IKEA founder Ingvar Kamprad dies

Ikea founder

Ikea quickly became part of the furniture in the United Kingdom after it opened its first store here in 1987.

"(He) was a great entrepreneur of the typical southern Swedish kind - hardworking and stubborn, with a lot of warmth and a playful twinkle in his eye.

While Kamprad's move to Switzerland and Nazi connections riled many Swedes, he remained widely beloved in his home country, where in 2010 the Malmo City Theatre premiered a show entitled, "Ingvar!".

Despite his success and wealth, which Bloomberg estimated at US$58.7 billion (S$76.7 billion), Mr Kamprad's modest spending habits bordered on the obsessive. But in 2011 he was believed to have $6 billion.

But it is hard to separate what belongs to him, what belongs to his children and what is held in a family foundation in one of Europe's most infamous tax havens, Liechtenstein.

A report by the Green party in European Parliament a year ago said Ikea avoided one billion euros ($1.2 billion) in EU taxes between 2009 to 2014.

He was known for his thrifty ways.

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Kamprad sent a note to Ikea's 25,000 employees in 1994, the Jewish News of Northern California reported, saying his fascist activities were "a part of my life which I bitterly regret" and he had cut off contact with Engdahl in the 1950s.

The Swede was just 17 when he put his pocket money towards starting the company on his parents' farm in 1943.

Despite this, he lived a life of penny pinching: Kamprad recycled his tea bags, flew economy, drove an old Volvo, stayed at cheap hotels, shopped for bargains and took the little salt and pepper packets home from restaurants.

The business magnate was born in Pjatteryd in Smaland province, southern Sweden. In the 1960's, Kamprad expanded his business to Stockholm, Norway and Denmark.

In 1947 the young Kamprad started selling furniture made by local artisans, and four years later he began putting out the first of his mail order catalogues - which now have an annual print run of 200 million copies in 33 languages. By 1985, Kamprad established his first American store in Philadelphia.

After deciding to focus on the home furniture business, Kamprad built the company into a global juggernaut that kept to his philosophy of keeping prices low by requiring customers to assemble the easily constructed pieces on their own. "In the markets where we are now, I believe I've achieved that goal".

Who was Ingvar Kamprad?

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