MAK Holdings (Lebanon) S.A.L is a tribute and an abbreviation for the name of late Mohamed El-Khalil who was a visionary entrepreneur. He sailed off the shores of Lebanon in the late 1800s in pursuit of honorable better living.

At the age of 16, and almost illiterate, he joined the thousands of Lebanese who emigrated in wave after wave and who today constitute the Lebanese Diaspora numbering in the millions all over the world.

Mohamed El-Khalil boarded a vessel that berthed in Mexico. He quickly learnt Spanish only to become known as “Don Emilio” and soon became a successful male version of the “Avon Lady” of the 1960s. He would go on to save a small fortune of gold pennies by selling household goods door to door, walking around the large cities of Mexico on his two feet for days on end. It paid off!

Don Emilio decided to return home and marry, but he missed the ship that was to sail to the Middle East. Realizing that he would spend most of what he saved on hotel bills and food if he was to wait for the next ship, he decided to board another ship that was supposedly sailing to America “a land of much richest” as he was told. The vessel berthed in Marseille and he boarded a second one with his best friend only to end up on the shores of Lagos, Nigeria instead of America!

It was fate that took him there but it was his own sharp mind that made him realize that he was looking at a huge business opportunity in transportation. However, he had to learn a new language, and new African customs. He lost most of his savings as a result of a failed trading shop he opened in the first three years of his arrival.

Through sheer determination, and an honest face, he managed to secure a loan to purchase his first truck and hire a driver and started moving goods around Lagos. Within a few years full of many difficulties that tested his resolve to the limit, M. El-Khalil Transport Ltd. grew to become the largest trucking business on the West African coast. His heavy duty trucks, cranes and earth moving equipment were used for moving the parts that put together Nigeria’s infrastructure in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s during that country’s first oil boom.

Don Emilio soon became the “Bigi Baba” or “Big Father” of transport in Nigeria. It took “Bigi Baba” another ten years to continue his journey to Lebanon since he had left Maracaibo in Mexico.

Don Emilio a.k.a. Bigi Baba is for our family the “first generation”, or “G1”, or “founder” as often referred to in the academic world of family business dynamics. His vision resonates into our G3 as we carry the torch within MAK to perpetuate his core values that have become the foundation for any business that MAK operates or invests in.