy, meaning that not only are the sectors diversified, but that there is also a variety of countries investing in the island.
He expressed his satisfaction with decreased reliance on the heavily services based economy characteristic of Malta, and noted how the EU has made efforts to move away from being a solely services based economy.
Crane Currency CEO Stephen DeFalco said that in all his years as a business executive, the Maltese team has been “the most professional and responsive” team he has worked with.
Mr DeFalco said that Malta was an ideal choice for the company in view of the 40 years of experience it has in currency printing. He said that this was the first state-of-the-art currency banking facility to be built in this millennium, adding that this investment is the culmination of 15 years of the company focusing on currency.
Malta Enterprise CEO Mario Galea said that the manufacturing industry has continued to strengthen through such an investment – adding that the industry makes up a quarter of GDP and employment.