As one of Belgium’s most influential investors, Frank Monstrey knows the ins and outs of developing projects, finding the right financial recourses and ensuring the success of companies. His most recent project ‘Tenerga’ focuses on alternative energy solutions, such as geothermal energy, and has potential to become a serious market leader. “Geothermal energy is not very common yet in Belgium. The current sustainable energy industry mostly concentrates on wind and sun energy as the main option for alternative energy. My aim is to make geothermal energy and its many advantages well known across a larger audience.”
After successfully selling some major shares in 2017, Frank Monstrey initially thought he could take a break from work and investing. Yet already at the start of 2018, he was lured right back into the world of investing as he took over his first company in renewable and sustainable energy. “Being an entrepreneur is not something you can simply switch off. Either entrepreneurship is in your blood or it is not. I realized I am only 54 and retiring already would drive me crazy. I always need to do something! Hence why I started Tenerga,” the businessman proclaims. As fossil fuels are running out, Tenerga explores alternative energy solutions such as geothermal energy. To put it simple, geothermal energy is the thermal energy which is stored in the earth. Trough steam turbines the thermal energy converts to electricity, which in turn can be used to either preheat or cool down buildings. “Tenerga will not be used for the preheating of individual houses, yet targets buildings such as business offices, hotels, hospitals and large apartment blocks,” Monstrey elaborates.
Of course Frank Monstrey’s career did not happen overnight. However, already at a young age it became apparent that Monstrey had great potential. After completing his Business Administration studies in Leuven, Monstrey participated in an excellence program that brought along the opportunity to gain work experience abroad. In 1989 he starts working in Shanghai, for the General Bank of Belgium. “The bank was greatly involved in the financing of large investment projects, such as infrastructure projects for both the Turkish government and Turkish companies. This was the period when I gained most of my contacts.” After expanding his knowledge of investments and project development, Frank Monstrey decided it was time to start for himself. He left the bank and in 1993 he began to engage in several projects in Turkey. “At that point the Turkish economy was in the middle of total restructuring, which was in my favour. Next I moved on to projects in Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Belarus and Russia.” Monstrey had his own office in Istanbul, and not much later he also owned one in Turkmenistan with a large employment team working for him. After living in Instanbul for ten years, he moved back to Belgium so he could spend more time with family. “This didn’t mean I gave up my position. I was based in Belgium and continued all activities from there, and commuted between Brussels and Istanbul up to four times a month.”
Nostrum Oil & Gas
In 2004, Frank Monstrey took over a small gas and oil company that was about to go bankrupt. Monstrey bought the business and named his new energy company “Nostrum Oil & Gas”, yet little did he know this impulsive takeover was about to raise his career to another level. “Although the company did set up a strategy, it previously lacked the sufficient funding to work it out properly. In fact, there was not enough capital at all. That’s where I stepped in and took over the business. In order to raise its capital I then started an investment program. I managed to expand the company to 1000 employees, with a production of 43000 barrels of oil a day.” Nostrum Oil & Gas soon became so time consuming that the Belgium businessman decided to get less involved in other projects. Instead, he put all his time and energy and brought Nostrum Oil & Gas to the London stock market. Eventually in 2017, Monstrey sold all his shares in the company.
Besides expanding Tenerga, his geothermal energy company, Frank Monstrey is the chairman of golf club The National, near Brussels. “Instead of your usual golfclub, we designed The National in such a modern and contemporary way that it reaches out to the new generation of golfers. The world of golf is going through massive change and the golfers of today are definitely very different from the previous generation. Though I think of the club more as a hobby than as an actual company.” And of course it helps that Frank Monstrey is a great fan of playing golf himself. Other spare time activities consist out of reading, visiting operas and going on holidays in countries around the Mediterranean Sea.