Sir James Dyson’s agricultural empire raked in £ 30million last year even as he warned revenues had been hit by “extreme weather”.
The Brexit-backed inventor is best known for his bagless vacuum cleaner which he spent five years developing in the early 1980s before it became a worldwide hit.
But he also owns a farming business producing wheat, peas, potatoes, corn and other foods on 35,000 acres in Lincolnshire, Oxfordshire, Gloucestershire and Somerset.
Accounts released last week, for the year ending December 31, 2020, show the company had a turnover of £ 30.2million, with pre-tax profit of £ 2.2million sterling. Profit was down slightly from a year earlier when it made £ 3.4million from sales of £ 28.3million. 2020 was one of the hottest and wettest years on record in the UK.
“Agriculture continues to be the company’s primary business activity, and its exposure to extreme weather conditions during the year reduced potential revenue and additional costs,” the company said.
“The crop is being developed to include higher value crops and potential opportunities being explored to sell direct to the consumer, thus increasing the margin. ”
The company also has two anaerobic digesters that transform waste and energy crops into enough electricity to power the equivalent of 10,000 homes.
One of them also heats up a 15-acre greenhouse where Dyson Farming grows British strawberries out of season.
“Energy sales are a valuable source of diversification and revenue from this source has reached a state of maturity in 2020,” he added. “The development of a greenhouse linked to the anaerobic digestion plant completed in 2020 will further diversify revenues in 2021.”
Brexit supporter Sir James abandoned plans to develop an electric car in 2019 after several years of development, saying it was not commercially viable.
In 2020, however, he seemed open to a return to the project, telling Autocar magazine: “We only enter the markets if we are convinced that we have a good idea.
“But if we thought we had the idea and the technology to make a difference, we would. Or definitely consider it. “I’m interested in transport: this is not the end of Dyson’s interest in mobility.