PARIS -- Baron Marcel Bich, former chairman of Groupe Bic, died Monday. He was 79.

The family provided no other details.

Bich, who made his Bic ball point pens, lighters and razors known throughout the world, was also an important player in the Paris fashion world through his company's majority ownership of Guy Laroche. Bich, who was a friend of the late Guy Laroche, came to the rescue of the designer by acquiring this stake in 1979.

Bich was also a passionate sailor and launched four campaigns to win the prestigious America's Cup, in 1970, 1974, 1977 and 1980, but all the attempts were unsuccessful.

Among Bich's survivors is a son Marcel, who took over as chairman of Groupe Bic last year.

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