Ingvar Kamprad Extends Affluence

Whether by accident or design, there was a beautiful balance in Monday's tabloid headlines. While Aftonbladet proclaimed that Ingvar Kamprad, the founder of IKEA, has overtaken Bill Gates as the world's richest man, Expressen screamed out: "Sandra, 22, seriously burned by IKEA candle".

The store, however, says that Sandra “used the candle wrongly”. Her mistake, it seems, was to blow the ‘Glimma’ tea light out. This led to a build up of gas which exploded, “burning her face and shoulder so badly that she had to go to hospital”.

But IKEA were unrepentant. “You really need to know how to use these candles,” said an information officer. “They should be snuffed out very carefully.”

The consumer complaints board poured cold water on such nonsense, however, and awarded Sandra over SEK6,000 in compensation.

While that amount won’t make much of a dent in Ingvar Kamprad’s pocket, he won’t be too happy about it. The businessman, who, according to Veckans Affärer, is now worth SEK400 billion ($53 billion), is famously frugal. He always travels economy class and apparently waits until the afternoon to buy fruit and vegetables at his local market – because that’s when the traders drop their prices.

The figure is based on the assumption that Kamprad is still the sole owner of the store, but IKEA deny this. A release from their information office – who were working overtime this week – tersely explained that this was a common error.

“The company is owned by a charitable trust in Holland, and Ingvar Kamprad does not own this trust. Therefore he is not worth what the company is worth.”

Whether that’s true or not, Aftonbladet won’t let pass an opportunity to tell readers what they could get for SEK400 billion: “501 million Billy bookshelves or 32,000 ‘Göran Persson’ farms.”