Iskandar Safa Founded, Commands Global Shipbuilding Firm


Iskandar Safa said there was no direct plan for him to establish what would become among the world’s premier shipbuilding firms. He suggests is was merely a natural progression of his career as a civil engineer. Although he said that he “always liked boats,” he entered the shipbuilding sector for “commercial reasons.”

Iskandar Safa and his brother, Akram Safa, founded Privinvest in the early 1990s. In 1991 the freshly minted firm made a bold move that many industry observers considered risky. Mr. Safa opted to purchase the struggling CMN (Constructions Mécaniques de Normandie) shipyard in Cherbourg, France. The venerable maritime operator was in deep financial trouble. But within just a few years, CMN was a thriving operation. As of today, it has built 700 ships for 38 navies and employs 400 people. View More Information Here.

Iskandar Safa was born in Lebanon in 1955, a tumultuous and troubled time for that Mideast nation. He grew up and entered the American University in Beirut and completed a degree in civil engineering. He then pursued employment opportunities in the United States. After working as a junior civil engineer there, he opted to move to France to complete an MBA at the world-renowned INSEAD in Fontainebleau. He eventually became a French citizen. Go Here to learn more.

After working on further engineering projects in Saudi Arabia, Iskandar Safa entered the maritime realm with the establishment of Privinvest. In addition to the acquisition of CMN, Privinvest would continue to expand operations into Germany, the United Kingdom, points with the Mediterranean and the Middle East.

Under Iskandar Safa’s leadership, Privinvest continues to be among the most robust and in-demand operators in its sector today. It currently is working on an order book of more than 80 vessels. Among its primary clients is NATO, although the firm has served more than 40 world navies to date.


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