Tetra founder calls it a day

MAGNUS GRIMOND

Britain's richest partnership is coming to an end, but for a change this split has nothing to do with the marital problems of the royal family. In fact, despite the fact that the pair in question last year overtook the Queen - with personal wealth now estimated at around pounds 4bn - they shun the limelight and are far better known for what they make than who they are.

Hans Rausing and his brother Gad amassed their fortune through the Tetra Pak Brik carton, a simple invention which has revolutionised the packaging of everything from milk to fabric conditioner. The two Swedes moved to Britain in the 1980s, apparently drawn by the new entrepreneurial spirit being fostered by Mrs Thatcher.

Now Hans, who will turn 70 next year and has been managing director of Tetra for the past 40 years, has decided to bow out along with the rest of his family. In future Gad, along with daughter Kirsten and sons Finn and Jorn, will take full responsibility for the world's largest packaging firm, with sales of about pounds 5.6bn last year.

In a statement from its headquarters in Stockholm, the company said Hans wanted to retire, while his children wanted to pursue their own careers. The two brothers first announced their retirement two years ago. At that stage, they had already been taking a back seat role at the company for some years, leaving day-to-day control in the hands of four managers, including Professor Goran Grosskopf, the first non-Rausing chairman.

He replaced Hans after the takeover of the food processing giant Alfa- Laval led to the creation of the present group in January 1993. The Tetra Laval group now includes Tetra Pak, Tetra Laval Food, Alfa Laval, and Alfa Laval Agri.

The company is controlled through a Liechtenstein foundation and a Dutch holding group, which means they are under no compulsion to publish accounts and makes it difficult to be clear about the extent of the family wealth.

Although Sainsbury and Tesco are switching from the Brik carton for milk in favour of other forms of packaging, new uses - such as laundry liquids - and new customers regularly emerge.

The invention was inspired by the Rausing grandmother's sausage-making activities, which impressed Ruben, their grandfather, by the way meat was squeezed into the skin and pinched at both ends.

The resulting invention, when applied to liquids, eliminated the need for refrigeration - a major step forward for 1952 when the first containers were produced.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
Life and Style
food + drink
News
i100
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Carlton Senior Appointments: Private Banking Manager - Intl Bank - Los Angeles

$200 - $350 per annum: Carlton Senior Appointments: Managing Producer – Office...

Carlton Senior Appointments: San Fran - Investment Advisor – Ind Advisory Firm

$125 - $225 per annum: Carlton Senior Appointments: San Fran - Investment Advi...

Sheridan Maine: Commercial Finance Manager

Up to £70,000 per annum + benefits: Sheridan Maine: Are you a qualified accoun...

Sheridan Maine: Regulatory Reporting Accountant

Up to £65,000 per annum + benefits: Sheridan Maine: Are you a qualified accoun...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas