Abela Family

The Abela family, which is a branch of the royal family of Spain, is originally from Catalonia from where some of its members moved to Valence and then to Sicilia and to Malta. Ávila (called Abela by the Romans) is the capital of the Ávila province (where Saint Teresa, Doctor of the Church, is born), part of Castile and León, the largest autonomous community of Spain.

The Abela family is a noble family of Malta. George Abela was unanimously elected President of the Republic of Malta by the Maltese Parliament in 2009, for the first time since the country gained its independence from the United Kingdom. His term ended in 2014. Wistin Abela was Malta’s finance minister, minister for development, minister of energy, ports and telecommunications and deputy prime minister. Carmelo Abela, Malta’s current minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Promotion, was Malta’s minister for Home Affairs and National Security and the Deputy Speaker of House of Representatives of Malta.

In the 18th century, Giacomo (Jacomo) Abela and his son Tommaso Abela left Malta to settle in Saint John of Acre to do trading with Malta. Elias Abela (the son of Tommaso Abela) and his sons Francis (who went to Egypt), Tommaso (Thomas) – who had a son, Habib Abela (who went to India, China and Sudan where he died) – and Giuseppe Tommaso (Joseph or Youssef) Abela are born in Saint John of Acre.

The history of the Abela family in Lebanon starts in the early 19th century when Giuseppe Tommaso (Joseph or Youssef) Abela moved to Tyr (where he married) and then to Saida (where he settled). Because of the Maltese roots of the Abela family, Giuseppe Tommaso (Joseph or Youssef) Abela obtained for him and his descends, i.e. all the members of the Abela family in Lebanon, the British citizenship.

The Abela family is a reputable family of Lebanon.

During the 20th century, Dr. Habib Abela was a very famous medical doctor in ophthalmology and in otolaryngology who cured several heads of State and Government of Middle East countries.

“Abela Frères” was established in 1927 by Nicolas Abela, François Abela, Basile Abela and William Abela as a family owned firm importing and distributing pharmaceutical products in Lebanon and the Middle East. They also created “Droguerie de l’Union”. The members of the Abela family have always been known for their integrity and their loyalty to the cause they defend. In that matter, Dr. Michel Abela, (Doctor in Pharmacy) who was appointed as President of the Lebanese Pharmacists Order in 1998 and who developed an ethical system for this order decided to resign after only one year of presidency due to foreign & local political pressures that wanted him to accept and validate rules and regulations that were against his ethics and believes.

In 1941, Robert Abela founded in Lebanon the Syndicate of Press Editors (“Syndicat des rédacteurs de presse”) and became its first president. He also acquired the papers “Al-Zaman” and “Al-Bachir” (which was then offered to Bachir Gemayel and is now owned by the Bachir Gemayel Foundation).

In 1948, along with his brothers Joe Abela and Edwin Abela, Albert Abela founded in Lebanon a major-league catering international group including various forms of catering, from life support services and food processing to transportation: supplying in-flight meals but also catered in airports (such as the airports of Beirut, Dubai, Heathrow, Gatwick, Athens, Sharjah, Bucharest and Sofia), in hospitals, in nursing homes, in hotels (in France Monaco, London and Egypt), in organizations (such as the United Nations United Nations Economic and Social Commission for West Asia, ESCWA, in Lebanon), in schools, in universities, in onshore and offshore oilfields and in event and hospitality catering. The group has also invested worldwide in the field of high-end leisure: acquisitions of several four- and five-star hotels in Egypt, the United Kingdom, France (Gray d’Albion in Cannes), and Monaco (L’Abela Hotel in Monaco now known as Hôtel Colombus). It also owns a significant stake of Casino du Liban, one of the largest state-owned enterprises in Lebanon and has been operating and managing it. The group has also opened, owned and managed supermarkets in Lebanon (later re-branded Monoprix after it has been rented and managed by the Lebanese operator of the brands of the Galeries Lafayette group) and in the Gulf. Operations in 40 countries (including the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, India and the United Kingdom), over 15 million meals a year including meals served to air passengers of 165 airlines, 34,000 employed people, and annual turnover of $1.3 billion. In 2001, the world largest catering organization, Sodexho Alliance (today known as Sodexo), acquired two companies of the group (also one of the world largest catering organization): in France, Sogeres (60% owned by the group and 40% owned by Paribas Affaires Industrielles, BNP Paribas), a company running the catering at the Roland Garros tennis championships in Paris and holding catering contracts with French commercial television channel TF1 and the American Hospital of Paris; and, in the United States, Wood Dining Services (100% owned by the group), a company operating in 21 states and having among its clients the National Security Agency, elderly care group ManorCare and Lehigh University in Pennsylvania. The group was the first to handle catering on offshore drilling rigs in the North Sea. Moreover, in 1974, in joint venture with the Maltese government, the group set up Medserv Limited. In 1997, the group bought out the Maltese government stake. In 2001, AD Holdings Limited (later renamed Medserv plc) was granted options by the group to purchase the entire equity of Medserv Limited (later renamed Medserv Operations Limited), a transaction that was completed in 2003. Medserv has exclusive rights to a 200-metre-long, deep water quay at the Malta Freeport, with an additional 5,000 square metres of adjacent land area and laydown facilities extending to 50,000 square metres within the Malta Freeport confines. Medserv offers a variety of services to oil and gas offshore operators, with the company’s main focus being on industry activity within North Africa and the Mediterranean basin. Aside from its Malta base, Medserv also has operations in Cyprus, Greece, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Iraq and Libya.

William Abela has created “Abela Consulting & Management” (AC&M), one of the leading consultancy and management companies in the hospitality industry in the Middle East, executing various projects in Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Europe was gratified in 1998 and elected “hotelier of the year” in recognition of his accomplishments. He also developed “Abela Delices”, an upscale catering company in Lebanon that caters from A to Z, for up to 2,000 meals a day, for private dinners, weddings, birthdays, anniversaries, cocktails, parties and other multiple functions including the supply of equipment, staff, utensils and all materials needed for various events including for corporations. Up to 2,000 meals a day.

“Abela Delices” was the appointed caterer of prestigious clubs such as the Golf Club of Lebanon as well as international companies & cafeterias that wanted to give to their executives high en food services. William Abela has also been known for his engagement defending associative and humanitarian causes and has always given a major part of his time to defend child and elder people interests and rights.

Béchara Nammour and his wife Henriette Abela have invested in Albergo Hotel in Lebanon, Hôtel Daniel in Paris, and in Sheraton Hotel in Texas as well as in other hotels in the United States; but also in La Mie Dorée, Balthazar and Paul restaurants in Lebanon and in J. Paul’s (the restaurant founded by Paul J. Cohn) in Washington as well as in other restaurants in the United States and in France.

Since 1995, Gilbert Abela has opened several restaurants in Beirut, Lebanon such as Julia’s (at Monnot street and then at Sursock street, with Albertino Abela), Claudia’s (at Abdel Wahab el-Inglizi street), Way’s Café (at Place Sassine, with André Fayad), “Restaurant-Diner” (former “Le Coffee”, at Monnot street), Bar Tabac (former “French Café”, at Sodeco area) and, Casa del Gelato (at Independence street, with André Fayad).

In 2001, Marlon Abela founded in Mayfair, London a group which owns and operates a worldwide portfolio across London and the east coast of the United States including the two-Michelin-starred Greenhouse, Mayfair, the two-Michelin-starred Umu, Mayfair and the two-Michelin-starred The Square, Mayfair; Morton’s Private Members’ Club, Mayfair; Green’s Restaurant, St James’s; O. W. Loeb Wine Merchants (known for specialising in Burgundy, Rhône and German wines), Tower Bridge; MARC Fine Wines (120,000 bottles of fine wine in stock), Mayfair; MARC Patisserie & Bakery, Perivale; A Voce, Madison Square Park, New York; A Voce, Time Warner Center, Colombus Circus, New York; Morello Bistro (formerly Gaia), Greenwich, Connecticut; Bistro du Midi, Boston, Massachusetts; and, Cassis Bistro, South Kensington, London.