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Philips legend dies at 100

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Frits Philips, the only son of Anton Philips, the founder of the Dutch electronics giant Philips, died yesterday in Eindhoven at the age of 100. Under his leadership great progress was made in the worldwide expansion of the company's industrial and commercial activities.

Philips is now one of Europe's leading electronics manufacturers, very much on par and even ahead of companies such as Sony and Samsung, with annual sales of more than $35bn and nearly 160,000 employees - but when Frits began as an industrial engineer in 1930, Philips was still very much into the light bulbs business.

Frits Philips expanded Philips' presence in Asia and South America, encouraged scientific R&D, oversaw the breakthrough of the first electric razor and Compact Audio Cassette and started the company's production of integrated circuits. Probably his biggest love was the Stirling engine, or hot air engine, although Philips failed to turn it into a commercial success.

Out of a concern for threatening trade conflicts, Frits also created the 'Caux Round Table', a group of industrialists from Japan, Europe and the United States that met twice a year with a view to promoting mutual understanding and encouraging responsible entrepreneurship. "His endeavors were of inestimable value for Philips", the company says in a statement.

Frits Philips will be laid to rest at a private ceremony attended by members of his family on Monday 12 December in Eindhoven. Philips is also honoring Frits Philips on a special website. ®

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