Billionaire Sir James Dyson’s fortune has received another huge cash injection with the results for the parent company of his business empire revealing a £111m dividend payout.
Annual accounts for Weybourne Group show it paid £60m in ordinary dividends and £55m in preference dividends in the year to the end of December.
Weybourne refuses to say how much of the business Sir James owns, saying only that he is “the majority shareholder”, with his family understood to hold almost all the remainder of the business which was founded on Sir James’s 1978 idea for a vacuum cleaner which did not require a bag.
While huge, the dividend payout will hardly register in the fortune of Sir James and the Dyson family, who are estimated to be worth £7.8bn, with Sir James’s personal fortune thought to be about £5bn.
The highest paid director at Weybourne received £4.2m during the year, but the company again refused to say if this was Sir James.
The success of Sir James’s inventions and the company he founded on them has allowed him to purchase Britain’s largest private yacht – the 250ft Nahlin – as well as become one of the country’s largest landowners. His portfolio of more than 25,000 acres is bigger than the Queen’s 20,000 acre Sandringham estate.
The results filed at Companies House show a £773m leap in group revenues to £2.53bn in the year and pre-tax profits surging to £472.5m from £305.1m.
A spokesman for the company said rising demand for Dyson’s battery powered cleaners and the recently introduced hairdryer were behind the stronger performance, with “astonishing” growth in demand in Asia and the US.
The strong performance came despite investment in R&D rising by £38m to £180m in the year. Sir James’s business is a leading investor in development of robotics and artificial intelligence, as well as battery technology. It has long been rumoured that his company is involved in developing technology for electric cars, but the billionaire has so far refused to be drawn on this.
Dyson has recently expanded its technology campus at its Wiltshire base, and last week launched its own university at the site, which Sir James hopes will encourage more people to go into the technology and engineering sectors – something the leading Brexit supporter says is crucial to the UK’s economy.
The accounts show that at the end of the year, the company had 8,721 staff worldwide, up from 6,435 the year before.
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