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BUSINESS TODAY 12 January 2023

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2 NEWS 12.1.2023 2023 promises to be equally active on the bond market FROM PAGE 1 ese included IZI Finance, the new operators of the national lotto and land- based betting outlets, Multitude Bank, formerly Ferratum Bank, BNF Bank and G3 Finance. Another bank, Izola Bank, approached the market for the third time in 12 years. Bank of Valletta issued a huge €350 million bond issue on the Irish Stock Exchange at a coupon of 10% per an- num. For that bond issue, only profes- sional investors could subscribe for a minimum of €100,000. A financial analyst explained to Busi- nessToday that bonds for many compa- nies – and even institutions like banks – bonds remain far more stable method of raising capital than borrowing mon- ey. "e core distinguishing feature to keep in mind is that the interest rate on bond issues is fixed," the source said. "at is not the case when a company borrows money from a bank, where it will face a fixed rate over a variable rate of interest." 2023 promises to be equally active on the bond market as 2022. First off the mark will be Qawra Pal- ace, which is issuing a €25 million se- cured 10-year bond issue with a coupon of 5.25%. is is the first time Qawra Palace is approaching the market with a bond issue and, according to its prospectus, €16,400,000 will be used for the pur- pose of repaying outstanding amounts under a BOV loan. €1,500,000 will be utilised for general corporate funding purposes. e remaining €6,700,000 will be uti- lised to partly finance the extension and refurbishment of the Qawra Palace cur- rently underway. e hotel is expected to reopen its doors on 15 April after undergoing its first comprehensive makeover since it started welcoming its first guests in March 1985. e €40 million refurbishment will see the hotel increase the number of guest rooms from 394 to 571 as well as offer- ing luxurious spa amenities, which also include an indoor pool, jacuzzi, sauna, and beauty salon. A rooftop infinity pool and sundeck area, complete with bar, restaurant and poolside entertainment, will comple- ment a number of restaurants and rel- exation areas. And in an exciting twist, the hotel will be contracting foreign entities to per- form on-site in a specially created au- ditorium which can seat 1,000 guests and will be equipped with cutting-edge digital technology and the latest sound and lighting effects. Apco partners with Stromkind on latest drone technology AUTOMATION and security pro- vider Apco has signed a partnership agreement with German autonomous systems developer Stromkind GmbH to bring the latest drone technology to Malta. e partnership will allow Apco to extend its portfolio and offer highly advanced technology solutions across the Malta market. Together, Apco and Stromkind aim to deploy the current generation of drones with all their ca- pabilities, including cutting-edge im- age and sensor technologies, to various local sectors. Headquartered in Austria, Stromkind has positioned itself among the lead- ers in the global drone market thanks to its skilled team's track record in developing components and products that are at the forefront of their indus- tries. With over 25 years' experience in drones and associated technology and has invested in the design of individual components and a modular system kit for an autonomous society on land, air, and sea for the past five years. "Both Apco and Stromkind are pio- neers in the use of drone technologies for digitalisation, security and surveil- lance," Stromkind CEO Andreas Desch said. "rough this partnership, Apco will expand its solutions to include the future of cargo and distribution. Drone technology is essential for current and future success in various industries." Apco represents world-renowned brands offering a wide range of cash automation, high-end digital and phys- ical security solutions and electric ve- hicle supply equipment. It offers a va- riety of services from consultation to implementation for specialised and in- tegrated solutions to a spectrum of cli- entele thanks to skilled professionals. "Apco Limited is thrilled to embark on this long-term relationship with Stromkind to bring their technology to local customers," Apco general man- ager Clayton Meli said. "Malta's tech- nology infrastructure can advance as a result of Stromkind's expertise and the market knowledge gained in Austria, Asia and the Middle East." Harvest is a group of growing tech- nology businesses delivering impactful and intuitive solutions to customers in banking, aviation, pharmaceuticals, gaming, retail, hospitality, state agen- cies and many other sectors. Harvest encompasses leading systems integra- tor PTL, Apco Ltd, and online pay- ments platform provider ApcoPay. Harvest Technology is part of Hili Ventures, the group engaged in food service & retail, real estate & hospital- ity, and shipping, engineering & tech- nology in 11 countries in Europe and North Africa with a team of 11,000 people. Stromkind CEO Andreas Desch (centre) with Apco Ltd General Manager Clayton Meli (right) and Chris Fenech, Chief Financial Officer of Harvest Technology plc, Apco Ltd's parent company, after signing the agreement

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