EPL Prediction Competition 2018-2019 Kata Rocks
Login | Create Account Poll Currency Weather Facebook Youtube Search

Ikea’s frugal billionaire founder Ingvar Kamprad dies aged 91

SWEDEN: Ingvar Kamprad, the farmer’s son turned multi-billionaire who founded the Ikea empire that revolutionised furnishing, has died aged 91, the firm said yesterday (Jan 28).

deathhealth
By AFP

Monday 29 January 2018, 09:47AM


Kamprad, born to a farming family, was 17 years old when he founded IKEA. Photo: Fabrice Coffrini / AFP

Kamprad, born to a farming family, was 17 years old when he founded IKEA. Photo: Fabrice Coffrini / AFP

Kamprad “passed away peacefully surrounded by his loved ones” at his home in the southern Swedish region of Smaland on Saturday (Jan 27) “following a brief illness”, Ikea said in a statement.

He leaves behind a legacy of affordable interior design for households around the world, through Ikea’s flat-pack furniture which customers can assemble themselves.

Kamprad’s close friend Bertil Torekull told the Swedish daily Aftonbladet that the industrialist died from pneumonia which he contracted after a visit abroad, aggravated by “the frailty of old age”.

Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven said Kamprad “made home furnishing available for many people, not just the few” while King Carl XVI Gustaf added he was a “true entrepeneur” who “brought Sweden out to the world”.

Born in 1926 to a farming family in Smaland, Kamprad, whose fortune in 2017 was estimated at 37.3 billion euros (B1.443 trillion) according to the Swiss economic magazine Bilan, founded the company at the age of 17.

“He came from nowhere, but with help from his inner force, his ability and his will, he created something I think everyone is proud of when seeing Ikea out in the world,” Swedish banker and industrialist Jacob Wallenberg told financial daily Dagens Industri

But Kamprad’s success has been marked by controversy.

In 1973 he fled Sweden’s higher tax structure for Denmark before seeking even lower taxes in Switzerland.

Kamprad announced in 2013 that he would be stepping down from the board of Inter Ikea, owner of the furniture giant’s concept and brand, and his youngest son became chairman. The Ikea founder returned to Sweden the following year.

The European Commission announced last year that it had launched an investigation into the ways Ikea allegedly used a Dutch subsidiary to slash its tax bill on revenue from megastores around the world.

A report by the Green party in European Parliament last year said Ikea avoided one billion euros (B37.668bn) in EU taxes between 2009 to 2014.

And the Consortium of Investigative Journalists in 2014 cited leaked tax files from Luxembourg when it identified Ikea as one of the giant multinationals fingered for corporate tax avoidance by shuffling money to tax havens.

The group insists that it complies fully with national and international tax regulations.

Kamprad’s legacy of creating affordable furniture has earned him admiration among consumers around the world.

Thailand Property Awards

“He has paved the way for everyone to have nice furniture, not just the rich,” Krister Mollander, a 70-year-old consumer, said.

Kamprad faced harsh criticism in the past for his ties to the Nazi youth movement during World War II.

Sweden was neutral in World War II, and its Nazi party remained active after 1945.

But Kamprad said he stopped attending its meetings in 1948, later attributing the period to the “folly of youth”, calling it “the greatest mistake of my life”.

The story of Ikea – acronym for Ingvar Kamprad, Elmtaryd and Agunnaryd (the name of his farm and town of origin) – began in 1943.

Backed with modest financial support from his father, Kamprad began selling pens, picture frames, typewriters and other goods, delivering orders on his bicycle. His early success arose from squeezing his prices to undercut more established competitors.

In 1947 the young Kamprad started selling furniture made by local artisans, and four years later he began putting out the first of his mail order catalogues – which now have an annual print run of 200 million copies in 33 languages.

Ikea’s revolutionary self-assembly model – which would cut transport and storage costs – was conceived in 1956 after an employee suggested table legs be removed so the package would fit into a car.

Two years later Kamprad opened Ikea’s first store in Almhult, south of his hometown.

From 1970, Ikea conquered major markets in Europe, North America, Asia and the Middle East, thriving on the spending power of the emerging middle class in countries like post-Cold War Russia.

The Ikea group now has 403 stores across every continent, employs 190,000 people worldwide and generates annual sales of 38bn euros (B1.475trn).

But Kamprad lived modestly, buying his clothes at thrift shops, driving an ageing Volvo, and bringing a lunch box to work.

“I don’t think I’m wearing anything that wasn’t bought at a flea market. It means that I want to set a good example,” he told Swedish channel TV4 in 2016.

In 2013, he was forced to hand over billions of dollars to his sons following a bitter family feud over intellectual property income that he kept for himself, according to a book on Ikea.

 

 

Comment on this story

* Please login to comment. If you do not have an account please register below by simply entering a username, password and email address. You can still leave your comment below at the same time.

Comments Here:
Comments Left:
# Characters
Username:
Password:
E-mail:
Security:

Be the first to comment.

Have a news tip-off? Click here

 

Phuket community
Phuket law office raided over nominee land deals for foreigners

I can well believe thousands of foreigners own land and property by this method because authorities ...(Read More)


Disaster officials on alert amid heavy rain warning

Disaster prevention? As long small boats ( tourist speed boats) only are 'adviced' not to s...(Read More)


Mothers will ‘never forgive’ Phuket bar owner for murders

When you befriended with the most influential people of Patong ( who even have high officials in the...(Read More)


Phuket Town ‘unofficial parking crew’ cleared by police to collect ‘tips’

Wow, a job you don't need a license, or register yourself for it? Sure there is a law or 2 missi...(Read More)


Phuket Town ‘unofficial parking crew’ cleared by police to collect ‘tips’

These idiots are quite obviously pretending to be council authorized parking officials, one moron ev...(Read More)


On Phuket, hotel guests check out of plastic waste

No Wonder: partly lack of environmental education ignorance disrespect of Mother Nature, not enough ...(Read More)


‘Thank you’ party on Sept 6 for Wild Boars’ saviours

Hope PM and X also celebrate the survivors after the biggest boat accident in Thailand's history...(Read More)


Wildlife officials arrest slow loris tout off Phuket

Of course this piece of ... will be back doing this in no time, just as he has many times before. H...(Read More)