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Paul van Vlissingen, Dutch billionaire, conservationist

AMSTERDAM -- Billionaire Paul Fentener van Vlissingen, whose family company owned the Makro retail chain and who donated millions to nature conservation causes, died Monday of pancreatic cancer at his castle in Langbroek, Netherlands. He was 65.

Mr. van Vlissingen was fourth on Quote magazine's list of wealthiest Dutch people, with an estimated $2.7 billion .

He established the African Parks Conservation Foundation, a nonprofit organization designed to manage parks like businesses, using proceeds to protect wildlife areas from poaching and human encroachment. It operates 10 parks in seven African countries.

Mr. van Vlissingen said the idea grew out of a meeting he had with South African leader Nelson Mandela.

African Parks has won endorsements from Mandela and some conservationists, but it has been criticized for evicting native people from lands where the foundation was awarded concessions.

Representatives of African Parks said they could not immediately comment.

SHV Holdings had roots in the 19th-century coal industry. Besides owning the Makro chain, SHV is one of the world's largest scrap metal recycling companies. It has divisions in gas distribution and oil exploration.

Mr. van Vlissingen became the company's chief executive in 1984, and he oversaw a tripling of sales before becoming board chairman in 1998, SHV said in a statement.

Mr. van Vlissingen resigned last year after being diagnosed with cancer.

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