Bloomberg Billionaires Index

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#264 Albert Frere $6.12B

Random fact: Given the title of baron in 1994 by King Albert II.

Overview

Belgium's richest man owns about 28 percent of Pargesa Holding, a publicly traded activist investor group. The Geneva-based company owns half of Groupe Bruxelles Lambert, which holds stakes in French oil giant Total, sports shoe company Adidas, cement manufacturer LafargeHolcim and drinks maker Pernod Ricard.

As of Sept. 22, 2017:
Last change +$5.60M (+0.1%)
YTD change +$2.90B (+90.2%)
Industry Commodities
Biggest asset PARG SW Equity
Citizenship Belgium
Age 91
Wealth Self-made
View net worth over:   Max 1 year 1 quarter 1 month 1 week

Relative Value

Albert Frere's net worth of $6.12B can buy ...

0
troy ounces of gold
0
barrels of crude oil

... and is equivalent to ...

0%
of the GDP of the United States
0%
of the total wealth of the 500 richest people in the world
0%
of the top 100 U.S. college endowments
0%
of the top 200 U.S. executives’ total awarded compensation
0%
of U.S. existing home sales
0
times the median U.S. household income

Latest News

Net Worth Summary

Cash
Private asset
Public asset
Misc. liabilities
Confidence rating:

The majority of Frere's net worth is derived from stakes in publicly traded French companies, including oil producer Total and cement maker LafargeHolcim, which he manages through a network of closely held companies, including Parjointco, Pargesa Holding and Groupe Bruxelles Lambert (GBL). 

He owns half of Rotterdam-based Parjointco, which holds 56 percent of publicly traded Pargesa Holding.

He has an additional 0.6 percent of Total through closely held Compagnie Nationale a Portefeuille (CNP), a Loverval, Belgium-based holding company that holds some of his other closely held assets, according to the company's website.

He also controls AOT Holding (formerly Astra Transcor Energy) according to CNP's website, which is valued using the enterprise value-to-Ebit multiple of publicly traded peer company Glencore. CNP also owns stakes in International Duty Free, retailer Distriplus and Banca Leonardo.

Frere owns 40 percent of French vineyard Chateau Cheval Blanc, which he controls with French billionaire Bernard Arnault. The vineyard is valued using the per-hectare prices of similar vineyards that were provided by a broker who asked not to be identified because the asset is private.

The value of his cash investments is based on an analysis of insider transactions, stock sales, taxes and dividends.

A person familiar with CNP and Pargesa said in May 2017 that GBL and Frere have total assets of about $5.5 billion, which was higher than the Bloomberg calculation.

Biography

Birthdate: 2/4/1926
Family: Unmarried, 2 children

Albert Frere was born in the Belgian village of Fontaine-L'Eveque on Feb. 4, 1926, the son of Oscar and Madeleine Frere who ran Frere-Bourgeois, a nail and chain manufacturer. His father died four years later and Frere joined the family trade full time in 1947, at age 21.

He started to buy Belgian steel operations in the 1950s, becoming the country's biggest operator by the 1970s. Frere bought 35 percent of Groupe Bruxelles Lambert (GBL) in 1981, which held investments in several Belgian industrial and financial services companies. Two years later, as the steel industry slumped, Frere sold the steelmaker to the Belgian government for $20 million and used the proceeds to expand and diversify his investments, including media company Bertelsmann, oil producer Total and cement manufacturer Lafarge.

Frere, who told Bloomberg News in 2007 that he doesn't "climb through the rear window" in his deals, joined billionaire shareholders Thomas Schmidheiny, Nassef Sawiris and Filaret Galchev in the April 2014 merger agreement between Lafarge and Jona, Switzerland-based Holcim, the world's largest cement maker. The billionaire was made a baron by Belgium's King Albert II in 1994.

Frere is married with a son, Gerald, and daughter, Segolene. His youngest son, Charles-Albert, died in a car crash in 1999. A foundation was set up in his memory in 2000.

Milestones
  • 1926 Albert Frere is born in Fontaine-L'Eveque, Belgium.
  • 1947 Starts working full time at his family's nail and chain company.
  • 1987 Invests in Belgian oil company Petrofina.
  • 1998 Swaps Petrofina shares for stake in French oil producer Total.
  • 2001 Takes 25 percent stake in German media company Bertelsmann.
  • 2006 Sells Bertelsmann stake back to family shareholders.
  • 2014 Merger of Holcim and Lafarge is announced.
  • 2015 Announces he is standing down as CEO of Groupe Bruxelles Lambert.