Malta encourages foreign investment through tax holidays, export incentives, investment and accelerated depreciation allowances, reduced taxes on reinvested profits, grants to cover training costs and management services, a generous attitude toward repatriation of profits and capital, and few restrictions on foreign ownership of Maltese firms. No data for the total value of foreign direct investment in Malta is available; the only investment figures that are kept are those collected by the government at the time of the original application for assistance by the companies. SGS Thomson Ltd. (Italy and France), first established in Malta in 1981, had an investment of $266 million in machinery as of 1995.
In 1998, foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows were $267 million, up from $80.8 million in 1997, and then soared to $$822 million in 1999. FDI inflows fell to $652 million in 2000 and then to $314 million in 2001. For the period 1998 to 2000, Malta was fifth in the world in terms of success in attracting foreign investment. Malta's share of world FDI flows was 4.6 times its share of world GDP during this period.