The origins of the Group can be traced back to the first years of the 20th century when Michael Zammit, who in his early twenties crossed over from Gozo and, with the help of his uncle, ventured into the trading of foodstuffs and live stock.
He worked long hard hours but he was determined to succeed. His early successes encouraged him further and he took his business yet a step further by trading with nearby countries such as Sicily and Tunisia.
The First World War brought more business opportunities for the young entrepreneur, who by then had established himself well locally as a reliable and resourceful trader.
The entrepreneurial spirit of Michael Zammit was amply evident also in his son Eucharist. It was during the difficult years of the late 1930’s and early 1940’s that Eucharist joined in his father’s business and started to lay the basis of the now Zammit Group of Companies. During these years, in addition to being one of the leading importers and traders of cereals, foodstuffs, fodder and live stocks, the Zammits were appointed as one of the main suppliers to the British Forces on the Island.
Young Eucharist worked incessantly hard to fulfil their supply commitments to the British Garrison stationed in Malta in spite of the untold difficult circumstances of the time. They were also responsible for the importation of seed potatoes from Holland and N. Ireland which would be distributed to local farmers for them to grow and then re-export to the United Kingdom and Holland.
During the early fifties, Eucharist took over his father’s business and in 1957, he reorganised the business and operated under the trade name of E. Zammit & Co. It was about this time that he undertook the passenger and car ferry services between the Maltese Islands, a tender which was won against stiff competition. This service continued to be run by E. Zammit & Co. with annual tenders being won up to 1979 when the Government of the time decided to set up the Gozo Channel Co. Limited to run the service as a parastatal company. The Group retained substantial shareholding in this company till 1998.
In the early sixties, Eucharist decided that is was time that his sons joined him in his enterprise and E. Zammit & Co. was reconstituted and registered as a limited liability company with Mr. Zammit and his sons as the shareholders.
The 1960’s saw the arrival of the US Navy’s Mediterranean Fleet (the 6th Fleet) in Malta, and the Zammits were awarded the contracts for the provision of all the fleet’s daily requirements and port services. This agreement lasted till the fleet’s departure from Malta in the early 1970’s.
The business’s increasing dependence on international trade reinforced the family’s intentions to extend their interests in the marine industry. Various types of vessels including freighters, passenger carriers, dredgers and tugboats have been bought, managed, chartered and sold. In fact, for a time in the 1980’s the Zammit also operated a passenger ferry service in the Middle East.
With the introduction of the third generation of the Zammit family during the 1960’s, it was felt necessary that in order to ensure continued growth, the business must diversify into other fields. On the basis of the technical and mechanical competence acquired by the third generation members of the Zammit family, it was decided way back in 1967 to enter into the motor vehicle import and distribution business.
The first breakthrough came with the franchise for Honda Motor Cycles. The relationship with Honda Motors was further consolidated with the inclusion of motor vehicles in the 1970’s and, later still, all Honda Motors products. The late 1980’s and early 1990’s were years of rapid growth in the brand’s local market share in terms of both motor vehicles and motorcycles. The brand is currently imported, distributed and marketed through the wholly-owned subsidiary company Associated Motors Co. Limited.
During the 1960’s, the business managed to establish a distributorship relationship with Isuzu Motors of Japan primarily for the latter’s diesel engines and light commercial vehicles. Later still with the introduction by Isuzu Motors of their passenger vehicles, the distributorship was consolidated and developed yet further. The inclusion of passenger vehicles gave a tremendous impetus to the Isuzu brand, which became one of the leading makes on the Island enjoying dramatic market share growth particularly during the later years of the 1980’s to the mid 1990’s.
Recent product developments backed by excellent technical competence and dependability in the commercial vehicles sector is yet again reaffirming the Isuzu brand as one of the leading suppliers of commercial vehicles in the Maltese market and offers much potential for the future. The Isuzu Motors Brand is imported, distributed and marketed by Mira Motor Sales Limited which is again a wholly-owned subsidiary.
In the late 70’s the local commercial scene saw the demise of various companies and the Zammits, with foresight, decided to buy out the owners of the GM Franchise together with the magnificent building – Mira Building, which until recently, housed the motor business operations and also served as head office for the business. The GM franchise was acquired by the subsidiary Mira Motor Sales Limited and offered the GM North American models and the Vauxhall and Bedford brands, with the latter having been developed into a household brand by the mid 1990’s before GM decided to withdraw the brand from all markets except for the UK market.
During the early part of the 1990’s, the business was reorganised and restructured into a Group of Companies with the third generation members of the Zammit family wholly owning the Group’s Holding Company namely Mira Holdings Limited. The Group, through its various wholly-owned subsidiaries, has interests in the Motor Industry, in the Property Market and in the Marine and Shipping Industry. In the early 2000s the Group had relocated its Motor business and its head office to new premises at Mriehel, on the Mriehel Bypass – one of the busiest thoroughfares on the Island – linking the northern to the southern parts of the Malta. Yet another more recent development has been the acquisition by Joseph Zammit (son of Eucharist Zammit – a third generation member) of 100% stake in the Group.
Throughout the 2000’s the business was again re-organised and restructured to incorporate and welcome the 4th generation members of the Zammit family; Joseph’s children, Alastair and Carolyn. Both Alastair and Carolyn Zammit now play an active part within the group of businesses, with Alastair joining the business in 2004 and Carolyn in 2011.