Belgian industrial holding company Bruxelles Lambert (GBL) has agreed to buy a 15-percent stake in Swiss testing and inspection services group SGS for 2.0 billion euros ($2.6 billion).
GBL, owned by billionaire tycoon Albert Frere, said in a statement that its wholly-owned subsidiary Serena will buy the 15-percent stake currently owned by EXOR, the investment company that controls automaker Fiat-Chrysler.
GBL said SGS is the world's leading testing, inspection and certification company, with more than 75,000 employees worldwide.
It generated sales of 5.6 billion Swiss francs in 2012 and has a market capitalisation of approximately 16.9 billion Swiss francs.
"SGS is the leader in an attractive industry (and) offers substantial growth potential, both organically and through market consolidation," GBL said.
The acquisition will be financed using part of the GBL's existing cash. Following the acquisition, GBL will remain with a gross cash position of 1.0 billion euros and confirmed undrawn credit lines of 1.2 billion euros, it said.