Ivan Stivala / Stivala Group

Ivan Stivala, Chairman at Stivala Group, has said that the property and hospitality group made “notable progress” towards its projects during 2023, despite facing a number of economic challenges.

Stivala Group is active in the areas of property letting, development, and hospitality, owning and leasing a number commercial, residential, and office properties, mainly in Gżira or Sliema. These include various apartments and hotels, namely Bayview Hotel, Blubay Apartments, Blubay Suites, Sliema Hotel, Azur Hotel, and ST Tower.

Mr Stivala’s comments came as part of the group’s Annual Report and consolidated financial statements for the financial year ended 31st December 2023, which were published recently. In the report, the group announced €33 million in revenue, driven by the lifting of COVID-19 pandemic restrictions that helped the hospitality business surge by 19 per cent. Cost of sales and services were also on the rise, going up to €7.2 million. However, the group recorded €42.4 million in other operating income, €36.5 million of which came from the capitalisation of the brand value derived from ST Hotels. This is based on the brand name’s future prospects for cash flow generation. As a result, pre-tax profit rose sharply by 170.2 per cent to €73 million in 2023 (2022: €27 million).

Stivala Group’s total assets expanded significantly during the year, going up from €396.6 million to €469.7 million. The Board of Directors did not recommend the payment of a dividend, with €67.1 million in retained profits being carried forward at the reporting date.

In his comments, Mr Stivala, who has been working with the group for over two decades, said that despite various challenges, primarily posed by macroeconomic uncertainties, such as high inflation and higher interest rates, 2023 was still a year of progress for Stivala Group.

“We are optimistic that the upcoming financial year will continue to build upon the foundation laid in previous years,” he remarked.

He said that the group has been closely monitoring recent tourism industry trends, with Malta experiencing record-breaking inbound tourist levels. “Experts in the industry forecast strong growth for the tourism sector, signalling an anticipated increase in demand for related products and services. At Stivala Group, we have been closely monitoring market trends and have strategically positioned ourselves to leverage the expected upswing,” Mr Stivala continued.

Mr Stivala also reported that its portfolio of office spaces, commercial, and long-let residential units maintained a high occupancy rate throughout 2023, “despite the challenging economic landscape.”

In terms of projects under development, Mr Stivala said that the final stages of construction are underway for ST Tower, a high-rise commercial property located in Ta’ Xbiex, with it set to open by the end of June 2024. “This development will enrich our property portfolio and substantially enhance our revenue stream,” he affirmed.

He also referred to the opening of Alavits Hotel in Gżira last June, stating that it has “exceeded expectations, outperforming projected occupancy rates.”

Mr Stivala added that the construction of the first Novotel Hotel in Malta, also located in Gżira and announced a few years ago, is “progressing rapidly” and is earmarked for completion by the first quarter of 2025. The four-star 300-room hotel, which will be developed instead of Blubay Suites and Apartments, is expected to be open to the public in the second quarter of that year. “With the increasing demand for affordable, yet high-quality hotel accommodation, we anticipate positive feedback from the market for this project,” he stated.

In terms of sustainability and ESG reporting, Mr Stivala said that the group has “already taken significant steps” towards aligning its operations with advancements in this area. Additionally, it will also be releasing its first sustainability report, as mandated by the EU through its Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD), in April 2026, covering the financial year ending in 2025.

He concluded by thanking Stivala Group’s employees, partners, and customers for their support, adding that the group anticipates that its upcoming projects will “solidify” its position in the tourism industry.

Featured Image:

Stivala Group Chairman Ivan Stivala / Stivala Group

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