With Malta being an inherently saturated market, many local companies incorporate international expansion as part of their growth strategy. Of course, going global brings with it an element of risk, both financial and otherwise.
“The success - or otherwise - of an expansion strategy depends a lot on identifying the right organisation to work with,” Isaac Sammut, Business Development Manager at KSI Malta, starts off. “A business that is looking at the international market needs to ensure that it takes on an advisory and financial partner who is in a position to manage the new risk elements, conducting the necessary market research, while using their knowledge to help speed up the expansion process.”
This is hardly a simple decision for a company to take, bearing in mind that sourcing the right advisory services is primarily based on relationship, trust, reputation, and track record. As one of the island’s leading advisory firms, offering tax and other corporate services, KSi Malta boasts a sterling track record in guiding companies through all the different facets of an expansion process.
“Our experience in international markets, market research tactics, and strategic positioning spans more than two decades, making KSi Malta extremely well-positioned to assist clients with their internationalisation ambitions and adaptations,” Mr Sammut explains.
In fact, with vast experience in Europe, the African region, the Middle East, the Asia Pacific region, the Baltic region, and South America, KSi Malta has established itself as the primary partner for businesses seeking to expand overseas, handling and representing some of the largest clients on the island, operating across multiple sectors of the economy.
Mr Sammut believes that partners assisting clients in achieving international expansion need to satisfy a number of essential criteria, starting by employing a multi-skilled workforce with strong in-house expertise and different backgrounds.
“Thorough knowledge of the client’s business activity and the landscape in which it operates is also essential, as is having experience in the financing of clients. Moreover, a professional advisory firm necessarily needs to form part of an international network or association of firms, cementing its place on the international landscape,” he says.
In this regard, KSi Malta offers a multi-level strategy approach, going beyond the corporate strategy and delving further into the business, functional and also product level. Within the context of internationalisation strategies, the firm supports businesses embarking on international expansion by ensuring sustainable and profitable growth.
“The choice of strategy is based on an in-depth analysis of both internal and external factors, including current and prospective capabilities of the client. The first step as an advisory partner is to understand the growth ambitions of the firm and assess the viability and feasibility of such growth through international expansion. It is only through the motives of the company to expand internationally that we can determine an efficient international expansion strategy. This primarily entails a thorough assessment of the client’s business activity, their goals and assets, and their financials,” Mr Sammut explains.
The advisory activity kicks off even before a business takes its first step in their overseas target market, he continues, with a thorough exercise to collect the necessary market intelligence so as to be in a position to assess all the opportunities and risks before the internationalisation process actually starts.
Likewise, compliance and due diligence come into play in the initial stages, with KSi Malta using its expertise and knowledge to minimise the level of risk that a client is exposed to when internationalising. The firm is a member of Morison Global, an international association of leading professional service firms, established to meet cross-border accounting, auditing, tax and business consulting needs of clients. The network counts more than 150 member firms and is present in more than 70 countries.
“This gives us very strong leverage and experience when delving into contractual agreements, acquisition of overseas businesses, reviewing of financial records, mitigation of risks by enhanced due diligence, applicable legislation, and tax considerations,” Mr Sammut states.
So, how fast can an organisation that’s eyeing a new market expect the process to be completed? Although there are multiple textbook scalability rules of when it is time to scale one’s business internationally however, Mr Sammut says that there is no golden standard on when and how fast such a process can and should be implemented.
“Clients also need to understand that global expansion may not be the right avenue at a particular instance. We make sure to communicate this, ultimately safeguarding the interests of the client,” he elaborates.
As part of its advisory role, KSi offers a suite of services to clients, including feasibility studies and determining which structure to use; assistance in navigating local rules and regulations of the target countries; access to knowledge about the political and legal factors of the specific market; tax advice and assistance with contractual agreements like licences and employment agreements.
“We also help connect clients with local partners and professional services firms in the targeted markets, besides conducting investor engagement,” he says.
Among the challenges a client can expect to face during an internationalisation process are cultural differences, compliance requirements, political instability, customer responsiveness and - of course - a strain on financial resources. However, Mr Sammut reassures that these should not be considered as blockers to the process.
“With proper preparation, market assessment and sound financial planning, most of these challenges can be alleviated. And this is exactly what KSi strives to deliver to clients,” he concludes.
Mr Sammut will be happy to answer any queries via email firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also find more information by visiting the KSi website here.
Photos by Inigto Taylor