BRUSSELS, July 17 Belgian holding company Groupe
Bruxelles Lambert (GBL) has taken a 4 percent stake in
Belgian specialist materials group Umicore, part of a
strategy to focus less on France and the energy sector.
GBL management said on Wednesday that it had steadily
increased its stake from a negligible holding at the start of
GBL, controlled by Belgium's richest man Albert Frere, has
traditionally had a focus on French high-yielding stocks,
including Total, GDF Suez, cement maker
Lafarge and drinks group Pernod Ricard.
Last month, it bought a 15 percent stake in Swiss inspection
company SGS from Exor, carmaker Fiat's
parent company, for 1.5 billion euros.
GBL's management said the investment in Umicore marked a
move into Belgium and a new sector and also represented more in
the way of a growth stock.
Umicore's activities range from precious metal recycling to
automotive catalysts and ingredients for rechargeable batteries.
(Reporting By Philip Blenkinsop, editing by Robert-Jan Bartunek
and Jane Merriman)