Our story and our beginnings
Cappa and D’Alberto Plc was established as a partnership in Nigeria in 1932 by two dedicated young men from Piedmont in Northern Italy, Pietro Carlo Cappa and Vigino D’Alberto. From an undercapitalized business operating within the prevailing economic conditions of the time, the two partners managed to secure a foothold with an initial series of small jobs from the Catholic Mission. 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 for a substantial housing project in Yola. As a result of the successful completion of the 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.
The two founders on a site visit, 1932
The early years
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 the Kingsway Store in Lagos. After a setback due to the Second World War, Cappa and D’Alberto was quickly 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 1940s, the growing need for additional educational facilities together with a wide range of public and private sector projects was met by the partnership.
Holy Cross Cathedral – Lagos
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 far more suitable quarters. 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 a large number of previously imported items with locally produced materials. 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 suitable for the purpose of pursuing expansion. Increased local production and improved manpower development are two crucial factors in Nigeria’s development to which the company is dedicated.
The Hunmuani Mosque, Lagos, 1933
During the 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, the Bristol Hotel and the Western House, all in Lagos and Cocoa House in Ibadan. The 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.
Western House, Lagos, 1960
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 independent period
The post-independence period saw an upturn in the construction industry. From this period, a wide variety of projects spanning the nation had been credited to Cappa and D’Alberto Ltd. This includes NEPA 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 AJ Seward in Oregun. In Kaduna, a permanent branch was established and several projects were completed; prominent among them are the UNTL 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, built 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.
National Stadium, Surulere, Lagos
The need for more construction companies necessitated by the growth in the country posed yet another challenge to Cappa and D’Alberto Ltd. The company found itself in a position of being a training ground for the industry and the spirit of free and fair entrepreneurship encouraged this attitude. Versatility was further increased with the establishment of a factory, Clay Industry (Nig) Ltd. this associated company, a pioneer in the industry produces fired clay bricks and other building components from local materials.
The Tafawa Balewa Square
The early eighties witnessed growth in all sectors of the economy and the building industry was further boosted when the construction of Abuja, the nation’s new capital commenced. Cappa and D’Alberto Ltd. soon made its presence known there with the construction of Radio House for the Ministry of Information. This growth period was halted by the oil glut and the consequent fall in prices of oil on the world market. During this time, the Company was at the forefront with the construction of factories for Glaxo Nig. Ltd., Food Specialties Nig. Ltd., Beecham Nig. Ltd., Continental Can Nig. Ltd., Metalbox Toyo Glass Nigeria Ltd., Reckitt and Coleman Nig. Ltd. and others. In Ibadan, Broking House was built. Later the growing need for office space for financial and commercial institutions caused a shift in this direction, and the company undertook the building of office blocks for Savannah Bank, Chellarams, Wibfin, Afribank and many others. Cappa and D’Alberto Plc. also financed the building of the new headquarters of the Federation of Building and Civil Engineering Contractors in Nigeria.
Italian Embassy, Victoria Island, Lagos
With the onset of the depression, there was a marked decrease in activities. Some projects already started were discontinued and new ones were few and far between. However, some large projects like the housing scheme for Elf Oil Co., the Ikeja Shopping Plaza for Lagos State Government, the factories for the Afkey and the Globe Spinning as well as the office blocks for Law and the Rock Insurance Co. Ltd. and RAO Investment were completed during this period. Also, several churches were built for the company’s first Client the Archdioceses of Lagos including St. Dominic’s, St. Agnes, St. Leo’s and the Church of Ascension.
Progress and prosperity
The nineties saw the continuation of construction work in Abuja. Cappa and D’Alberto Plc. built 62 houses in the Officers Village (Fort Obasanjo) and handled the construction of the Loyola College for the Jesuit Brothers, the Abuja International Diagnostic Center, the Regional office for Federal Savings Bank and the office block for Kan Doki. The branch in Port Harcourt was reactivated with the construction of the Elf Petroleum office while the SOS Children’s Village was constructed in Ijebu-Iwu. Towards the end of the decade, construction started on the Central Bank of Nigeria Kano Branch. Within Lagos, Some of the major projects were the factories for the Century Spinning Mill and the International Fibers in Ikorodu.
Lagos State Water Corporation Head Office, Ijora, Lagos
There was also the development of banks and offices prominent among them was the head office and residential development for Mobil Oil in Victoria Island, Foreshore Towers in Ikoyi and the head offices for the International Bank and Intercontinental Bank in Victoria Island. Still in Victoria Island, the head office of Maersk Nig. Ltd., an office block for Dubri Oil Ltd., the Atlantic Royal Gardens for City Securities Ltd. and Persianas Towers for Bolkam Investment Ltd. In Ikoyi, there was the development for Rosedale Properties which holds the offices of Coca-Cola and also the residential developments for Shell Trustees. In Lagos Island, the new Head Office for Afribank Plc.also dates from this decade. In Ijora, the Company undertook the development of the new head office of the Lagos State Water Corporation in Ikorodu and Victoria Island. Finally, the expansion of the Church of Assumption in Falomo was done for the Archdiocese of Lagos. The Company was also able to expand its real estate base in Ikoyi, Lagos.
Church of Assumption, Ikoyi Lagos
The new millennium commenced with the refurbishment of the Federal Palace Hotel on Victoria Island, the extension to the factories of Nigerian Breweries Plc. in Lagos and Ibadan, and the Whitesands School in Lekki Peninsula. The Company was also successfully involved as a lead contractor in the refurbishment of the Murtala Mohammed International Airport. In Abuja, Cappa and D’Alberto Plc. has consolidated its presence with the construction of its permanent base camp, offices and yard. The most significant projects in Abuja during the period are the development of the United Nations Common Premises and the First City Monument Bank Ltd. Abuja office.
Cappa and D’Alberto Plc has been quoted on the Nigerian Stock Exchange since 1978. The company continues to be a partner in Nigeria’s development.
Atlantic Royal Gardens Maersk, Victoria Island, Lagos
Having seen the opportunity, the Board of Directors diversified the Organization’s activities by establishing within the company a maintenance unit and a highly specialized department in the field of aluminum windows and curtain walling.
In recognition of its achievements Cappa and D’Alberto Plc received in 2007 the “Best Building Company of the year” award by the Federation of Construction Industry and in recent times an award of Excellence & Recognition for Outstanding and Visible Performance in the Nigerian Building Industry by The Nigerian Institute of Building (NIOB) – College of Fellows
Safety has always been a priority for the company and this has over the years been recognized by our Clients especially in the Oil and Gas Sector. Worthy of note is the award by Chevron Nigeria Ltd for One million injury-free man hours and from ExxonMobil for achieving 3.8 million hours without a recordable injury.