Ikea founder Ingvar Kamprad dies at age of 91

Ikea founder Ingvar Kamprad dies at age of 91

Ikea founder Ingvar Kamprad dies at age of 91

Ingvar Kamprad, who founded Sweden's IKEA furniture brand and transformed it into a worldwide business empire, has died at the age of 91.

Billionaire businessman Ingvar Kamprad passed away aged 91 at his home in Sweden on Saturday.

Born on March 30, 1926, in southern Sweden, Kamprad started off selling matches to neighbours at the age of five and soon diversified his inventory to include seeds, Christmas tree decorations, pencils and ball-point pens.

The European Commission a year ago launched an investigation into ways IKEA allegedly used a Dutch subsidiary to avoid taxes, with the Green Party contending the company avoided $1.2 billion in European Union taxes between 2009 and 2014.

Since then, IKEA has grown into a global brand with 355 stores in 29 countries.

Mr Kamprad is reported to have come up with the idea of flat-pack furniture after watching an employee remove the legs from a table in order to fit it into a customer's vehicle.

"Now I have told all I can", he said at a book release ceremony at an IKEA store in suburban Stockholm.

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While he eventually returned to Sweden, Kamprad fled his homeland's high-tax structure for Denmark in 1973 and later moved to Switzerland in search of even lower taxes.

Kamprad got the name IKEA from his own initials, the first letters of his family farm and where the farm was located. She wrote that he was an active recruiter for a Swedish Nazi group, and stayed close to sympathisers well after World War Two. For his part, Kamprad called his affiliation with fascism the "greatest mistake of his life", and a spokesperson said "there are no Nazi-sympathising thoughts in Ingvar's head whatsoever". The first mail order catalogue was launched in 1951.

Ikea's revolutionary self-assembly model was conceived in 1956 after an employee suggested table legs be removed so the package would fit into a auto.

The food portion of Ikea's empire, which includes in-store restaurants and grocery stores, generated €1.8 billion in sales past year.

Kamprad was known for his frugality, buying his clothes at thrift shops, driving an aging Volvo and bringing his lunch to work. "If you look at me now, I don't think I'm wearing anything that wasn't bought at a flea market'".

In a 2016 interview with Swedish television channel TV4, he said that it was "in the nature of Smaland to be thrifty".

In 2013, he was forced to hand over billions of dollars to his sons following a bitter family feud over intellectual property income that he kept for himself, according to a book on Ikea.

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