Billionaire Dyson Shrugs Off Ill-Fated EV Foray With Profit Rise
(Bloomberg) -- James Dyson’s technology firm reported a 17% jump in profit in 2019, a year when the home appliance maker decided to move its headquarters to Singapore from the U.K. and abandoned efforts to develop an electric car.
Dyson Holdings Pte., best known for its vacuum cleaners and hand dryers, made a net income of 711 million pounds ($952 million) last year, it said in filings in Singapore. That was after taking a 198 million-pound hit from discontinued operations, including its automobile project. Revenue rose 23% to hit 5.4 billion pounds.
The results show the underlying business of relatively low-tech household machines is still going strong as Dyson -- an outspoken Brexit supporter who is worth about $22 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index -- pivots the company’s operations from the U.K. to Asia.
His firm was planning to spend around 2 billion pounds on the electric car and collected 400 engineers to work on the secretive project at an abandoned British Air Force base, only to disband it altogether in October last year.
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It has since switched its focus to machine learning, robotics and other technologies, and is developing a new global headquarters at an old power station in Singapore. The company is opening a new manufacturing hub and starting a university program targeted at product development.
Dyson’s firm has also designed plans for an air purifier that could double as a pair of headphones, at a time when face masks have become must-have accessories to fight the spread of a deadly virus across Asia. The company previously said it intends to hire more than 2,000 people in Southeast Asia over the coming years but said in July it will cut 900 of its 14,000 jobs globally due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Dyson Holdings said its results for 2018, when Dyson became the wealthiest person in Britain, were restated to reflect a change from U.K. to Singapore’s accounting policy.
Dyson, 73, still has extensive holdings in the U.K., with his agricultural firm overseeing 637 acres of woodland and about 150 homes. He also owns a country estate whose origins trace back more than four centuries and a 91-meter yacht, the Nahlin, that was built last century for a British heiress.
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