began to develop a business as a young boy, selling matches
to neighbors from his bicycle. He found that he could buy
matches in bulk very cheaply from Stockholm, sell them individually
at a low price and still make a good profit.
matches, he expanded to selling fish, Christmas tree decorations,
seeds and later ball-point pens and pencils.
Kamprad was 17, his father gave him a reward for succeeding
in his studies. He used this money to establish what has
grown into IKEA.
acronym IKEA is made up of the initials
of his name (Ingvar Kamprad) plus those
of Elmtaryd, the family farm where he was
born; and the nearby village Agunnaryd.
drives a 15 year old Volvo, flies only economy class, and
encourages IKEA employees to always write on both sides
of a paper. In addition Kamprad has been known to visit
IKEA for a cheap meal.
working with furniture manufacturers in Poland earlier in
his career, Kamprad became an alcoholic.
He has however stated that his drinking is now under control.
to Swedish business weekly Veckans Affärer, he is the
wealthiest person in the world. This report is
based on the assumption that Kamprad owns the entire company,
an approach that both IKEA and the Kamprad family reject.
Kamprad personally retains little ownership in the company,
having transferred his interest to Stichting INGKA Foundation
and INGKA Holding as part of a complex tax sheltering scheme
that leaves his actual degree of control vague.
Dutch-registered Stichting INGKA Foundation is named after
Kamprad, and owns INGKA Holding, the parent company for
all IKEA stores. The charitable foundation was reported
by the business newspaper The Economist in May 2006 to be
technically the world's wealthiest charity - with an estimated
value of at least US$36 billion in 2006 (larger than the
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation) - but its primary purpose
is, by some, believed to be corporate tax-avoidance and
anti-takeover protection for IKEA. Kamprad is chairman
of the foundation.