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BACKGROUND MALM beds and meatballs: A look at Ikea's roots in Sweden and beyond

By our dpa-correspondent and Europe Online    auf Facebook posten  Auf Twitter posten  
Stockolm (dpa) - Flat-pack furniture giant Ikea is a household name in Europe and around the world. But despite the Swedish product names and the tiny Swedish flags on toothpicks that pierce the meatballs in its cafeterias, the company‘s Scandinavian roots are more complex than meets the eye.

Ingvar Kamprad founded Ikea in Sweden in 1943. At the age of 17, Kamprad registered the company with an acronym he created from his own initials and the initials of his family farm Elmtaryd and the nearest village Agunnaryd.

In 1958, the firm opened its first department store in Almhult, in southern Sweden. Fifteen years later, Switzerland became the first country outside Scandinavia to get an Ikea store in 1973.

Kamprad, now 91, stepped down as chief executive in 1986 but continued to advise the Ikea board for many years. Before his departure, Kamprad set up foundations and holding groups in the 1980s with the aim of keeping the company independent and avoiding a public offering.

The resulting structure of the Ikea franchise is almost as complex as the instructions for assembling some of its furniture.  

In 1983, Inter Ikea Systems BV was established in the Netherlands. It owns the Ikea Concept that includes the product range and Ikea trademarks, and is the worldwide Ikea franchisor.

In 1989, the Interogo Foundation was established in Liechtenstein. It is the overall owner of Ikea and its groups. The aim of the foundation is to "own, govern and invest in Inter Ikea Group" and to secure the independence and the longevity of the group.

A Kamprad family member has a seat on the seven-strong foundation supervisory council.

In a bid to streamline its structures, Ikea in 2016 separated its investment business from other Ikea-related operations.

The holding company for the investment business, Interogo Holding AG, is based in Switzerland and owned by the Interogo Foundation.

Dutch-based Inter Ikea Holding BV is the holding company for three core businesses including franchising, operated by subsidiary Inter Ikea Systems BV that is also registered in the Netherlands. Each franchiser pays a fee for the use of the brand and Ikea products.

Franchising was seen as a way to expand Ikea‘s future business. Currently, 11 different groups own and operate Ikea stores - the largest is the Ikea Group.

Another business branch controlled by Inter Ikea Holding is Ikea Range & Supply that develops and supplies products for the home furnishing offer. It includes Ikea of Sweden AB.

A third is Ikea Industry Holding BV that produces wood-based furniture for Ikea‘s customers.


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