VBL Group, the self-proclaimed largest owner of real estate in Valletta, saw its revenues surpass €1 million in 2021, hitting €1,063,113, according to its annual financial statement published last week.

This figure represented an increase of 94 per cent compared to the year before, although this was partially offset by soaring costs of sales, which tripled, climbing to €509,058.

This meant that gross profits were up 46 per cent to hit €554,055. The company’s earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) were €175,473.

VBL Group and its subsidiaries are involved in the full process of real estate acquisitions, integrated real estate development, property management, operations, rentals and the disposal of properties, with its main market of operations being Malta’s capital, Valletta.

Over the past decade of its operations, the group has established itself as one of the most active investors in property in Valletta and has a strong track record of identifying, acquiring, developing and managing real estate all around Valletta.

According to the VBL’s directors’ report, the financial performance of the group and its associated companies was “significantly impacted” by the implications of the uncertainty of repeating COVID restrictions and limitations, throughout the reporting year, especially in the first half of 2021. Operation profitability was reportedly impacted by frenetic restrictions and uncertainty.

Aside from the restrictive COVID measures, the company was also impacted by the lower level of tourist traffic which hit the short-term rental industry, as incoming tourism travel to Malta has been significantly restricted compared to the country’s Mediterranean competitor markets, despite its strong vaccine rollout, according to VBL.

Despite these problems, the group emphasised that it continued its market consolidation efforts and that the number of its third-party managed properties increased significantly during the period.

In 2021, VBL recorded successes in its quest to consolidate the Valletta hospitality market in several segments, especially through its acquisition of Casa Rooms Ltd. It also entered the hotel management market in 2021, responding to the “emerging and growing need” for reliable professional property operators in this segment.

During the year, VBL reported having contracted with three hotels/guesthouses for management and there are negotiations for acquiring several other management contracts in this market segment.

In terms of the group’s corporate side, the most notable event during 2021 was its listing on the Malta Stock Exchange in October.

VBL’s board is comprised of Andrei Imbroll (Chairman and Executive Director), Geza Szephalmi (Executive Director), Julian Tzvetkov (Executive Director), Arthur Haze, Csaba Bato, David Galea Souchet and Isabella Vella.

Looking to the future, they said: “The VBL Group plans to continue its dynamic growth, maintain its clear strategy on its core business areas, and keep its main focus on the development of the already owned assets, specifically those already with a full development permit, as well as improve further the utilisation of developed assets, in line with its long-term business strategy and financial plans.”

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