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Staying private key to Ikea's success: Kamprad

Staying private key to Ikea's success: Kamprad

Published: 04 Dec 2012 07:12 GMT+01:00
Updated: 04 Dec 2012 07:12 GMT+01:00

Ikea founder Ingvar Kamprad is determined to keep the Swedish furniture giant off the stock exchange, he told AFP ahead of the inauguration Monday of a fellowship in honour of his late wife.

Kamprad, 86, told AFP in an email he had "always believed that keeping (Ikea) in private hands would give ... more flexibility to develop successfully, allowing a longer-term perspective on business development."

Kamprad's comments came ahead of the opening Monday of the Margaretha Kamprad Chair of Environmental Science and Limnology at the EPFL technology institute in Lausanne.

Kamprad, who founded the unlisted, family-owned company in 1943, no longer gives interviews and did not speak at the event, but did answer a few questions electronically.

"Staying private has been one of the key reasons for Ikea's tremendous success," he insisted.

The world's largest furniture retailer said last August that its trademark was worth €9.0 billion ($11.8 billion).

The company, which only releases annual earnings reports, posted a 10.3-percent hike in net profit in 2011 to nearly €3.0 billion on global sales of nearly €25 billion.

Kamprad, who lives in Lausanne, was himself listed last week by magazine Bilan as the richest man in Switzerland, with a net worth of up to 39 billion Swiss francs ($42 billion).

Per Heggenes, the head of the Stiching Ikea Foundation charity behind the fellowship inaugurated on Monday, told AFP the magazine had mistakenly attributed to Kamprad the value of Ikea, which has a complex ownership structure through several foundations.

"Mr Kamprad does not own Ikea and is not the richest person in Switzerland," he said, also insisting that the Ikea founder's reputation for frugality was no mere image stunt.

Kamprad, who is known to drive around in an old Volvo when in Sweden, fly economy class and even ride free Ikea buses when visiting his stores, "is personally not very interested in material goods," he said.

"He lives a frugal life because that is his nature. He also believes that frugality, or constant cost consciousness, is another key value that has contributed greatly to Ikea's business success," he added.

AFP/The Local

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Your comments about this article

08:45 December 4, 2012 by Orwell1979
So, is it Mr. Kamprad's nature to pay taxes in Switzerland or in Sweden?
09:54 December 4, 2012 by jack sprat
Not at all.

Kamprad pay tax ?

You must be joking.

Last I heard his favourite hidey hole was the Dutch Antilles.

There's a vicious rumour going around that he will be donating his billion dollar fortune to the rise of the Fourth Reich, which wouldn't greatly surprise me, though I think they're probably doing quite nicely without him at present.
00:55 December 5, 2012 by jmclewis
I thought the success was do to slave labor and corporate tax avoidance.
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