Head of Ferrero chocolate firm dies in South Africa (UPDATE)

Other News Materials 19 April 2011 00:55 (UTC +04:00)

Details added (first version posted at 22:37)

The head of the Italian confectionary group Ferrero, has been killed in an accident in South Africa, the company announced late Monday, dpa reported.

Pietro Ferrero, 48, was in South Africa on a business trip, according to the online version of Italy's La Stampa newspaper.

The exact circumstances of the incident were not initially clear, but Italian media reports suggested he was out cycling when he was run over and killed by a car.

A police spokesman in the Western Cape province, where the accident took place, however said Ferrero was involved in a cycling accident, but died of a heart attack.

He is thought to have been travelling in South Africa with his wife and three children.

Pietro, with his brother Giovanni, ran the confectionary firm, which also owned brands such as Nutella, and Kinder Surprise.

The Ferrero family are known as one of the most successful, and conservative, in Italian business.

Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini paid tribute to Ferrero as "an extremely talented entrepreneur, whose visionary strategy and deep sensibility distinguished Italy."

The Ferror confectionary firm started as a family bakery in Alba, Piedmont, in 1944, owned by the brothers' father, Michele.

The group now has a turnover of around 6.3 billion euros (8.9 billion dollars) a year.