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Nutella

April 19, 2011 by staff 

Nutella, Pietro Ferrero, executive director of Ferrero, the maker of Nutella chocolate paste and Tic Tac, and heir to Italy’s largest fortune, died of a heart attack in South Africa. He was 47.

Ferrero died yesterday while bicycling on a coast road near Cape Town, during a break from a business meeting in South Africa. A passerby saw him fall off his bike and was pronounced dead of a heart attack shortly after an ambulance arrived, Western Cape police spokesman Captain FC van Wyk said in a telephone interview.

“Italy has lost a business man who embodies the best qualities of our industrial history – the continuing search for excellence, creativity, determination to compete even in difficult times to defend a brand and make it a symbol,” said Minister of Foreign Affairs, Franco Frattini, in a statement sent by email.

Pietro Ferrero’s death comes as the company considers joining a takeover battle of Parmalat SpA (PLT), the largest dairy company in Italy. A government-backed group of Italian investors is trying to block Groupe Lactalis of France to gain control of Parmalat. In 2009, Ferrero hot and left a bid for Cadbury Plc, before Kraft Foods Inc. (KFT) CEO Pietro Ferrero bought it was together with his brother Giovanni.

The shortage of chocolate
Ferrero was founded in Alba, Italy, in 1946, when the grandfathers of Pietro transformed a small coffee and pastry in a candy factory. With cocoa as Italy face rebuilt after the war, the company experimented with locally abundant nuts as an ingredient replacement, according to its website. Using a base of cocoa with hazelnuts, Nutella Ferrero developed, now the best selling sweet spread in the world.

President Michele Ferrero, Pietro’s father, took over the management of activities and increased the family fortune and 18 million dollars, which earned him the ranking 31 on the Forbes list of billionaires in the world 2011, the highest position for any Italian.

“Ferrero is a family business that has opened up considerably to external managers,” said Daniel Demartis, a fund manager based in Rome Agora Investments Sgr. “It is likely that the sequence is responsible for its management.”

The company, which was introduced in the U.S. Tic Tac in 1969, had sales of 6.6 million euros (+ 9.4 billion) in the fiscal year ended Aug. 31, up 4.3 percent. Recent innovations include Grand Soleil, a dessert stored at room temperature, it becomes a straw when shaken and frozen. Ferrero has over 21,600 employees and 18 plants worldwide.

Recession in Western Europe, which accounted for 74 percent of sales in 2009, exposed Ferrero bias towards the major markets, Euromonitor International, wrote in a February study. The company is now focused on growth in Asia and Africa, Euromonitor said.

Pietro Ferrero has a degree in biology from the University of Turin and was a former director of Ifil SpA, a holding company of another billionaire family Turin, Agnelli of Fiat SpA-founder. Pietro Ferrero previously served as director of Mediobanca SpA, Italy’s largest bank, publicly traded investment.

“This is a great loss,” said Michele Quintano, an economics and management professor at the University of Naples Parthenope. “Giovanni is going to be able to take over the management of the company, but a replacement, possibly internal, you should find, said Quintana.

His wife and three children, the newspaper La Repubblica said survives Peter.

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