Profits doubled as Dyson empire grows
Inventor Sir James Dyson's technology empire more than doubled earnings last year after strong demand for its bagless vacuum cleaners and new launches, its latest figures have revealed.
The group reported operating profits of £190 million in 2009, up from £90 million in 2008 on sales 23% higher.
Dyson, which became a household name after launching the bagless vacuum cleaner, said sales had increased further in the first three months of 2010 thanks to the launch of new handheld vacuums.
It also unveiled the new Dyson Air Multiplier desk fan in the UK, US and Europe earlier this month after a successful launch in Australia.
The group spent £42 million on research and development last year and recently announced aims to double the size of its UK engineering team from 350 to 700 under plans to significantly increase its R&D outlay in 2010.
Dyson exports its products to 49 countries, with the US by far its biggest market.
But it said the UK had seen a good year in 2009 despite a difficult recession in its home market, with earnings growing thanks to strong demand for products such as the Dyson Ball upright vacuum and the Airblade hand dryer.
The group also has high hopes for its new desk fan, which uses an air "ramp" instead of blades, after stealing a 64% share of the market since launch in Australia.
Martin McCourt, chief executive of Dyson, said the group had an "unbelievable bank of ideas" for further new products and designs - many of which are outside its traditional vacuum cleaner market.
The firm claims to have filed the second highest number of UK patent applications after Rolls-Royce, having quadrupled its research and development spending since 2005.
Mr McCourt said: "We're 10 times bigger than we were in 2000. We're doubling our engineers so we can continue to grow and invent new machines."
He added: "It demonstrates that Britain can compete in high-tech exports if it invests in long-term research and development."
Dyson employs 2,500 people worldwide and is upping its UK workforce to 1,600.
It has laboratories in Wiltshire specialising in microbiology, as well as fluid, electrical, thermal, acoustic and software engineering.