Hej from Lars, CEO of Ikano Group
Just as recovery from the pandemic was in sight, war broke out and we were faced with new uncertainties such as high inflation, surging energy prices, rising interests and a looming recession – all which impact our Ikano businesses. In times like this, it becomes all the more clear that our values and promise are the backbone of who we are and continue to guide us through the challenges we face. And despite these difficult developments, we still manage to deliver strong results.
I’m incredibly proud of how our businesses came together in times of crisis to support many important causes. One such example is how we were able to support Ukrainian refugee centres in Poland with 30,000 mattresses in record time.
We also made important progress towards integrating sustainability in the decision-making process at all levels of our businesses. And together with Ikano Insight, we have for the first time calculated Ikano Group’s total footprint using the Greenhouse Gas Protocol. Being more data-driven is fundamental to effectively reduce our emissions in line with the Paris Agreement.
In February 2022, four days after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, all new lending activities in Russia were ceased. Following a strategic review of Ikano Bank LLC in Russia, it was established that the business model would not be sustainable in the long-term, and we decided to sell all shares to CEB Russia who became 100% owner.
Ikano Bank continued to accelerate its digital transformation and delivered new digital bank solutions, achieving recognition for Best Credit Product in the UK, awarded the Fairness Award in Germany, and first place in the Swedish Quality Index (SKI) for best private loan in Sweden.
Ikano Retail achieved growth on all its markets despite instability linked to high inflation, Covid-impacted lower purchasing power, poor availability, and increased buy-in prices, among others. A strong foundation is now in place to deliver our 14th IKEA store, IKEA Sukhumvit, in Bangkok, Thailand by December 2023 and another store in Guadalajara, Mexico by early 2024.
Facing the worst real estate market conditions in many years with high construction costs, Ikano Bostad still managed an impressive performance in 2022. Nevertheless, in order to adapt to current realities and become leaner and more efficient, the company took the difficult decision in early 2023 to downsize the organisation and say goodbye to 59 colleagues.
Ikano Re and Insurances Advisory had a good year and delivered a strong operating result far ahead of budget. This despite the challenges the war in Ukraine brought on the insurance industry as well as having to pay out their largest IKEA-related claim since 1984 after a fire at an IKEA Industry factory in Slovakia.
With an amazing effort by all Ikano Industry colleagues in Poland and Mexico, the teams managed to limit the impact of unstable demand. Our two factories in Poland decreased production volumes due to the overstock situation at IKEA stores worldwide. The new factory in Saltillo, Mexico, faced similar issues but also kept busy ramping up a completely new upholstery line production.
Throughout the year, we continued to develop the cooperation with IKEA organisations, and more specifically in our three joint ventures with Ingka Group, Ikano Re, Ikano Bank, and RetourMatras.
On a personal note, it was a privilege to be able to visit and reconnect with our colleagues across the Group after two years of Covid lockdowns. I was humbled by the strong efforts and can-do attitude I met everywhere.