Greg Nwoko Historic Blog

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Cappa and D’Alberto Plc ( Oldest Nigerian construction company)

Cappa and D’Alberto Plc was established as a partnership in Nigeria in 1932 by two determined and dedicated young men from Piedmont in Northern Italy, Pietro Carlo Cappa and Vigino D’Alberto. From an undercapitalized business operating within the static economic conditions of the time, the two partners managed to secure a foothold with an initial series of small jobs from the Catholic Mission. Then, still in 1932, came the first significant contract for the Italian-Nigerian Commercial Syndicate. In the following year, the partnership aided in the construction of the Holy Cross Cathedral and subsequently won contracts for the Hunmuani Mosque in Lagos and the Catholic Mission in Abeokuta.

Although colonial Nigeria was struggling in the aftermath of the European depression, the partnership endured. In 1936, the first government contract was awarded to them for a substantial housing project in Yola. As a result of the successful completion of this project well ahead of schedule, the partnership won further contracts in Yola, Sokoto and Jos. By the close of the decade, eight years after coming into being, Cappa and D’Alberto had forged the foundations for what is now the oldest and one of the most prominent organizations in the Nigerian construction industry today.

With a growing team of skilled artisans and competent supervisors, a sound base for continued development was established. These difficult early years appeared to have passed when in 1939 Cappa and D’Alberto was awarded the construction of Kingsway Store in Lagos. After a setback due to the Second World War, Cappa and D’Alberto was rapidly re-established and enlarged, ready to accept the challenges Nigeria’s post war economic growth offered. Increasing private and public demand for quality construction augured well for the partnership. After completing the Kingsway project in Lagos, contracts for CFAO Moloney Supermarket, Leventis and UTC Stores were executed. In the late 1940’s the growing need for additional educational facilities together with a wide range of public and private sector projects was met by the partnership. Cappa and D’Alberto is proud to have been associated with the construction of such buildings as St. Gregory’s College, Obalende, schools and colleges in Ede and Ilesha as well as Ibadan’s University College.

 The next ten years leading up to Nigeria’s Independence saw both the steady development of the nation and the continued growth of the partnership. In 1950, Cappa and D’Alberto was transformed into a limited liability company and relocated to new, far more suitable quarters from which to pursue expansion. The new premises consisted of the head office complex at 72 Campbell Street, Lagos and a workshop at 82 Okesuna Street, Lagos. Since 1950, thanks to this workshop, the company has been able to substitute locally manufactured materials for a large number of previously imported items. A small real estate base was established with the acquisition of land at Igbosere Road, Lagos on which an office block was erected. In addition, an efficient training scheme ensued enabling many employees to acquire valuable new skills. Increased local production and improved manpower development are two crucial factors in Nigeria’s development to which the company is dedicated.

During this period of increasing activity just prior to independence, the firm executed projects including: the Army barracks in Apapa and Yaba, Queens College, Yaba, the 7UP Bottling Company, Apapa, Kajola house in Lagos Island, the Ikeja Hospital, the Lagos Island Maternity Hospital, the American Embassy, Bristol Hotel and Western House, all in Lagos and Cocoa House in Ibadan. This development required the opening of a branch office in Ibadan, with the construction of two blocks of flats, a workshop and offices. In addition, a new housing estate was constructed at Palmgrove in Ikeja. At this time of expansion, Cappa and D’Alberto Ltd. started its tradition of re-investing a sizable part of its profits in order to ensure steady growth within the industry.

 When a group of construction companies, including Cappa and D’Alberto Ltd, founded the Federation of Building and Civil Engineering Contractors in Nigeria, the industry advanced as a whole. The Company still remains a committed supporter of this body and, through a representative on its council, takes an active part in the Federation’s activities.

The post-independence period saw an upturn in the construction industry. From this period until the present, a wide variety of projects spanning the nation has been credited to Cappa and D’Alberto Ltd.. This include: N.E.P.A. Headquarters, the Ikoyi Hotel Complex, the Italian Embassy, Unity House, Bhojsons Textile Industries Factory, Eko Court Complex, Tafawa Balewa Square Complex, Special Guest Houses for the Head of State, the Creek Military Hospital in Lagos and the complexes for Tractor and Equipment and A.J. Seward in Oregun. In Kaduna a permanent branch was established and several projects completed; prominent among them the U.N.T.L. Factory, the Arewa Textile Factory and the Peugeot Automobile Factory extension. In Kainji the company built the Kainji Dam Consultant Camp, the New Bussa Township and 54 re-settlement villages along the River Niger for people displaced by the dam. Another department store for Kingsway was also built in Port Harcourt. Special reference must also be made to the National Stadium Phases I and II, constructed in the early 1970’s. This, one of Africa’s most modern sports arenas, was the chosen venue for the Second All African Games in 1972.

Source: Cappa and D'Alberto.


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