What is Tetra Pak and who built the fortune?

July 11, 2012 - 11:42 AM
Britain Billionaire Death

This photo taken from PA video shows police outside a house in Cadogan Place, Chelsea after the body of Eva Rausing, a member of the family behind the Tetra-Pak drinks carton empire and one of the richest women in Britain was found, Tuesday July 10, 2012. Eva Rausing, one of Britain's richest women, was found dead in her west London home and a man has been arrested in connection with her death, British police said Tuesday. Rausing, 48, was the American-born wife of Hans Kristian Rausing, heir to the multibillion-dollar TetraPak packaging fortune. They have both had long-running and often public battles against addiction. (AP Photo/PA Video, Leanne Rinne) UNITED KINGDOM OUT NO SALES NO ARCHIVE

LONDON (AP) — Hans Kristian Rausing, the billionaire heir whose wife was found dead this week, is a member of one of Europe's richest families — a fortune built on the Tetra Pak, maker of a better milk carton.

His Swedish grandfather, Ruben, began producing milk cartons in 1952, and in 1963 gave the world a flat-topped carton that can be packed and shipped like bricks. The development revolutionized the packaging and distribution of milk and fruit juices worldwide.

Ruben's sons — Hans and Gad — took over the business when he retired and built the company into an empire. Hans, father of Hans Kristian, later sold his share of the business to Gad for 4.5 billion pounds ($7 billion).

The Rausing family is known for its sizable donations to charity, by some reports giving more than 150 million pounds away over the past few years. The senior Hans Rausing has also made headlines for his large donations to Britain's Conservative Party.

Hans Kristian and his wife had been well-known charitable donors and his sisters — Sigrid and Lisbet — also are heavily involved in philanthropy.

Sigrid — who owns and publishes Granta magazine — has won awards for her human rights work and created a trust to support human rights.

Lisbet, a historian and researcher, has taught at Harvard and is a cofounder of Arcadia, a grant-making fund to protect endangered nature.