The coffin containing the remains of a billionaire and industrialist has been stolen from a cemetery, according to police.

Friedrich Karl Flick's remains have gone missing from a cemetery in Velden, a town in the southern province of Carinthia, said police spokesman Gottlieb Tuerk. The coffin was stowed under heavy slabs of granite and the thieves must have used professional equipment, he said. An investigation is under way.

Flick, who owned Austria's largest private forest holding and had been at the helm of a German industrial empire, died in October 2006 at the age of 79. Earlier that year, Forbes magazine put him among the 100 richest people in the world.