Shelf kit and meatball: five things to know about Kamprad and Ikea

The logo of Ikea, photographed in Montpellier on march 27, 2013 (Photo PASCAL GUYOT. AFP)

Ingvar Kamprad, founder of the giant furniture Ikea, has died at the age of 91 years. Here are five things to know about this Swedish entrepreneur and his empire of furniture in kit and the meatball.


Ikea, as the group writes in capital letters, is an acronym without doubt one of the most famous of the globalized economy: “Ingvar Kamprad Elmtaryd Agunnaryd”. Elmtaryd is the name of the parent farm Kamprad in Småland, a province in southern Sweden whose inhabitants have the reputation to be as efficient as taskmaster. Agunnaryd is the name of his native village. The brand value has tripled since 2000 and is worth close to $ 20 billion, according to the classification of 2017 to the cabinet Interbrand dominated by Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), pointing in the 25th position, two lengths of the Swedish giant ready-to-wear H&M.


If he has earned his first billion in Sweden, where the wood is to those who came from the camapgne what the formica is for the new city-dwellers French, Kamprad balks at paying the tax. In 1973, he left Sweden for Denmark and then Switzerland. He did not return to her homelands in 2014 to pay a tax symbolic of the six million kroner (600.000 euros at current prices). The essential part of its heritage is elsewhere, as he has created many foundations and holding companies to complex links. Ikea, a company under Dutch law, is it in the viewfinder of the european Commission, which opened an investigation in December to determine if the group has benefited from undue tax advantages of the netherlands. “The taxes we pay are an important element of our commitment to economic and social,” says Ikea in its activity report for 2017. The group claims to have paid last year € 1.3 billion of income taxes at the global level.


Broadcast for the first time in 1951, the Ikea catalogue is distributed today to 250 million copies, more than the Bible it is said, in thirty languages in over fifty markets. The edition 2018 is sent to three million households in sweden, about 10 million inhabitants. In 2012, the brand had to make amends after you have erased women from its catalogue in saudi Arabia, a blunder that shocked Sweden, a country enamored of equality between the sexes.


The famous concept of the piece of furniture collapsible to an employee of the company who, in the mid-1950s, ventured to take the feet off of a table to get in a car without scratching. According to the same principle, the shelves Billy, superstars of the catalog, are delivered in a flat board, mounting template and hardware included. Designed by Gillis Lundgren and marketed as early as 1979, Billy has sold tens of millions of units and still dripping at the rate of one every ten seconds. “I made the first sketches of Billy on a towel. It has, unfortunately, been lost”, told Gillis Lundgren in 2009 for an anniversary brochure. “Ingvar spoke, and I drew”.


In 2017, the activity restoration of the Ikea restaurants, bistros, grocery stores, etc.) generated 1.8 billion euros of turnover. Traditional dish of Swedish meatballs (“köttbullar in Swedish), with their vegetarian option, are a universal reference of the brand’s attempts, however, to diversify its offer locally. In 2015, the group has dissected the habits and desires of 11,000 people in Shanghai, New York, Berlin or London. Ikea also serves 100 million cups of coffee each year.

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