Dyson becomes richest Brit

LONDON • James Dyson, the inventor of the bagless vacuum cleaner, is now the wealthiest person in Britain after his company posted a record profit for 2018.

Earnings at Dyson Ltd reached £1.1 billion (RM5.8 billion) for the year, up from £801 million in 2017, boosted by demand for new hair products, the company said on Tuesday in a call with reporters. The results added about US$3.4 billion (RM14.08 billion) to his wealth, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, a ranking of the world’s 500 richest people.

Dyson, 71, is now worth US$13.8 billion. The firm’s press office didn’t respond to requests for comment on the fortune of its founder and chairman.

The gain catapults him ahead of Jim Ratcliffe, the founder of chemicals manufacturer Ineos Group, and highlights the waning power of inheritances among the wealthiest Britons. The family of Hugh Grosvenor, the seventh Duke of Westminster, had been the UK’s richest thanks to land they’ve owned since 1677 until he was overtaken by Ratcliffe last year. He’s now the third-richest with a fortune of US$12.4 billion.

Dyson, one of Britain’s biggest technology companies, has benefitted from a growing customer base in Asia, where it now gets more than 50% of its profit. In November, Alibaba Group Holding Ltd said some of its top-selling products during its annual Singles’ Day event came from Dyson.

Dyson’s rise in the wealth ranking comes as his company loosens its ties to the UK. The company plans to move its headquarters to Singapore from Wiltshire, England, CEO Jim Rowan said in the call with reporters. — Bloomberg