Iskandar Safa

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Iskandar Safa (born April 1955) and his brother Akram Safa are French businessman of Lebanese origin and one of Europe’s biggest shipbuilders.[1] Safa owns the international shipbuilding group, Privinvest, with his brother Akram.[2] Privinvest is one of the major defence contractors in Europe. It controls shipyards and facilities in France, the United Kingdom, Greece, the United Arab Emirates and Germany.[1] It also builds yachts, operates hotels, develops real estate and is active in the media industry.

Early life[edit]

Safa was born in Beirut in 1955 to a Maronite Christian family. In the late 1970s, Safa enrolled in the American University of Beirut, graduating with a Bachelor of Engineering degree in civil engineering. He left Lebanon to become a junior civil engineer in the United States, and then moved to France, where in 1982 he graduated with an MBA from INSEAD in Fontainebleau.[2]


During the second half of the 1980s, Safa embarked on a career in the world of international trade, fixing up civil engineering contracts in the Middle East.[3]

After his initial success, Safa moved into the shipbuilding sector. In January 1992, Safa acquired a struggling shipyard, Constructions Mécaniques de Normandie (CMN) in Cherbourg. He quickly amassed new orders for the shipyard from several Arab states, including Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates.[3]

Since 2011, Safa is the non-executive vice chairman of the board of Marfin Investment Group, a Greek listed holding company.[4] Additionally, Safa and his brother, through Privinvest, control FIMAS SA, a French company with extensive real estate development and hospitality activities in the south of France.[5]

Personal life and family[edit]

In 2004, Safa was the president of the Lebanese Special Olympics Committee and was cited by Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri as having provided “most valuable financial support” for disabled athletes to participate in the Special Olympics Regional Games in Tunisia. An able sportsman himself, in his youth Safa threw the discus nationally for Lebanon.[3]