Swedish rich list part 1

Who are the richest men and women to hail from the land of social democracy and egalitarianism?

Sweden is not a country that celebrates wealth. Like many Nordic nations it is influenced by what is known as Janteloven, a set of cultural traits probably derived from the Lutheran faith originally and which value modesty and the avoidance of flaunting material signs of success.

Despite this Sweden is one of the technological and manufacturing powerhouses of Europe, and a very large number of extremely wealth people have emerged from a nation that is home to a mere 9.6 million people. Here are the richest Swedes.

1. Stefan Persson

The son of Erling Persson, the founder of Swedish retail giant H&M, Persson is said to have a cool £19 billion on hand. He took over the running of the company from his father in 1982 and continues to be the biggest shareholder in the company.

The secretive billionaire recently made headlines as he is planning to build a nine-bedroom mansion in Wiltshire in the UK.

In addition to his retail empire he owns a large swathe of properties in London, Rome and Paris through his property firm ‘Ramsbury Invest’ including much of Oxford Street in Central London.

Persson recently penned his name to a list of Swedish businesspeople that opposed ending the arms deal with Saudi Arabia.

2. Hans Rausing

Hans was one of those that inherited the Tetra Pak business from his father Ruben. Tetra Pak is the largest food packaging company on earth, and is best known for its usage in the dairy industry, with its solutions helping companies to provide fresh milk using its designs, as well as for juices and a range of other products.

Now almost 90, Hans was key to the success of the company, having led the group since 1954 to take on a variety of innovations that ended in the company taking its position as a global heavyweight. He is said to have a fortune of approximately £8.5 billion.

Based in the UK, the Rausing family is well-known for the tragedy that affected his son, also called Hans. He became addicted to heroin in his mid-20s and his wife Eva herself died of a drugs overdose.

3. Melker Schorling

Little-known outside Sweden, Schorling is the owner of an investment group – named after himself – which owns substantial stakes in some of the biggest companies in Sweden.

He built up his fortune while serving as the CEO of security giant Securitas before moving on to construction outfit Skanska.

Now serving as the chairman of Securitas, he holds a stake worth 5.6 per cent, mainly through his investment business Mekler Schorling.

4. Jorn Rausing

The cousin of his better-known relative Hans, he inherited his share of the Tetra Pak empire through his father Gad, who passed away in 2000 and who was instrumental in building up the business together with his brother Hans senior.

A secretive man, he is known to be based in Surrey in south-east England and to be a major investor in online food giant Ocado.

5. Antonia Johnson

Another family dynasty is the Johnsons, with Antonia being the fourth generation of the family to run the conglomerate known as the Axel Johnson group, which is over 140 years old.

The trading giant started life as a coal and iron import business but today the group’s companies include AxLoad – a supplier of lifting equipment to the shipping sector – as well as a car parts chain known as the Mekonomen Group and a retail arm called Axstores.

A global business with an enormous range of investments in everything from pharmaceuticals to commercial property, she is said to be worth approximately £4 billion.

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