Sources & Methods


Structural Business Statistics (SBS) describe the structure, activity, and performance of businesses in the local scenario.  SBS produces statistics on various characteristics including turnover, production, value added, gross operating surplus, purchases of goods and services, personnel costs, wages and salaries, social security costs, investment, persons employed, employees, and number of enterprises.  These are mainly broken down by NACE covering NACE Sections B to S, excluding O and NACE Division 94. Moreover, certain variables are also broken down by headcount and turnover groups.  SBS also reports data relating to Business Services for certain NACE classes and divisions.  These consist of the turnover variable broken down by products and by type of client residence.  Such statistics are compiled under European Framework Regulation (EC) No. 295/2008. 

Methodological description of survey

SBS information is generated by identifying the performance patterns from a stratified random sample of resident enterprises selected from the Statistical Business Register. The data is collected annually through a web data collection portal. Paper questionnaires are also available and are mailed by post. The stratification design of the SBS sample is based on two tiers: NACE economic activity and employment size class. In total, around 300 strata are identified each year to synthesise a profile of the Maltese business economy.

NACE Rev. 2 is used for the activity classification whilst the CPA version 2013 (Statistical Classification of Products by Activity Version 2.1) is used for the classification of products. Variables relating to persons employed, employees and number of enterprises are expressed in units, whereas the other monetary variables are expressed in Euro.

Accuracy and reliability of data

Information on the accuracy and reliability of SBS data can be viewed in a dedicated ESMS metadata report available on the NSO’s metadata website. Prior to transmission, data is also checked for consistency by means of the internal quality framework and Eurostat’s Input Hall tool.

Timeliness and punctuality of data

Data for reference year N is transmitted to Eurostat by the end of June of year N+18 months (18 months from the end of the reference year), so as to satisfy the requirements of the Regulation.  Preliminary data together with data on central banking and credit institutions is transmitted to Eurostat by the end of October of year N+10 months (10 months from the end of the reference year), whilst data on insurance services is transmitted with the other SBS data 18 months from the end of the reference year.

Accessibility and clarity of data

SBS data can be accessed from Eurostat’s database​.  A  Quality Report is transmitted to Eurostat 21 months after the end of the reference year (N+21 months).  An ESMS metadata report is updated yearly and published on the NSO website.

Coherence and comparability/consistency of data

SBS data is comparable over time. Due to the change in the NACE classification adopted for the first time for reference year 2008 (NACE Rev. 2), data for SBS is comparable for all reference years as from 2008. SBS data follows the same trends as Short-Term Statistics data, Business Demography, Statistical Business Registers and National Accounts data. This data is also comparable to that of other EU countries due to the common definitions and methodologies used to compile the data.


Survey Name Description Copy of questionnaire
Standard Business Statistics questionnaire This is an annual questionnaire sent to a sample of enterprises to provide a profile of the structure, dynamics and performance of the Maltese business economy. ​
​Investment module questionnaire This is a simplified annual questionnaire designated for sole-traders. Recipients of this type of questionnaire are inquired only about their respective investments in non-current assets during the year.​ ​ ​
Kalkulatur tal-Inflazzjoni Kalendarju tal-Istqarrijiet tal-Aħbarijiet Talbiet għat-Tagħrif Mistoqsijiet dwar il-Kodiċi tan-NACE
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