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FORBES

Ten Swedes make Forbes billionaires list

Ten Swedes have made it onto the Forbes billionaires list for 2011, with H&M owner Stefan Persson placing highest among the Swedes considered to be the world's wealthiest.

Ten Swedes make Forbes billionaires list
Photo: Prolineserver; Tnarik (File)

Persson came in at number 13 in the 2011 Forbes rankings, with an estimated fortune of around $24.5 billion.

Since first being created by Erling Persson in 1947, the H&M clothing empire continues to expand internationally with new stores opened in Turkey and Israel in 2010 and Croatia and Romania planned for 2011.

The younger Persson has led the company since 1982.

His sister Liselott Persson is the third highest-ranking Swede on the Forbes list, coming in at spot 323 with an estimated fortune of $3.4 billion.

Packaging matriarch Birgit Rausing of TetraPak fame is found at number 49 with an estimated fortune of $14 billion, followed by brother-in-law Hans Rausing at number 81 with $10 billion.

Hans sold his part of the Tetra Laval packaging company to brother Gad Rausing in 1995.

In 1980 the company headquarters were moved to Switzerland and the Rausing family has long been based outside of the Swedish borders in an effort to escape the country’s high taxes.

Ikea mogul Ingvar Kamprad, who was the highest ranking Swede last year, saw his standing among the global wealth elite drop precipitously.

The head of the flat pack furniture giant fell from place 11 to 162 and now has an estimated fortune measured at a mere $6 billion after lawyers showed that Ikea is owned by a foundation in tax haven Lichtenstein, which Kamprad created and now heads.

The foundation receives royalties tax free on all sales that every Ikea store must pay to the parent company for the right to use the concept.

The foundation is valued at $12 billion, but has so far only paid out $60 million to charity, according to Forbes.

Kamprad now gets his fortune from his investment firm Ikano.

Among the rest of the Swedes featured on the list is Antonia Johnsson at 152 with a fortune estimated at $6.5 billion.

She heads the Axel Johnsson Group, which has interests in everything from energy to telecom and real estate.

Fredrik Lundberg, the head of L.E Lundberg Företagen and Melker Schorling, the chairman and 85 percent owner of Melker Schorling AB, share place 393 with $2.9 billion each.

Security giant Gustaf Douglas, with $2.6 billion, finds himself in spot 440, while hedge fund operator Thomas Sandell comes in at place 1057 with a comparatively modest $1.1billion.

The world’s overall richest person for the second year running is Carlos Slim Helu of Mexico, worth an estimated $74 billion, followed by IT mogul Bill Gates with $56 billion.

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TETRA PAK

Tetra Pak billionaire Hans Rausing dead at 93

Swedish businessman Hans Rausing, credited with turning food packaging company Tetra Pak into a global giant, has died in England aged 93, his family said.

Tetra Pak billionaire Hans Rausing dead at 93
Hans Rausing inherited Tetra Pak from his father Ruben Rausing. Photo: Peter Lyden
“Hans Rausing had exceptional drive, and right to the end a commitment to entrepreneurship in Sweden and around the world,” they wrote in a statement. He died on Friday.
   
His father, Ruben Rausing, co-founded a company in southern Sweden that was an early innovator in food packaging, seeking to move away from bulk sales of foods such as flour and sugar to consumers.
   
Ruben Rausing developed the first cardboard container in the shape of a tetrahedron — a shape made of four triangular sides, also known as a triangular pyramid. It is the shape that gave the company its name.
   
The new packaging was most notably used to sell milk, replacing glass bottles in a pre-plastic revolution for beverage packaging.
   
Born in 1926, Hans Rausing was appointed managing director of Tetra Pak International in 1954, and with his brother Gad led the company for four decades. 
   
He retired as president in 1993, having grown the company from seven employees to 36,000 and giving it a global presence.
   
Under the brothers' leadership, Tetra Pak continued to develop new packaging, creating sterile materials and new shapes, and designed machines for the ultra-high-temperature (UHT) pasteurisation of milk.
   
In 1991, Tetra Pak acquired Alfa Laval, a leading supplier of equipment for the agricultural industry, and the group became known as Tetra Laval. 
 
Rausing, who left Sweden for the United Kingdom in the 1980s for tax reasons, is estimated to have amassed a fortune of some $12 billion (11 billion euros), according to Forbes magazine.
 
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Tragedy struck the family in 2012, when the businessman's daughter-in-law Eva died from a drug overdose aged 48. 
   
Her rotting corpse was found more than two months after her death under a pile of bedding in a room in the London home she shared with Rausing's son, Hans Kristian.  
   
He pleaded guilty to preventing the lawful and decent burial of his wife, and received a 10-month sentence, suspended for two years.
 
He said he could not deal with her death. The couple had met at a drug addiction clinic.
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