Lebanon Contracting Company
Monday, 07 June 2010 17:46
Interview with Rene Matta, General Manager of Matta et Associés

The construction industry in Lebanon is experiencing an unprecedented boom.  What is your assessment of the sector itself?

"We’re very optimistic for the construction sector over

the next five years.  We think that Lebanon has big

potential, and we are only worried about stability. 

If there is stability, there is a large possibility for growth.

In Lebanon we have an end user, so there’s less speculation."

There are a lot of Lebanese and even foreigners who are ready to invest in Lebanon .  We need a lot of construction ; we need more hotels, more complexes, residential buildings, restaurants, infrastructure, and the government has started bidding for such projects.  The international crisis will affect the sector, but the effect of the international crisis is minor in the face of stability.

Matta et Associes occupies a leading position in the Lebanese construction sector.  Can you give us a little history and background of the company, sharing with us some of the basic performance indicators ?

Matta Contracting is a family contracting company ; one of the biggest and oldest in Lebanon, started more than 60 years ago.  Our particularity is that we stayed in Lebanon, and our priority is Lebanon.  We worked in Lebanon during the war, during good times and difficulties.  We are happy that we stayed in Lebanon, because now with the boom we’re one of the companies ready to face all of the challenges.

Every contracting company has its appeal.  What is the appeal of Matta et Associes?

Matta and Associates’ priority is the relationship with the client.  Our priority is to please the client.  We are proud to have the same clients giving us one project after another ; it means we are reliable.  We are known in Lebanon to refuse projects if we cannot deliver.  We are also known for specialized projects, like hospitals, universities , and towers.  As a contractor, we have three key words : quality, time (we have to deliver on time), and money  (we have to give the best price to the client).

As one of the leading companies in the market, what is your main challenge ?

Our main challenge is to remain among the five biggest contracting companies of Lebanon, even during bad times.  It is not easy, because in Lebanon we have a lot of ups and downs.  On the other hand, we would like to grow from 20 to 30% per year during good years.  During difficult years, our objective is to stay and not close our company.

What is your long-term vision for the company, and can you give us a brief overview of your projects internationally and locally ?

We currently have 50 of the biggest projects in Lebanon.  The biggest is the Grand Hyatt Hotel, which is in downtown.  We are executing two big towers in downtown.  We also have a lot of high-end residential buildings in Al Ashrafiyeh.  We’re bidding for a big tower project which is to be the highest tower in Lebanon.  There are a lot of projects coming.  Outside, we have a company in Qatar, but that company is to help Lebanon.  So our priority is and always will be Lebanon.

Can you give us an overview of the people who are behind the company, their expertise?

We have a good team.  We have excellent engineers, foremen, a financial department, and they have all been here for a long time.  We have a lot of experience.  We also have a lot of young people who chose the company lately who’re very ambitious and who are helping the company to develop.  We have a lot of directors, and when we succeed it  is with our subcontractors and suppliers. 

You mentioned that one of your greatest assets is to deliver on time.  How do you transmit this message to the foreign investors?

Lebanon is a very small country.  Everyone knows everyone else, so we ask them to ask our clients, the banks and our consultants.  They will tell them whether Matta delivers on time or not, is client-oriented or not, and if Matta delivers good quality or not.

What would be your final message to our audience about Matta and Associates, and about Lebanon?

In Lebanon we really have huge potential.  Lebanon is a very unique country.  Some people are pessimistic or afraid, but I’m very sure there is huge potential in a lot of sectors.  I encourage everyone to come and invest here in Lebanon.  We’re doing it, so we’re not just talking the talk ; we’re aiming to stay here in Lebanon for 20 to 25 years.