Belgian billionaire Albert Frère dies at 92

Baron Albert Frère passed away on December 3rd at the age of 92.

He was enthroned as one of the richest men in Belgium and considered one of the most successful Belgian businessmen. Albert Frère started his career by taking over the family business at Frère-Bourgeois, a company specialized in the manufacturing of nails and ironwork.


Baron and Baroness Albert Frere (Photo by Bertrand Rindoff Petroff/Getty Images)


For several years Frère continued his career with several significant acquisitions that led him to rule over the Carolingian steel basin. He made several investments such as in 1976 with Hainaut-Sambre. In 1973, Albert Frère was elected president of the Charleroi Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

In 1980, after a crisis in the steel industry, there was a powerful merger between between Hainaut-Sambre and Cockerill, between the basins of Charleroi and Liege. Only 2 years later, Albert Frère resigns and turns away from the Walloon steel industry and resells the shares.

Groupe Bruxelles Lambert

The year 1982 is also marked by his entry into the capital of Groupe Bruxelles Lambert (GBL) which is one of the main holdings of the country.

Albert Frère also enters a partnership with Paul Desmarais, a powerful Canadian businessman, by investing in the Swiss holding Pargesa.

Albert Frère stepped down as the head of GBL and Pargesa holdings a few days before his 89th birthday. GBL is now run by Frère’s oldest son, Gérald Frère. It was to become one of Europe’s largest equity holding companies with net assets worth  € 19 billion.  GBL is partially owned by Pargesa.