Tetra Pak tycoon Hans Rausing dies aged 93

Swedish businessman Hans Rausing is credited with turning food packaging company Tetra Pak into a global giant.
Swedish businessman Hans Rausing is credited with turning food packaging company Tetra Pak into a global giant.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

STOCKHOLM (AFP) - 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.

"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 (Aug 30).

His father, Mr 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.

Mr 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, Mr 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.

Mr Rausing, who left Sweden for the United Kingdom in the 1980s for tax reasons, is estimated to have amassed a fortune of some US$12 billion (S$16.7 billion), according to Forbes magazine.

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 Mr Rausing's son, Mr 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.