Al­bert Frère, Bel­gian In­vestor, 92

WWD Digital Daily - - News - BY FLEUR BURLET

PARIS — Al­bert Frère, Bel­gium’s rich­est man and a close associate of French lux­ury ty­coon Bernard Ar­nault, has died at the age of 92.

Frère was pres­i­dent of in­vest­ment fund Groupe Brux­elles Lam­bert, or GBL, which an­nounced his pass­ing on Mon­day morn­ing.

Bought by Frère in 1982, GBL was cap­i­tal­ized on the stock mar­ket at 15 bil­lion eu­ros in Septem­ber 2018. The fi­nan­cial hold­ing has shares in Adi­das, Pernod Ri­card, To­tal and Imerys amongst oth­ers, and has been listed for 60 years.

“For over three decades, un­der

[Frère’s] im­pul­sion, GBL has be­come one of the big­gest hold­ings in Europe,” said a GBL state­ment pub­lished on the com­pany’s web site. “His pro­fes­sional and hu­man qual­i­ties have deeply marked our group.”

Frère was born in 1926 in the Hain­aut re­gion of Bel­gium, near in­dus­trial hub Charleroi. The en­tre­pre­neur first based his ca­reer in the steel in­dus­try be­fore turn­ing to fi­nance in the Eight­ies. Frère re­leased his con­trol over GBL in 2015 but re­mained chair­man of the com­pany.

To­gether with Ar­nault, chair­man and chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer of LVMH Moët Hen­nessy Louis Vuit­ton, Frère bought the Château Che­val-Blanc vine­yard in Sain­tEmil­ion in 1998.

“I am deeply sad­dened by the pass­ing of my friend Al­bert,” said Ar­nault, con­tacted by WWD. “Al­bert was an ex­tra­or­di­nary man and a fan­tas­tic en­tre­pre­neur. All along these 35 years of loyal friend­ship, we’ve built a strong per­sonal and pro­fes­sional re­la­tion­ship. Even more than his in­nate busi­ness sense, I will re­mem­ber Al­bert for his pas­sion­ate love of life, his great abil­ity to fed­er­ate and his in­cred­i­ble en­gage­ment in all his projects.”

An in­ti­mate cer­e­mony will be held for Frère’s fam­ily.

The bil­lion­aire fi­nancier was the rich­est man in Bel­gium, ac­cord­ing to this year’s Forbes rank­ing.

Al­bert Frère

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