Ikandar Safa

Iskandar Safa was born in Beirut, capital of Lebanon, when the city was known as the Paris of the Middle East. The Safa family, members of the large Maronite Christian community in Beirut at a time when around a quarter of the Lebanese population belonged to that particular ethno-religious group, had become wealthy through their business contacts in the Gulf states which included lucrative construction projects in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Safa, having obtained a Bachelor in Engineering degree from the American University of Beirut in 1978, emigrated to the United States and found employment as a junior civil engineer. Safa managed the construction of a military airport in Riyadh, capital of Saudi Arabia, between the years 1978 and 1981 before moving to France where he attended the Institut Européen d'Administration des affairs (INSEAD) at Fontainebleau. The businessman, having graduated with a Master of Business Administration (MBA) in 1982, was President of Triacorp International between 1986 and 2005. The Lebanese-born tycoon, having become a French citizen, acquired the failing Constructions Méchaniques de Normandie (CMN) in 1992 and turned its fortunes around. The French shipyard, located in Cherbourg, was taken over by Abu Dhabi MAR in 2007.

Privinvest Holding, specialising in maritime construction and catering to a variety of international clients, was co-founded by Iskandar Safa with his brother Akram in the 1990s. Abu Dhabi MAR, of which Iskandar Safa is the managing director and CEO, was founded in 2007 and has emerged as a major shipbuilding enterprise in the Persian Gulf. The holding company, of which Privinvest owns 30% of the shares, was contracted to build four Sa'ar 6-class corvettes for the Israeli navy in 2015. Sailing Yacht A, ordered by Belarusian-born billionaire Andrey Melnichenko and delivered in 2017, was built by Nobiskrug which is a subsidiary of Privinvest.