Kamprad pledges Ikea 'transparency'
Published: 18 May 2011 13:25 GMT+02:00
Updated: 18 May 2011 13:25 GMT+02:00
Ingvar Kamprad, the founder of Swedish furnishings giant Ikea, has promised more transparency over the firm's business affairs, saying that it has nothing to hide after a slew of allegations in recent years.
"We have nothing to hide. There is no pretension to hide anything. We are going to go through everything and show that we follow each country's laws and regulations," Ingvar Kamprad, the 85-year-old billionaire who founded Ikea in
1943, told the Expressen daily.
"We will make ourselves more transparent," he said.
Kamprad's comments came a few months after a documentary aired on Swedish
public television, SVT, alleged the secretive foundation that controls the company was set up to avoid taxes.
Expressen reported that the Kamprad family decided Monday at a meeting where the allegations against Ikea were discussed to vow complete transparency.
Kamprad pointed out however that there was a lot of "cleaning up" to take care of, "so I'm not sure when we will be done. Maybe at the end of the year or at the beginning of next year."
Shortly before the SVT documentary aired in January, Kamprad, who had long claimed he no longer controlled the furniture giant, admitted he still held the reins through the previously secret Intergo Foundation.
The flat-pack furniture empire famous for its big blue box warehouses has also been tangled in a bribery scandal in Russia which forced the firing of two top executives at the start of 2010.
Ikea is an unlisted, family-owned company that traditionally does not release regular earnings reports, but has in recent years published occasional figures showing earnings and sales.
In such a report in January this year, it posted a significant hike in net profit in 2010 as sales rose, especially in China, Russia and Portugal.
The group, which at the end of last year counted 127,000 employees, said Europe accounted for 79 percent of sales, with North America making up 15 percent and the Asia-Australia region the rest.
Kamprad, who started Ikea as a teenager, has lived in Switzerland since 1976 to avoid Sweden's steep wealth taxes.