Asia sales power Dyson’s profits up 41%
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Sales of sophisticated vacuum cleaners, air purifiers and hairdryers to Asia’s burgeoning middle classes powered Dyson to a 41 per cent rise in core profits last year.
The UK engineering cum technology company at least tripled its revenue in each of China, Indonesia and the Philippines in 2016, and the Asia-Pacific region accounted for more than half of Dyson’s sales and profits.
The privately-owned company’s latest results will burnish its credentials as a British success story, built on the reputation of the bagless vacuum cleaner it launched almost 25 years ago.
It comes as Dyson is in the middle of an ambitious expansion drive, having committed £2.5bn of investment as it develops cutting-edge technologies such as robotics, battery cells, vision systems and artificial intelligence.
Sir James Dyson, the inventor and founder of the eponymous company, said the robust growth outlined in the results was down to new and better-performing products, such as the Supersonic hairdryer launched last year.
“What’s really making the difference is our electric motor technology,” Sir James told the Financial Times. “Ours go 110,000 revolutions per minute, which makes them smaller, more efficient and powerful. That’s driven our vacuum cleaner growth, as well as the new hairdryer.”
Dyson reported a record £631m of earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation for the year to December 31, up 41 per cent compared to 2015. It did not disclose pre-tax profits, but revenue rose 45 per cent to £2.5bn.
Although sterling’s depreciation following the UK’s vote to leave the EU last year boosted Dyson’s revenue, most of the increase in turnover came through increased product sales.
The expanding product range includes hand-dryers, humidifiers, lighting and robotic floor cleaners.
Just half of Dyson’s business is now generated by sales of vacuum cleaners, most of which are cord-free machines powered by batteries.
Tapping demand for upmarket consumer devices in developing countries is high on the company’s agenda.
Although the US is Dyson’s single largest market, Sir James said China was probably now fourth on the list, while India is the company’s “number one target”.
“[India] is not an easy market, but we hope to be able to start there this year . . . long-term we will be making things there as well,” he added.
Although it moved its manufacturing operations to Malaysia more than a decade ago, Dyson has kept its British base for research and development.
This month Dyson announced it would open a second R&D centre in the UK on a disused airfield in the southern England county of Wiltshire, near to the company’s headquarters.
The decision was seen as a vote of confidence in Britain’s prospects following the Brexit referendum last June. Sir James has been a vocal proponent of Brexit.
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