Your Excellency, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, I am honoured to have been asked by George to officially open these spectacular, state-of-the-art premises. The new house of the Bassadone Automotive Group’s new showrooms, offices and warehouses.
Apart from calling him a friend, I am a great admirer of George Bassadone and the contribution that he and his business have generated for Gibraltar.
With over 40 years’ experience in the motor industry, legend has it, that George joined the family business in the 1970s and steered its international growth. This is particularly in the handling of vehicles of humanitarian organisations and NGOs around the world, a part of the business he envisioned.
When George joined the family business in 1976, there were 8 sales vehicle showroom staff and 10 others involved with after-sales.
In the last 10 years, the Bassadone Automotive Group has grown exponentially.
The 18 became 180 in 2010.
And that number has nearly doubled over the past 10 years from 180 to 340.
Now that’s growth! That’s delivering for his business. And delivering for his community.
From 3,500 vehicles sold 10 years ago, the figure has more than doubled to 7,500 vehicles sold last year.
And although it is a local business at heart, the Bassadone Group is known for its investment in its people. And it is internationally renowned for its highly-prestigious client base. Those clients include the United Nations and the US Government, to name just the two most high- profile organisations on earth.
BAG had been awarded Champion Status by investors in people at a time when only 48 companies in the world had achieved this.
The Group has achieved Platinum Status in the Investors in People organisation, a status that is held by only 5 international companies.
Having their headquarters in Gibraltar has always been a key component of their business.
So, when the Group announced that it intended to relocate part of its international business away from Portugal, it’s natural move was to come home.
As a result of this, a significant number of high-skilled jobs will be generated locally.
This repatriation to Gibraltar is an opportunity that I have always been keen to explore.
But it is one that has been constrained due to the availability of land.
The move to this new facility and to Lathbury was the key to unlocking that.
This deal serves to improve the Group’s efficiency and productivity, expands their security and it is exactly this type of commercial prowess that makes Gibraltar such a special place to do business.
And of course, it leads also to the growth in quality jobs in our economy and a land premium that represents one of the biggest land purchases from Government ever to date.
But Bassadone’s is now not just about trading internationally.
You have not forgotten your home market.
Since 1904, the company has been supplying the local market with the most prestigious marques of vehicles.
Today, it can boast the agency for almost 20 car and motorcycle brands.
Whilst it has expanded its international business, it has not ignored the local families that been faithful and loyal customers for generations.
Additionally, you have also established yourselves in new homes in the Baltic and throughout Europe.
And he has done all that, ladies and gentlemen, after he told me he was going to retire! Not a bad retirement.
In the time that he has been at the helm of the Bassadone Automotive Group, George has built one of Gibraltar’s largest and most successful businesses in any sector.
In 2014, George received an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours, in recognition of his services to the automotive industry and to the economy of Gibraltar.
Clearly, Her Majesty’s recognition spurred him on.
The investment that George and the Group have made at this brand new facility, cements the company’s commitment to a continued relationship with Gibraltar it demonstrates that this is a company with its roots forever in Gibraltar.
And it marks the beginning of what I am sure will be another successful chapter in the history of Bassadone’s on the Rock.
Thank you for your commitment.
Thank you for your entrepreneurial skill.
Thank you for everything you do for all the employees of this enterprise.
George, we are proud to call you a Gibraltarian and to call Bassadone’s a Gibraltar company.