Andy Gatesy

In 2021, Toly celebrated 50 years of operations in Malta. Led by Andy Gatesy, it provides a vast range of solutions and services catering to the packaging needs of the beauty and cosmetics industry.

Toly is a global group with manufacturing plants in Malta, China, and South Korea, and sales offices across the US, Europe, and Asia. What role does Malta play in this global enterprise?

Our holding company, Toly Group International, is based in Malta, and the country serves as our corporate office, with an integrated innovation centre. It is also the site of our largest individual plant – a 20,000 sq m factory rebuilt in 2019. Toly is successful in Malta because our core values are closely linked to the core values of the Maltese nation: People, Passion, Pride, and Creativity. We do not have a lot of natural resources here, so we need to be creative and use human capital to compete. We are now taking our Maltese entrepreneurial spirit and implanting it in the four corners of the Toly world.

What support do local authorities offer manufacturers?

Being a small island, we are all stakeholders in the success of Malta. The government is open to listen to both the challenges and opportunities for businesses, and will offer support within the framework of the European Union. Malta Enterprise is the main body to support manufacturing businesses like Toly, and through the 50 years that we have operated in Malta, they have supported our journey. We also work very closely with the local educational institutes, the University of Malta and MCAST, giving students the opportunity to collaborate with industry for the benefit of both parties.

Transport issues are making life difficult for producers forming part of a global supply chain. How is Toly coping, and what role, if any, does Malta’s location play?

We have no customers in Malta and very few suppliers, so all raw materials need to be imported, and once products are manufactured, they need to be exported, making transport critical to our business. There is a good structure for weekly exports to mainland Europe both by trailers and containers, and one advantage Malta has is that it has the second largest freeport in the Mediterranean, with direct routes from Asia. Toly uses this to its advantage, bringing products it manufactures in Asia through Malta for transhipment to mainland Europe and beyond. We are also able to store shipments locally to give European customers shorter lead times, as well as conducting quality checks if necessary, effectively making Malta a logistics hub for Toly.

Toly supplies leading names in the beauty industry. How accessible are such industry leaders for companies operating out of Malta?

We have global functions based in Malta, supporting both our customers and sales offices internationally, but we also have local support in the key markets where we have our sales teams. Our hybrid model works well and is instrumental for our future growth, as we look to build upon our position as a global beauty product development platform focusing on strategic customer and supplier partnerships. Toly currently supplies 23 out of the top 30 beauty brands across the world, as well as the new emerging online and influencer brands, and we encourage our customers to visit us in Malta to touch both the Toly and Malta experience.

Demand for specialised manufacturing continues to increase as shifting trends create more discerning consumers. What are the key opportunities in the field that investors could find Malta is best-placed to exploit?

Historically Malta is an island of traders, so the mindset is open to international trade and business, and the quality of life is second to none. To be a successful manufacturer here you need to focus on added value production, tap into the creative resources of the Maltese nation, and consider the world as your market. Whilst Malta is a small country, take this as a strength, instead of as a weakness, and use the collective resources of all stakeholders.

As a wise man once said: “If you want to go fast – go alone. But if you want to go far – go together.”

This feature was first carried in the Malta Invest 2023 edition. Malta Invest is the first-ever comprehensive international investment guide focusing on Malta as a destination. It is produced by Content House Group.

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