Recognitions & Awards


Legal500 EMEA Leading Firm | GVZH Advocates

Banking, Finance and Capital Markets

The ‘simply outstandingAndrew Zammit heads the team at GVZH Advocates, which is ‘quick, smooth and effective in dealing with clients‘. Recent work includes advising Goldman Sachs, Idox plc and ATW Fund Partners on the formation of local securities packages, as well as handling cross-border insolvency matters for EFG Bank’s Singapore branch in connection with a multi-purpose credit facility. Also of note is the legal and regulatory advice provided to Mastercard, while Santander Bank Polska SA, Edmond de Rothschild S.A. and Endo Finance plc are among a further pool of significant new clients. Luca Vella and Kurt Hyzler were both promoted to partner in January 2019.

Commercial, Corporate and M&A

The ‘highly professional‘ GVZH Advocates practice is ‘one-stop shop‘ for corporate, commercial and M&A matters in Malta. Headed by managing partner Andrew Zammit, Kurt Hyzler and Luca Vella, who is noted for his ‘dedication, availability and market knowledge‘, the team has an international reach in cross-border and Malta-regulated transactions. Its recent workload includes handling a due diligence exercise for Corsair Investments LP regarding two Maltese entities and a change of control application made with the Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA); assisting Corel Corporation with the transfer of assets between two Maltese parties; and advising on a new incorporation to become part of the O’Flaherty Group.

Dispute Resolution

GVZH Advocates predominantly handles commercial disputes, with a significant proportion of its caseload having an international dimension. The team acted for GasanMamo Insurance Limited in motor-related litigation; acted for the Malta Gaming Authority in defending a civil suit for damages; and represented Catena Media plc in proceedings before the Maltese Industrial Tribunal. Practice head Karl Briffa and associate Ariana Falzon ‘go to great lengths to understand the complex issues that underlie‘ all matters and have ‘a high level of attention to detail‘.

Intellectual Property

Michael Grech heads GVZH Advocates’ team, which handles trade mark and patent applications, the prosecution of unlawful competition actions, and enforcement and anti-counterfeiting cases. Highlights included advising GoTo Malta Co. Ltd on the copyright and licensing aspects of a car-sharing business set-up and assisting Just Noise Limited with all contractual, tax and personality rights relating to the production of a motion picture in Malta. Other work for multi-national companies – including HSBC Group, 3M Company and General Motors – concerns the full spectrum of IP-related affairs.

Real Estate

GVZH Advocates’ particular expertise lies in the negotiation of long-term leases alongside the structuring of significant real estate deals. Practice head Karl Briffa is ‘well versed and knowledgeable‘ across the board, while chairman and managing partner Joseph J. Vella ‘competently oversees‘ a range of ‘multifarious legal issues‘. The team assisted Food Court Limited with the leasing of outlets and all associated government permits; acted for IHI Malta Hotel Limited (Corinthia Group) on the acquisition of the Corinthia Palace Hotel & Spa; and is advising SmartCity Malta Limited on a site forming part of its new development in Kalkara.

Aviation

GVZH Advocates has particular expertise in air operator certificate applications and stands out for its ‘professionalism and efficiency‘ and ‘high standards’. Headed by Michael Grech, the practice also assists with formulating leasing structures for private and commercial importation. Senior associate Katrina Abela handles the regulation of aircraft customs and VAT statuses.

Fintech

The fintech team at GVZH Advocates handles financial services regulation and matters related to technology-based models. Managing partner Andrew Zammit lead advice to the shareholders of SysPay Limited on the sale of a 78.5% stake to EMP Corp and assisted Moneybase Limited and Nobel Financial Group with obtaining financial institution licences from the MFSA. Zammit jointly heads the the practice with Kurt Hyzler, who made partner in January 2019.

Investment Funds

GVZH Advocates’ practice is able to draw on Kurt Hyzler‘s considerable experience across the funds sector. Hyzler, who is frequently supported by associate Nicola Fenech Conti, has expertise advising on alternative investments, along with handling the structuring and licensing of collective investment funds. Managing partner Andrew J Zammit is a popular choice for clients in the TMT sector and Luca Vella is also noted. Clients include Hottinger Group, Ana Balat Limited and Capaneo Investments Sicav plc.

Private Client

GVZH Advocates’ private client services are tailored to both individuals and organisations. The firm is able to handle personal and business tax issues alongside residential and visa applications. Karl Briffa heads the team, while associate Ann Bugeja has experience assisting high-net-worth individuals with applications for Malta citizenship through investment.

Shipping

GVZH Advocates provides a ‘reliable‘ and ‘efficient‘ service when handling the registration and transfer of vessels under the Maltese flag or implementing yacht leasing structures. Katrina Abela is ‘exceptionally professional‘ and ‘always ready to help and advise‘. Notable clients include Alberton Yachts, Spirit Marine Ltd and Pinto Ltd. Michael Grech heads the team.


2020 Chamber Global GVZH Advocates - Small

Corporate and Commercial

(Senior Statespeople) – Joseph Vella is highlighted by sources for his experience in the corporate and commercial area. Clients enthuse that he is “super connected and a real problem solver.”

(Band 3) – Andrew Zammit acts for clients on the buy and sell sides of corporate transactions. Clients appreciate his “ability to communicate the strategy and rationale behind his advice.” They also highlight that he is “efficient in working under tight deadlines in complex transactions, while demonstrating a friendly approach and great interpersonal skills.”

(Band 3) – Michael Grech advises clients on acquisitions, on establishing new facilities in Malta and on concession agreements and public tenders.

(Band 4) – Albert Grech advises clients on the transfer of shares and on the incorporation of new Maltese entities. Sources particularly underline his experience in this area.


Legal500 EMEA 2019 | GVZH Advocates | Top Tier Firm

Banking, Finance & Capital Markets

Managing partner Andrew Zammit leads GVZH Advocates‘ banking and finance practice. The firm recently assisted Bortex Group Finance with its circa €12.7m bond issuance programme, which was intended to fund a number of hotel and retail development projects across Malta. The team, including senior associates Luca Vella and Kurt Hyzler, also advised on capital markets and corporate finance transactions for domestic and international companies.

Commercial, Corporate and M&A

The ‘always accessible, hands-on and extremely knowledgeable’ Andrew Zammit leads GVZH Advocates’ practice. Zammit has particular expertise in the TMT, gaming and fintech arenas; highlights included advising Scientific Games on the acquisition of NYX Gaming Group. The team – which includes noted lawyers Joseph J. VellaMichael Grech and Albert Grech  – assists with corporate restructurings and reorganisations, as well as corporate finance transactions. Luca Vella is also recommended.

Dispute Resolution

The team at GVZH Advocates handles commercial disputes, insurance claims and various other civil matters. Karl Briffa, who made partner in 2018, is experienced in complex real estate disputes, and also undertakes contentious corporate and aviation sector cases . The practice is also active in aircraft and vessel arrests, unfair prejudice actions and matters involving the enforcement of arbitral awards. Senior associate Jonathan De Maria is also a key contact.

Intellectual Property

Michael Grech heads GVZH Advocates’ practice, which generates work from major international clients, including Unilever, L’Oréal and General Electric. The team handles the full spectrum of IP services including trade mark filing, copyright and patenting, competition and infringement actions and larger enforcement instructions. Grech advised IMG on copyright-related matters concerning its Malta-based operations.

Real Estate

The real estate practice at GVZH Advocates handles significant property sales and purchases, planning permit matters, real estate finance and long-term lease agreements. Highlights saw the firm draft and negotiate complex lease agreements for multi-use projects. Joseph J. Vella and Karl Briffa (the latter made partner in 2018) are recommended.

Aviation

GVZH Advocates provides advice on AOC applications, aircraft registrations and private importation matters. Practice head Michael Grech and associate Katrina Abela are key contacts in the department. The team also assists clients with structuring private aircraft leasing arrangements, aircraft sale and acquisition transactions, and commercial aircraft importation matters.

Investment Funds

Andrew Zammit and senior associate Kurt Hyzler are names to note at GVZH Advocates. Hyzler has extensive experience of financial services licensing in connection with UCITS, alternative investment funds and other collective investment schemes.

Shipping

Michael Grech and associate Katrina Abela handle the full range of yachting matters for GVZH Advocates, including vessel registrations, sale and purchase transactions, tax structuring, financing and commercial yacht certification. A recent highlight involved assisting a client with lifting a vessel arrest.