Albert, Baron Frere Resource Page



A WORKAHOLIC WHO CLAIMS HE WILL NEVER RETIRE. Nicknamed ‘The Warren Buffett of Belgium.”

he makes money by exercising stone-cold patience

Age: 85

Fortune: self made

Source: Investments

Net Worth: 3.0 Billion Dollar

Country of Citizenship: Belgium

Residence: Charleroi, Belgium, Europe & Russia

Industry: Investments

Marital Status: married, 3 children

High School, Drop Out


Corporate Headquarters: Avenue Marnix 24 Brussels, Brussels 1000, Belgium

Phone: 32 2 289 17 17

Fax: 32 2 289 17 37



Former Vice Chairman

Pargesa Holding SA

Former Chairman

Groupe Bruxelles Lambert SA, Prior to merger with Electrafina S.A.

Member of the International Advisory Board

Power Corporation of Canada

Chief Executive Officer and Member of Standing Committee

Groupe Bruxelles Lambert SA


Director and Chairman of Nominations & Compensation Committee

LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton


Vice Chairman

GDF Suez S.A.


Pargesa Holding SA

Groupe Bruxelles Lambert SA, Prior to merger with Electrafina S.A.

LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton

Total SA

Assicurazioni Generali SpA

Power Corporation of Canada

GDF Suez S.A.

Métropole Télévision SA

Chateau Cheval Blanc SA


In 2002, he received the title of baron from the Belgian king Albert II. He is a co-owner, together with Bernard Arnault of LVMH, of the Château Cheval Blanc winery near Bordeaux. He is also a member of the Cercle Gaulois.

Albert, Baron Frère was born on Feb. 4, 1926 at Fontaine-l’Évêque near Charleroi, Belgium. He is a Belgian entrepreneur and the richest business person in Belgium. A high school dropout Albert, Baron Frère reconstructed his family’s scraps metal company into a gush of resources in media, utilities and oil. His investments include a 25 percent stake in the German media behemoth Bertelsmann, which is going to go public very shortly. Baron Frere is also a connoisseur of fine wine.

Frère was a son of a nail merchant and took an interest in the family business from early childhood. When Frère was 17 his father passed away and Frère had to leave school to run the company by himself. He started investing in Belgian steel factories at the age of 30.

By 1970s he practically supervised the whole steel industry in the region of Charleroi. He was able to foretell the frightening steel crisis of   1970s and sold his enterprises to the Belgian state after amalgamating them with the competing steel firm Cockerill to create Cockerill-Sambre.

Frère invested his earnings and was able to build an investment kingdom around the Swiss holding company Pargesa that he established with the collaboration of  Canadian investor Paul Desmarais. Pargesa owned the Belgian holding company Groupe Bruxelles Lambert in 1982 and in a year added major stakes in wide ranging Belgian companies like Petrofina, Royale Belge Insurance, Compagnie Luxembourgoise de Télédiffusion (CLT), and Tractebel. He vigorously promoted international consolidation of the business areas in which he was involved, selling  Royale Belge to Axa, Tractebel to Suez, Petrofina to Total S.A., and RTL to Bertelsmann and Banque Bruxelles Lambert to ING Group,


Type: Public

On the web:

Employees: 34

Groupe Bruxelles Lambert’s group comprises a number of financially strong companies. The investment enterprise has stakes in several important French businesses, including oil giant TOTAL, utilities company GDF SUEZ, and materials makers Imerys and Lafarge.

Groupe Bruxelles Lambert is always on the look out of, long-term investments, but is not limited to a specific industrial genre. It prioritizes investments that are in a way concerned with European financial system. Through affiliated entities, Chairman Frère and Canada’s Power Financial own nearly half of Groupe Bruxelles Lambert. Groupe Bruxelles Lambert (“GBL”) is a holding company listed on Euronext Brussels 1956.

GBL is one of Belgium’s top ten corporations. GBL struggles  to  preserve  and  support  the  growth  of  a  collection  of  investments  focused  first and foremost  on  a  small number of companies in which it plays its role as a professional shareholder.

GBL invests  in  companies  that  offer  potential  to  create  value  for  shareholders  and  sells investments deemed to have reached maturity. It stands as one of the ten biggest Belgian enterprises, and also a part of the BEL20. in Brussels it was listed in  1956. GBL was also involved in Drexel Burnham Lambert, having made a sizeable investment in the early 1980s.

According to Bloomberg Business Week the Groupe Bruxelles Lambert SA put in finances in a portfolio of companies operating in various sectors. The company, through its subsidiary, Imerys, engages in minerals processing comprising minerals for ceramics, refractories, abrasives, and foundry; performance and filtration minerals; pigments for paper and packaging; and materials and monolithics to industrial equipment manufacturers and paper makers.

The firm also holds a 21 percent interest in Lafarge; a 5.2 percent interest in GDF Suez; a 4 percent  interest in Total S.A.; a 0.2 percent interest in Iberdrola; a 6.9 percent in Suez Environnement; a 9.9 percent interest in Pernod Ricard; and a 10 percent interest in Arkema. The company was incorporated in 1902 and is based in Brussels, Belgium. Groupe Bruxelles Lambert SA operates as a subsidiary of Pargesa Netherlands B.V. (

Moreover he has strengthened his shareholding in Suez, by acquiring part of the 1.35 per cent stake sold by Catalan bank La Caixa, and insisted that a merger with gas giant Gaz de France (GDF) was the best way forward for the French utility and environmental services group. As reported by French Daily Le Monde In Paris, shares in French perfume retailer Marionnaud soared 21.26 per cent to 18.31 Euros, after Distripar, a holding business owned by Belgian financier Albert Frere, bought a stake in the group of more than 5 per cent.

Le Monde further reports that Albert Frere, the Belgian industrialist, is reported by a press source to hold a stake of almost 5 per cent in Havas, the French advertising and media services group. The company has by now confirmed that he crossed the 4 per cent threshold at the end of September. It remains unknown, however, whether he intends to cross the 5 per cent threshold or raise his influence on the media group. Mr. Frere is already there on the media market, having investments in Suez and RTL Group.


Frere has amassed wealth by being serene. GBL first invested in Imerys SA, a maker of specialty minerals and pigments, in 1987. Frere secured his preliminary shares in Suez in 1996 through Belgian utility Electrafina. He has also owned stock in Total SA since 1999.  He invests long-term. He does not take note of transient fluctuations.

If he decides to venture in a business situation, he does his best to make it a success.  This is his art of investment that entices him to undertake perilous business decisions like the frantic The Suez-GDF deal. The French President Nicolas Sarkozy has to promulgate a law relinquishing state control of GDF so that the planned merger is made possible.

He avoids large, public companies  and rathe invests in private or appoints his management. He exercises influence in corporate Europe through much planned investments, by planning to affect mergers and takeovers and now and then by superseding his opponents just with the help of his intellect and experience. He has weird timing in making investments. He made a profitable deal in 2006 that is Bertelsmann transaction.

In 2001, Frere swapped his 30 percent holding in Luxembourg- based television and radio broadcasting company RTL Group for a 25 percent stake in the German media company. While affecting the trade, he included a section in the contract securing his right to float his Bertelsmann shares on the stock market.

He conducted talks with the Mohn family that rules Bertelsmann, and demanded 4.5 billion Euros for his shares. He succeeded in getting his price after announcing a strategy for a lucrative public offering. However, the Mohn family members disliked the suit.

Liz Mohn who is in control of Bertelsmann, said in a statement in early 2006 that the purchase of Frere’s stake surefire the company’s autonomy. Frere and his business mates pocketed more than 2.4 billion Euros on the deal. The best deal Frere did is probably with RTL and Bertelsmann. Profits earned from the Bertelsmann transaction made Frere one of the top line investor in Lafarge and Pernod Ricard. In his characteristic style he bought shares of Pernod Ricard in 2006 and strengthened his position as an investor further.

His one of the preferred investment technique is that he buys large number of shares in a small corporation and exchanges it for a small stake in a large company. Accordingly in the year 1996 he sold his 25 percent holding in Belgian utility Tractebel SA to a unit of Paris-based Suez, that resulted in a merger of the two businesses  and the conversion of Suez into a corporation that the very next year had 44 billion Euros in revenue.

Frere and his team sold the Tractebel stake for 49.4 billion Belgian francs, about 1.2 billion Euros. Their 9.5 percent stake in Suez was worth 5 billion Euros as of June 20. Suez’s record earnings last year of 3.6 billion Euros correspond to a 32-fold increase because Frere had bought these shares more than ten years ago. He could profit again through a rise in Suez’s share price if the corporation by pulling off its merger with Gaz de France, which would make it the largest utility company in the world, earning revenues more than 72 billion Euros.



  1.  Albert Frere

The Relentless Hunt for the Next Deal

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  1.  Albert Frere

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  1.  Recent economic news: Albert Frere

  1.  Albert Frere Maneuver in Bertelsmann Deal Gets Henry Kravis Nod

  1.  CMA CGM-Albert Frere Talks Interrupted Over Investor Rights, Echos Says

  1.  Billionaire investor Albert Frere, a leading shareholder

  1.  Albert Frere cleared for Taittinger acquisition

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  1.  Albert Frere’s CNP says ‘no longer in the running’ for Aston Martin

  1.  Billionaire Negotiating for Investment in CMA CGM

  1.  Pernod-Ricard : Albert Frère takes 5% of capital

  1.  Albert Frere acquires 5.3 mln Suez shares, raising stake to 9.5 pct – AMF


1. Gastronomie d’influence. Albert Frère.

2. Albert Frere buys into Eiffage (Apres l’espagnol Sacyr, Albert Frere entre a son tour dans le capital d’Eiffage).

3. Albert Frere doesn’t hold Hermes stock – source

4. Space Race for Albert Frere

5. Albert Frere May Increase Lafarge Stake Further

6. Albert Frere: the art of the deal: the legendary deal making skills of Belgian entrepreneur Albert Frere have reshaped his native country’s corporate landscape. He is now set on emerging markets.

7. Is Albert Frere cooling on renewable energy?

8. A discreet dynamo

9. Mais qui est Albert Frère?

10. The concrete man


12. Belgian financier Albert Frere weighs stake in CMA: union

13. Albert Frere does not rule out increasing stake in GDF-Suez (Albert Frere n’exclut pas de monter au capital du futur groupe GDF-Suez).

14. Albert Frere’s GBL to get 3 seats on Lafarge Board

15. Albert Frère-FSI: une alliance contestable?


1.  Albert Frère fait des heureux.

2. Albert Frère prend-il goût au trading ?

3. Albert Frère stap voor stap uit Iberdrola?

4. Analyse bel20 au 24 02 2012

5. le groupe Carlyle bush desmarais albert frere sarko

6. Paul D’Hoore over de rijkste Belgen


8. Début du procès du frère Pierre-Etienne Albert

9. Optima Open: much more than just a tennis game

10. TV Belgiek – 16 Nov. 2010 – On the Brinks of discovery

11. Interview de Marcel Uderzo, le dessinateur de lhistoire de lAéronautique aux éditions Idées+

12. Don Bosco Ouaga-MARIE AUXILIATRICE.avi

13. = la BELGIQUE des clones ?


15. Tuer Kyoto, briser l’Europe et destituer la Reine-Pape entre le 9 et le 11 de pleine lune mentie


H/T Santangels Review

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