SINGAPORE - Mainboard-listed Digiland International announced on Monday that a subsidiary has entered into a joint venture to develop Malta into a trading hub for energy products between Europe and Asia.
Malta, a member of the European Union, is a small country that sits strategically along the main Mediterranean trading routes.
Digiland said its wholly owned subsidiary, International Energy Group (IEG), through its newly formed European subsidiary, New Silkroutes Group, has incorporated a joint venture company, IEG Malta, with the Malta Enterprise Corporation (MEC).
MEC is the Maltese government's exclusive agency focused on attracting inward investment and supporting enterprise in Malta.
IEG Malta will mainly partake in the wholesale and retail trading of crude oil, intermediate fuel oil and other distillates. In addition, it will build storage facilities, blend products for subsequent re-export, as well as collaborate on projects to reduce energy costs for electricity generation in Malta.
Digiland said the Maltese jv is expected to carry out its first transactions shortly, enabling Malta to profile itself as a centre of financial services in this field. Initially, the joint venture company will be using Malta as an oil trading hub and plans to increase eventually its activities into oil blending and bunkering.
IEG, which was recently acquired by Digiland, is headed by Dr Goh Jin Hian, the son of ESM Goh Chok Tong and a medical doctor by training. IEG is a new entrant in the Singapore energy industry and is involved in the wholesale and retail trading of petrochemical products. The company plans to grow and expand into other synergistic energy-related ventures such as power generation and renewable energy in the near future, said Digiland.
Said Dr Goh, IEG's chairman and executive director: "Pending the approval of the Singapore-EU Free Trade Agreement and the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement, we have gone ahead to establish a presence in the EU via Malta as the preferred oil hub in the Mediterranean owing to its geo-political location and proximity to mainland Europe, North Africa and the Middle East.
"Malta has an island-economy much like Singapore and Hong Kong, with little natural resources and a dependency on intellect and investment capital. I think Malta has the potential to punch well above its weight class."