Kamprad no longer Europe’s top tycoon: list

Ikea founder and Swiss resident Ingvar Kamprad was dislodged from his title of wealthiest person in Europe in a top 100 list published on Wednesday by business magazine Bilan that includes seven Swiss citizens or families.

Kamprad no longer Europe’s top tycoon: list
Ingvar Kamprad. Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP

Kamprad, 87, who has announced that he plans to leave Switzerland to return to his native country Sweden later this year, is now ranked second in the list of tycoons, behind Amancio Ortega Gaona, Spanish founder of Zara, the textile giant.

Gaona’s fortune is estimated at 49.1 billion francs ($51.6 million), while Bilan calculates Kamprad’s assets at 44.6 billion francs.

The pair are ranked ahead of French tycoon Bernard Arnault, major shareholder in LVMH Möet Hennessy (29.8 billion francs) and Liliane Bettencourt, daughter of the founder of L’Oréal (28.5 billion francs).

Kamprad’s departure from his home near Lausanne at the end of the year will leave the Hoffmann and Oeri family, founders of the Roche pharmaceutical and chemical company, as the wealthiest Swiss on the list, ranking 15th Europe-wide, according to Bilan.

Other Swiss on the list include pharmaceutical company heir Ernesto Bertarelli (ranked 32nd with a fortune of 12.9 billion francs) and medical device entrepreneur Hansjörg Wyss (43rd, 11.6 billion francs).

More than a quarter (26) of Bilan’s list of Europe’s richest people live in Switzerland, including such luminaries as Jorge Paul Lemann, the Swiss-Brazilian brewery and food magnate, with estimated capital of 18.8 billion francs (ranked 12th in Europe).

The Indian Hindujah family, with bases in London and Geneva, is also ranked on the list, with a fortune estimated at 15.5 billion francs.

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Danish Ikea store shelters staff and customers overnight during snowstorm

Heavy snowfall left 31 people looking for a spare cushion at the Aalborg branch of Ikea on Wednesday as they were forced to spend the night at the store.

A file photo at Ikea in Aalborg, where 31 people stayed overnight during a snowstorm on December 1st 2021.
A file photo at Ikea in Aalborg, where 31 people stayed overnight during a snowstorm on December 1st 2021. Photo: Henning Bagger/Ritzau Scanpix

Anyone who has found themselves wandering the mazy aisles of an Ikea might be able to empathise with the sense of being lost in the furniture store for a seemingly indefinite time.

Such a feeling was probably more real than usual for six customers and 25 staff members who were forced to spend the night at the furniture giant’s Aalborg branch after being snowed in.

Heavy snow in North Jutland brought traffic to a standstill and halted public transport in parts of the region on Wednesday afternoon, resulting in a snow-in at Ikea.

“This is certainly a new situation for us,” Ikea Aalborg store manager Peter Elmose told local media Nordjyske, which first reported the story.

“It’s certainly not how I thought my day would end when I drove to work this morning,” Elmose added.

The 31 people gathered in the store’s restaurant area and planned to see Christmas television and football to pass the evening, the store’s manager reported to Nordjyske.

“Our kitchen staff have made sure there is hot chocolate, risalamande, pastries, soft drinks, coffee and the odd beer for us in light of the occasion. So we’ll be able to keep warm,” he said.

“We couldn’t just send them outside and lock the door behind them at our 8pm closing time. Absolutely not. So of course they’ll be staying here,” he added.

The temporary guests were given lodging in different departments of the store in view of the Covid-19 situation, Nordjyske writes.

“For us , the most important thing was to take care of each other and that everyone feels safe,” Elmose said.

At least Ikea’s stranded customers and staff had somewhere comfortable to lay their heads.

The same can unlikely be said for around 300 passengers at the city’s airport who had to stay overnight at the terminal.

The airport was forced to stop flights from 2:30pm yesterday amid worsening weather, which also prevented buses from transferring passengers to hotels.

“We have around 300 people in the terminal right now and have been giving out blankets on the assumption they will be staying here tonight,” Aalborg Airport operations manager Kim Bermann told Nordjyske.

READ ALSO: Ikea reopens in Denmark after country’s worst retail month this century