Albert Frere

Belgium’s richest man and multi-billionaire entrepreneur, Albert Frere, has died aged 92, his investment company GBL announced on Monday.

According to Forbes magazine, the self-made former scrap metal merchant turned media, utilities and oil magnate, was worth $6.2 billion.

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His death was confirmed in a statement by GBL, the Belgian holding company that he has run as one of two controlling shareholders since 1990.

Born in 1926 in Charleroi in southern Belgium’s fading industrial heartland, he dropped out of school to join his family’s small iron-working firm.

He proved to have a flair for business and by the 1970s his company controlled almost all steel production in Belgium, before selling it into state control.

With capital generated by the sell-off he developed an investment vehicle and remained in control of GBL until 2015, when he was well into his eighties.

He remained honorary chairman and, with the Desmarais family the major shareholder, in the firm.