Hej from Lars Thorsén, CEO of Ikano Group

We’re putting yet another challenging year behind us, with current world events impacting our businesses and co-workers to varying degrees. The situation will most likely continue to be difficult for some time, but we are feeling cautiously optimistic by the declining inflation and interest rates, and we remain confident that by continuing our work together, we can do amazing things.

I’m proud to see how our businesses have managed. And I’m especially proud to see how our co-workers remain guided by our culture and values every day at work, in times when this is more important than ever.

We have continued our ambitious sustainability journey, and last year we launched our first Sustainability award. We saw great efforts all across the businesses, and this time the winner was Ikano Retail, recognised for the collaboration between IKEA Mexico and a local enterprise, which created work for 21 local artisans at three times their normal salary.

The great developments within sustainability give me a lot of hope for the future, and I’m sure we’re on the right path. A great support for all the businesses is the Ikano Insight ESG Optimiser, an end-to-end ESG data and reporting solution. Ikano Insight is now in the process of implementing detailed ESG data for all the Ikano businesses and in that process preparing for the upcoming CSRD reporting requirements, for Group and businesses.

Ikano Bank continued to give access to finance for the many people in a responsible way, while maintaining a balanced risk in a rapidly changing world. Ikano Bank also continued to deliver on their multiannual plan where they strengthened the commercial relevance, increased volumes and streamlined operations. The continued digital transformation means that Ikano Bank is becoming increasingly competitive and more customer oriented.

Despite difficult times with continued negative impact on people’s wallets, Ikano Retail had several reasons to be celebrate. This year marked the 45th anniversary of our IKEA in Singapore, and it also saw the grand opening of IKEA Sukhumvit in Bangkok. This is the 14th IKEA store owned and operated by Ikano Retail, and it’s ready to serve many of the millions of Thais living in downtown Bangkok.

Increasing interest rates and low demand for new housing led to another tough year for Ikano Bostad. This resulted in necessary downsizing, having to say goodbye to friends and colleagues who had been with the company for a long time and who were very competent and appreciated. This is never something that you want to do, but in the current situation it was necessary. Now we have an organisation fit for the future, ready for when the economy turns.

Ikano Industry underwent a lean transformation that significantly contributed to cost reduction and increased efficiency. Our two impressive factories in Poland increased volume output and Ikano Industry continued to build up a strong organisation in Mexico, anchored in the Ikano culture and values. The focus now is to build a solid, local supply chain, critical to successfully ramp-up the product of upholstery and mattresses for IKEA.

Ikano Re and Ikano Insurance Advisory delivered another strong financial result in 2023. From a claims perspective, 2023 was a very good year with lower than average claims and with no major losses during the year.

For some time, I have been reflecting on our abilities to weather the storms, make necessary adjustments and look forward to better times. I’m impressed by the talent and energy shown by colleagues, but I’m also humbled by the smart decisions Ingvar and the family made when they founded Ikano in 1988. By ensuring a diversified business model and spreading investments into different industries from the start, they reduced risk for the Group. If one of our businesses faces adversity, success in other businesses will reduce the impact. Over and over again we have seen the benefit of the Ikano business model. I’m excited about the prospects of the coming years.

Thank you for your commitment and great efforts in 2023.

Kind regards,