Paul Riès & Sons: A Legacy of Trade and Innovation in Aden

In 1865, a pivotal year in Aden's commercial history, Paul Riès & Sons (Aden) Ltd. was established. This momentous opening, just four years before the Suez Canal inauguration, positioned the company advantageously in the rapidly evolving trade landscape. Initially focusing on the export of skins, coffee, and gums, the company quickly diversified, creating a robust import department dealing in essentials like sugar and flour, construction materials including cement, and an array of manufactured goods.

As Aden evolved, so did Paul Riès & Sons. The company ventured into the burgeoning salt industry, cementing its role in the colony's economic development. This expansion led to direct rivalry with another industry giant, Antonin Besse. Despite several attempts by Besse to dominate the market, Paul Riès & Sons held its ground, a testament to its resilience and strategic acumen.

The company's portfolio was diverse, including household commodities with agencies for renowned brands like Frigidaire, Kenwood, Olympia, and Telefunken. These partnerships were bolstered by exceptional service support from a highly efficient workshop, ensuring customer satisfaction and loyalty.

By the late 1940s, the company had flourished under the leadership of Paul's son, Maurice, who had become the principal partner. The workshops maintained by Paul Riès & Sons were considered among the finest in Aden, indicative of the company's commitment to quality and innovation.

Expanding its reach beyond Aden, the enterprise extended its influence to French Somaliland, Eritrea, and Ethiopia, with branches and agents in Yemen, Somalia, and the Eastern Aden Protectorate. Sister company L. Savon & Riès (Aden Shipping) Co. Ltd. managed several shipping agencies, including Lloyd Triestino, while Aden Coasters handled coastal business with its fleet.

By the 1960s, the automotive arm of the business, located on the Maalla Relief Road in Maalla, became a notable part of the company. Another affiliate, Savon, Riès & Thabet Shipping Co. Ltd., maintained prominent offices at the Rock Hotel in Steamer Point and in the Cloth Bazaar in Crater.

The company's foray into engineering and automotive equipment further diversified its portfolio. By 1962, Paul Riès & Sons had secured several significant agencies, reflecting its status as a powerhouse in trade and industry in the region.

Paul Ries Building on Maalla Relief Road, Maalla


  • Albion trucks

  • Borgward Cars

  • Citroen cars

  • Daimler cars

  • GMC - Pontiac, Oldsmobile, GMC trucks

  • Grey marine engines

  • Lambretta scooters

  • Lloyd cars

  • Opel cars

  • Peugeot cars

  • Rolls-Royce

  • Ste. L'Air Liquid (oxy-acetylene)

  • Solex carburettors

  • U.S. Rubber (tyres & rubber)


  • Broom & Wade (compressors

  • Caterpillar Tractor Co. (tractors and earth-moving equipment)

  • Conveyancer Forklift Trucks

  • John Allen & Sons (cranes)

  • Lister Blackstone Group

  • Massey-Ferguson (tractors & implements)

  • N.C.K. Rapier (excavators)

  • R.H. Neal & Co. Ltd (cranes)

  • Ransoms & Rapier (contractors plant)

  • Rotary Hoes Ltd. (Howard Rotavators)

  • Winget Ltd.
    (concrete mixers and vibrators)