History at a glance

GROUPE FRÈRE-BOURGEOIS has been a major player of the Belgian steel industry (production, trading,…) until the ‘80’s.

In 1981, GROUPE FRÈRE-BOURGEOIS, together with other investors acquired the Swiss company PARGESA HOLDING. Through the years, PARGESA HOLDING progressively built its controlling position in GROUPE BRUXELLES LAMBERT (GBL).

In 1988, GROUPE FRÈRE-BOURGEOIS took control of CNP through a public offering. Successive capital increases provided CNP with sufficient resources to develop its activities as a professional shareholder. Key direct investments at the time included SOCIETE GENERALE DE BELGIQUE, PETROFINA and ROYALE BELGE.

In 1990, GROUPE FRÈRE-BOURGEOIS and POWER CORPORATION (DESMARAIS Family) jointly took control of PARGESA HOLDING.

In 2011, CNP was delisted, after a successful public takeover bid (economic ownership: GROUPE FRÈRE-BOURGEOIS (70%) and BNP PARIBAS (30%)).

GROUPE FRÈRE-BOURGEOIS acquired BNP PARIBAS’s stake in CNP at the end of 2013. As a result, CNP is now exclusively controlled by GROUPE FRÈRE-BOURGEOIS, alongside with management (about 2% of capital) and personnel (stock options).

Major operations

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Since 1988, CNP has created value through its various investments amongst which:

TOTAL

In December 1998, PETROFINA (of which GBL and CNP were reference shareholders) and TOTAL agreed to merge to create TOTALFINA, pursuant to which GBL and CNP remained together the largest shareholders of TOTALFINA.

In June 1999, TOTALFINA launched a successful public exchange offer on ELF AQUITAINE to create TOTALFINA ELF, later renamed TOTAL.

Since then, GBL and CNP have remained amongst the largest shareholders of TOTAL, today with each of them holding 0.6%.

AOT ENERGY (AOT Holding)

AOT Energy is a private, global energy trading company which traces its origins back to 1947, when Baron FRÈRE founded TRANSCOMETAL to service the steel industry. Since then the TRANSCOR GROUP expanded from coal into crude oil and oil products with the acquisition of the international brand "ASTRA" in the 1980's. In more recent years ASTRA expanded into petrochemicals, renewables and gas. Until recently this group operated under the name ASTRA TRANSCOR ENERGY.

In late 2015 the controlling shareholder of ASTRA TRANSCOR ENERGY, GROUPE FRÈRE-BOURGEOIS, reacted supportively to a management initiative for a Management Buy-Out. In April 2016, Group management and key employees agreed to acquire 49% of AOT Holding Ltd ("AOTH"), the new Group parent company, and were additionally granted a call option to acquire the remaining 51% in the coming years GROUPE FRÈRE-BOURGEOIS will continue to be the controlling shareholder of AOTH until the call option is exercised. AOTH and its trading subsidiaries conduct business under the new brand name of AOT ENERGY. The Group Management of AOT ENERGY operates from headquarters in Zug, Switzerland.

INTERNATIONAL DUTY FREE

The history of travel retail in Belgium dates back to 1958, when Aldo VASTAPANE created the first duty free shops in Brussels National Airport. After a series of capital operations, CNP and GBL became majority shareholders (76%) of DISTRIPAR (BELGIAN SKY SHOPS) in 1991, along with its founder (24%).

CNP’s participation in DISTRIPAR was brought to 100% in 1998.

Over the years, BELGIAN SKY SHOPS extended its activities to Charleroi airport, which has witnessed an impressive growth of passenger traffic over the last decade.

In 2014, in view of its internationalization, DISTRIPAR became INTERNATIONAL DUTY FREE. IDF's strategy is to develop as a strong niche player in the travel retail business, mainly across Europe, Middle East and Africa. INTERNATIONAL DUTY FREE remains today a strategic participation for CNP, and is expected to yield a sustained growth in the coming years.

CHATEAU CHEVAL BLANC

In October 1998, together with GROUPE ARNAULT, CNP acquired CHATEAU CHEVAL BLANC, one of the most prestigious wine estates in France (St-Emilion 1er Grand Cru Classé ‘A’). CHEVAL BLANC remains today a strategic participation of the Group.

QUICK

In September 2002, after a successful takeover bid, CNP and ACKERMANS & van HAAREN (AVH) achieved joint control over GIB, a retail holding company and the majority shareholder (58%) of the QUICK fast food chain.

Over the years, CNP and AVH developed QUICK into one of the leading fast food brands in Belgium and France.

In October 2006, GIB agreed to contribute its controlling share to the public bid launched by QUALIUM, an investment fund sponsored by the CAISSE DES DEPOTS ET DES CONSIGNATIONS (France).

TAITTINGER / LE LOUVRE

In January 2001, CNP – in agreement with the TAITTINGER family – acquired 11% in SOCIETE DU LOUVRE (hotel chains) and 11% of TAITTINGER (Champagne, wine estates, controlling shareholder of SOCIETE DU LOUVRE). Raising its shares to 25% of TAITTINGER and 15% of SOCIETE DU LOUVRE, CNP acted as a partner to TAITTINGER’s family from 2001 to 2005 and contributed its participation to the friendly public bid launched by STARWOOD.

GROUPE JEAN DUPUIS

In 1985, GROUPE FRÈRE-BOURGEOIS, GBL and GROUPE HACHETTE acquired GROUPE JEAN DUPUIS (francophone comic strips publishing, printing). In 1993, HACHETTE sold its stake while keeping 50% of the heliogravure printing business. CNP took exclusive control of GROUPE JEAN DUPUIS in 1998.

In 2004, CNP agreed to sell GROUPE DUPUIS to MEDIA-PARTICIPATIONS to create the European leader of comic strips publishing.

CNP investment activities had also to cope with failures (albeit limited in numbers and amounts) of which ENTREMONT has been the most testing example (see Investments track record below).

Investments track record* (as of June 30th, 2017)

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* Excluding TOTAL and PARGESA/GBL (transferred outside CNP’s scope, under GROUPE FRÈRE-BOURGEOIS).

Internal rate of return over holding period

Investment track record
1 QUICK*
2 SUZY / INTERWAFFLES*
3 SAINT LOUIS SUCRE*
4 SCI et Associés*
5 FCC*
6 PALAIS DU VIN*
7 CIE GENERALE DES EAUX*
8 TAITTINGER/LOUVRE*
9 UNIFEM/ENTREMONT ALLIANCE*
10 PROJECT SLOANE / JOSEPH*
11 ESPIRITO SANTO FH*
12 PARIBAS*
13 SOCIETE GENERALE DE BELGIQUE*
14 IDF (ex-DISTRIPAR, incl. DISITRIPLUS)
15 CHEVAL BLANC
16 WINE ASSETS excl. CHEVAL BLANC*
17 BIG/IJSBOERKE*
18 BERNHEIM-COMOFI*
19 ARTEMIS*
20 HELIO CHARLEROI*
21 ROYALE BELGE*
22 COBEPA*
23 DUPUIS*
24 ACIDE CARBONIQUE PUR*
25 AOT ENERGY(AOT Holding)
26 EIFFAGE*
27 IBERDROLA*
28 IRIS*
29 GO VOYAGES*
30 APG/SGA
31 METROPOLE TELEVISION (M6)
32 BANCA LEONARDO
33 TRASYS*
34 GROUPE FLO*

* Disposed of.