The tiny Grand Duchy of Luxembourg in the heart of Europe may readily qualify as a microstate – its population of a little over half a million is spread over less than a thousand square miles – but it has a thriving construction industry.
One such local business still going strong in the midst of our ever-deepening European recession is SOLUDEC; indeed at an age when most of us are facing retirement, SOLUDEC is flourishing and has just celebrated its sixty-fifth birthday with a grand presentation to some of its main public and private clients, as well as architects, engineers and consultants in the areas of law and finance. During the event, CEO Jacques Brauch paid glowing tribute to the quality of construction work carried out over the course of its 65 years by the 11,000 workers and employees of the company.
It was no coincidence that the venue chosen for the evening was the Grand Duke Jean Museum of Modern Art – or the Mudam as it familiarly known in Luxembourg. This stunning structure, inaugurated in 2006, was designed by legendary Chinese-American architect I M Pei and built by SOLUDEC, and it remains one of the company’s proudest achievements.
The SOciété LUxembourgeoise D’Entreprise et de Construction was founded in 1949 and built up successful activities concentrated around the country’s then-thriving post-war steel industry, overseeing the construction of several large mills and manufacturing essential furnaces and kilns.
As the steel industry waned over the following years, SOLUDEC branched out into other areas of construction and now boasts a wide-ranging portfolio covering many fields, including general contracting, public and private works, industrial and commercial buildings, residential housing and apartments, engineering and pre-engineering, steel structures, earthworks, project management, real estate and property development. In 1985, following construction of the premier five-star hotel Le Royal in Luxembourg City, the firm became a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Luxembourg-based General Mediterranean Holding Group, founded by the Iraqi-born British entrepreneur and philanthropist Sir Nadhmi Auchi. GMH’s activities range from construction and real estate, banking and finance, to hotel and leisure, IT, telecommunications and aviation.
SOLUDEC has grown to become a major international operator since its acquisition by GMH. In addition to its many European activities, it has established businesses in Malaysia and the Middle East to help the revival of the construction industries there, particularly in Lebanon. However, it still takes great pride in being an active part of the local building industry and lists among its main goals to be recognized as a major player in the Luxembourg economy: “a socially committed company… able to anticipate, react and adapt to the trends of the current and future markets, and to educate its customers, partners and employees in the new technologies of sustainable production”.
One has to admit, this sounds like an excellent cornerstone for any company.