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Author Topic: Dyson has announced that it is moving its headquarters to Singapore  (Read 7472 times)

Offline MVOlga

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Dyson has announced that it is moving its headquarters to Singapore from Malmesbury in Wiltshire.

The move by the appliance maker means two executives will relocate - chief financial officer Jorn Jensen and chief technical officer Martin Bowen.

Other work at Malmesbury will not be affected and no jobs will be lost.

Chief executive Jim Rowan said it was not to do with Brexit or tax but added: "It's to make us future-proof for where we see the biggest opportunities."

He added: "We have seen an acceleration of opportunities to grow the company from a revenue perspective in Asia. We have always had a revenue stream there and will be putting up our best efforts as well as keeping an eye on investments.

"We would describe ourselves as a global technology company and in fact we have been a global company for some time. Most successful companies these days are global."

British bases

Dyson already has a presence in Singapore and in October announced plans to build its new electric car in its new factory there.

Most of its products are designed in the UK, but manufactured in Asia.

The company was keen to stress that it will still be investing money in its British bases.

Mr Rowan said it would be spending £200m in new buildings and testing facilities in Hullavington, and £44m in refreshing office space and adding new laboratories in Malmesbury as well as investing £31m for the young undergraduates at its university on the same site.

"Malmesbury has been the epicentre for us and we will continue to invest all over the UK," he added.

"The tax difference is negligible for us," added Mr Rowan, who confirmed that the company would be registered in Singapore, rather than in the UK.

"We are taxed all over the world and we will continue to pay tax in the UK."


By Theo Leggett, BBC business correspondent

Dyson's Chief executive Jim Rowan said today he would describe the business as a global technology company.

However, because its roots are in Britain and its founder Sir James Dyson has been a vocal supporter of Brexit, the decision to move its headquarters to Singapore is likely to make political waves.

In practical terms, the change is a minor one. Two senior executives will be transferred to the Singapore office, where the company itself will now be registered.

There will be no impact on its 4000 workers in Britain, and according to Mr Rowan, little impact on its tax affairs either. In 2017, it paid £95 million to the Exchequer.

It will continue to invest in its UK research and engineering sites in Malmesbury, London and Bristol, as well as a new centre in Hullavington, where it plans to develop a ground-breaking electric car.

But the change is still highly symbolic.


Dyson has made it clear its centre of gravity now lies in Asia, where it sees the biggest opportunities for growth.

There may be business logic in the move - but as the UK struggles to define a coherent vision for its own future, it is unlikely to be applauded here.

Company founder Sir James Dyson has been in favour of Brexit, but Mr Rowan confirmed that Britain's departure from the EU would have little impact on the firm and that they had not made any contingency plans.

"Only 2-3% of our supply chain is in Europe and that goes east and not west. We do look for disruptions in the supply chain, but at this point in time, we don't foresee any issues with the movement of goods."

Dyson also revealed its full-year results for 2018, announcing that its profits had topped £1bn for the first time, up by 33%, while turnover jumped 28% to £4.4bn.


Offline beko1987

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Re: Dyson has announced that it is moving its headquarters to Singapore
« Reply #1 on: January 23, 2019, 08:01:12 pm »
It's the beginning of the end!

A common complaint is the flimsiness! Many a times I've done someones DC41, then a few weeks later they've wanted another vacuum for someone else they know, I'll sell them a 14 or 25, and their amazed by the difference when they collect it and pick it up!

Plus he's a massive hypocrite! I'm the most anti-politics bloke you know, I just couldn't give a crap and just ignore it, but he did sort of champion the whole leave thing!

You wait. Give them a few years as they move/clone the tooling and carry on, the V11 will probably be OK but the V12 will have another 10% of cost to make lopped off it, which will be noticable. And £699.99 to boot
Collector and restorer of vintage vacuums, Dyson Appreciator! Come and see my blog, where I am uploading all my mountains of brochures, manuals and other vacuum cleaner paperwork, and also my youtube channel @beko1987!

Offline DavidP

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Re: Dyson has announced that it is moving its headquarters to Singapore
« Reply #2 on: January 31, 2019, 09:24:45 pm »
Two media funnies on the subject:-

Offline MVacs

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Re: Dyson has announced that it is moving its headquarters to Singapore
« Reply #3 on: February 03, 2019, 03:27:44 pm »
How Singapore sucked in James Dyson

A growing Asian market and fears of Corbyn drew the inventor to the east, writes John Arlidge

Sir James Dyson, with his wife Deirdre, plans to produce electric cars in Singapore

Pioneer Crescent: Sir James Dyson could scarcely have chosen any other street on which to build his factory in Singapore. Raindrops the size of gobstoppers pounded the roof on a recent visit, forcing Hengky Wirawan, the plant’s leader, to shout to make himself heard as he showed off the production line.

“If you have a vacuum cleaner or hairdryer, the motor will have come from here,” he yelled. “We make one every 2.6 seconds.” Dyson keeps a close eye, even from his Gloucestershire estate. The factory floor is “live and connected to an app, so if James wants to look at it, he can,” said another staffer, Pinky Leong.

The billionaire inventor will soon be keeping an even closer eye on the Singaporean part of his empire. Last week he announced plans to move his headquarters from Malmesbury in Wiltshire to the city state. It is part of an estimated £1bn investment that will also see Dyson open the first car plant there for a generation to make his new electric car.

Critics lined up to accuse the arch-Brexiteer — who advocates a no-deal split from Europe — of fleeing the chaos the threat of no deal is creating just weeks before Britain is due to leave the EU. Labour MP Wes Streeting accused him of “rank hypocrisy”, saying he had “no sense of responsibility” to his country.

Company insiders concede Dyson is disappointed Theresa May’s compromise deal will, if approved, make it harder for Britain to negotiate comprehensive new global free trade deals. But they insist he is far more concerned by the possibility that Jeremy Corbyn might emerge from the morass as prime minister. “A general election is not out of the question, nor a Corbyn victory, and James and Jeremy Corbyn have diametrically opposed views on business,” said one staffer.

Dyson, 71, also wants to make sure that, as he takes his biggest gamble — he is betting £2.5bn that he can make the first upscale electric car using solid state batteries — he is doing it in a region that has the biggest market for electric cars, and where most of the essential components are made. His company, which turns over £4.4bn and employs almost 9,000 people worldwide, will do much of the R&D for the car in Wiltshire, “but it would be stupid to think we could build our own automotive manufacturing plant while our management sat 7,000 miles away,” Dyson said.

Some are not surprised by his Asian takeaway. Dyson, who has a £9.5bn fortune and whose firm last week reported record annual profits of £1.1bn for 2018, has not hidden his admiration for Singapore. In a recent interview with The Sunday Times to coincide with the factory visit, he praised its support for manufacturing, technology and education and the global outlook of ministers. It is an “exciting, ambitious” nation “unapologetically focused on global trade and the future . . . from which Britain can learn as we chart our new course in the world”.

The tycoon has been investing in Singapore for more than a decade, sinking almost £500m into two manufacturing and research plants. Over 1,000 people work for Dyson there, and that number will rise to 2,000 when the car factory is completed. Only a handful of executives will transfer from the UK in the headquarters move.

Dyson sees similarities between Britain and Singapore. Each is small, with a highly educated population. That means they lack the scale to compete in mass production. Nor can they compete on price because brainy workers are expensive. But both can win in hi-tech sectors, such as complex engineering, pharmaceuticals and financial services.

That’s what Dyson calls the Singapore dream — and, whatever you think about a city with an authoritarian government, little free expression and an aversion to chewing gum, the dream has become economic reality. Two centuries almost to the day after Stamford Raffles landed and founded what became the modern city state, Singapore is growing so fast it is beginning to eclipse Hong Kong as Asia’s business capital. GDP growth is rising to $57,714 per head, compared with Hong Kong’s $46,194, the World Bank says.

Dyson is one of several British investors living the Singapore dream. Rolls-Royce’s second-biggest aero-engine plant, after Derby, is on the site of an old colonial British army barracks near Changi airport. By coincidence, Warren East, Rolls-Royce’s chief executive, sits on the board of Dyson, as a non-executive director. Bicky Bhangu, who runs Rolls-Royce Singapore with 2,500 employees under him, is investing in technology to increase production and servicing of his company’s Trent engines and will transfer the technology to the Midlands.

“We’re developing smart manufacturing, robotics, automation and 3D printing before deployment to Derby,” Bhangu said, as he looked out over the engine testing chamber whose walls are made from 1m-thick reinforced concrete.

Encouraged by the success of Dyson and Rolls-Royce, global tech giants Google and Alibaba are moving in, making Singapore the most important regional tech hub outside China.

British banks are investing heavily. Financial services in Singapore received record overseas investment in 2017 — £4.73bn. Bankers are attracted by the growing ranks of crazy rich Asians. Singapore is home to the third-largest number of multi-millionaires, according to analysts at GlobalData WealthInsight.

How has this tiny speck of a city, once so dull it was nicknamed the Isle of Wight of Asia, become so attractive to world-beating businesses? The government invests heavily in the hardware and software of the city, much as Dyson does in his products. Ministers are behind the expansion of the free port that Dyson will use to export his cars to China, and the construction of two new terminals and one new runway at Changi in half the time it has taken Heathrow to get first-stage approval for a third runway.

The government also backs Singapore’s people. Its schools and universities turn out one of the world’s most highly educated workforces, especially in engineering. “The quality you can achieve with the graduates here and the speed with which you can achieve it” makes it worth paying the high wages they command, Dyson said.

The government keeps taxes low. Corporation tax is 17% but can be cut to 8.5% with exemptions and incentives. Dyson won’t comment on what breaks he gained, but the company said the change in its bill would be “negligible”. There is zero tax on capital gains and dividends.

Dyson has taken steps to mitigate his tax bill in the past. He has amassed 33,000 acres of agricultural land, making him a bigger landowner than the Queen (farmland is exempt from inheritance tax). And he has put money into several tax-deferral film investment schemes.

Geography favours Singapore. It is a member of the Asean trade bloc, which has a free-trade relationship with China. That was part of the draw for Dyson. Being near China — but not in it— is politically attractive, too.

Weak trade unions and the stability that one-party rule guarantees also help to lure investors. The centre-right People’s Action Party has dominated Singapore’s politics since independence from Britain in 1963. Prime minister Lee Hsien Loong has been in power for 15 years.

Softer factors include the rule of law, the English language, no corruption, low pollution and what Loh Lik Peng, a former lawyer who is now the city’s best-known hotelier and restaurateur, calls “a new ‘can do’ spirit. Thirty years ago everyone wanted to be a professional. Now it’s about being an entrepreneur.” There are some clouds on the horizon, though. China’s belt and road initiative threatens Singapore’s port. Debt is high — 114.3% of GDP, the International Monetary Fund says. The trade war between America and China threatens growth. The population is ageing and immigration falling. Income inequality is rising. The film Crazy Rich Asians was a tasteless joke to locals who struggle to make ends meet. There are even hints of political unrest, mainly on social media.

But these problems will be swept aside tomorrow when prime minister Lee launches the Light to Night festival to kick-start Singapore’s year-long bicentenary festivities. He will recall the aspiration of his father, the late Lee Kuan Yew, the founder of modern Singapore, that it should become the “Boston of the East”. Dyson’s decision suggests it already has.

Additional reporting: John Collingridge

Great ideas, shame about the engineering

When they arrive at Dyson’s Wiltshire campus, recruits are handed a copy of its founder’s autobiography, Against the Odds, writes Liam Kelly.

The ritual gives a glimpse of what former workers at the vacuums-to-hairdryers empire describe as the “cult of personality”.

Sir James Dyson, 71, has become a business hero since he left the Royal College of Art in the 1970s and developed a wheelbarrow with a red plastic ball at the front. An estimated 67m homes around the world now own one of his products.

With fame and power has come a quirky corporate culture. A cadre of middle managers “second-guess what they think James would like, and do things in his name”, said a former manager. Teams are discouraged from communicating and the company is “unusual and inward-looking”, he added.

Dyson is still involved with all products. “It’s really cool, because you get to have meetings with him,” said a former engineer. “But also kind of annoying, because it’s really hard to make decisions unless James Dyson makes them.”

One former employee described the man known as JD as “like a nice old grandad”. Another engineer who attended product meetings described Dyson as “friendly and approachable”, adding that he “didn’t dominate the conversation at all”.

Not all workers think they are in the presence of an engineering genius. “He’s a great ideas man,” said one. “I don’t think he’s a great engineer. Engineering is about getting the final solution with the smallest number of steps.”

Dyson famously took 15 years — and 5,127 attempts — to make his first bagless vacuum cleaner.

Source: The Sunday Times, January 27 2019

Offline MVacs

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Re: Dyson has announced that it is moving its headquarters to Singapore
« Reply #4 on: February 24, 2019, 02:50:38 pm »
James Dyson — inventor, farmer, Brexiteer and ‘deserter’
The entrepreneur is to move his HQ to Singapore, causing fury on all sides of Brexit.

James Dyson is disarmingly polite and urbane. This is my abiding memory of first meeting him as a business journalist. It was on the day his company announced its pre-tax profits had broken through the £100 million barrier and he had pocketed £31.5 million in annual pay and dividends. This was in 2006 and he smiled charmingly when I rather weakly asked if he was worth it. In my defence, I think the L’Oréal hair colour campaign was all the rage at the time.

“I am not sure that’s how I look at it,” he said in his distinctive drawl. “For many years I put my house on the line for the company and I led a very impecunious lifestyle.”

This week, he announced that his company — of which he remains the major shareholder — made £1.1 billion profit. Dyson is now ranked Britain’s 12th richest man, worth £9.5 billion, according to The Sunday Times Rich List. He owns more land than the Queen; a vineyard in France; a beautiful 1930s yacht, which he spent years restoring (previous owner: King Carol II of Romania); a Harrier jump jet parked outside his office; a £54 million Gulfstream jet; a 51-room house in Gloucestershire; a townhouse in Chelsea, a £57 million penthouse in New York and a house in Singapore.

And it is that Singapore connection that has stuck in the throat of some people. His company has long made its products in Asia, arguing that it made economic sense to take advantage of cheap factory costs in Malaysia. Dyson (he was knighted in 2006) has always dismissed people who complained about moving manufacturing overseas from his original Wiltshire base. The headquarters, the research and development, the brains and the taxes remained in the UK. It was a fair point.

However, alongside the record profits it announced this week, the company declared that it is moving its headquarters to Singapore. What gives this move particular piquancy is that Dyson is a prominent Brexiteer, who has vehemently championed Britain’s ability to take on the world.

Dyson’s decision managed the impossible: uniting Brexiteers and Remainers in a paroxysm of disgust. One Brexit-backing tabloid thundered yesterday: “The hypocrite’s shameless desertion.” Another, which backed Remain, ran with: “See ya, suckers.”

Dyson left the tricky announcement to his chief executive, Jim Rowan, who argued the move to a Singapore tax base had “nothing to do with Brexit or tax, it’s about making sure we are future-proofed’’. The Mandy Rice-Davies defence, you might say. “We will continue to pay tax in the UK. We will continue to invest in the UK, in Malmesbury, in Bristol and London,” Rowan added. It’s true that in 2017 (the most recent year we have figures for) the company paid £61 million in UK tax and the bulk of its research and development will stay in the UK.

Dyson has come a very long way from the 1970s, when as a young graduate from the Royal College of Art he invented the ballbarrow — a rather nifty improvement on the wheelbarrow. Instead of a wheel at the front, it had a large red plastic ball, making the barrow lighter and easier to control. Although the design won awards, he made a hash of running the company that manufactured it, ending up paying astronomical interest rates to his lenders, and ultimately losing control of the company and being booted out by his fellow directors.

He would never make that mistake again.

It is now estimated that 67 million homes around the world own a Dyson product of some sort, be it a bagless vacuum cleaner, air purifier or hairdryer. “What’s clever about Dyson,” says Stuart Miles, who owns the Pocket-lint technology website, “is that they have specialised in making products that just do two things: things that suck and things that blow.

“All the engineering effort and capability has gone into that motor, and Dyson own the intellectual property in that motor and also the supply chain that makes that motor. And that gives Dyson so much more control over the design and the [profit] margins. The costs are reduced because the same motor that is in the vacuum cleaner is in the fan, in the hairdryer, in the air purifier.”

There are some who argue Dyson’s products are style over substance and wildly overpriced. Its Supersonic hair dryer costs £300 at John Lewis, 12 times the price of a Babyliss model from the same department store, which does pretty much the same thing: blow air.

Yet Dyson’s ability to persuade consumers to pay top whack is part of his genius. He frequently used to appear in his own adverts — an urbane British Victor Kiam — imploring us to buy something that “doesn’t lose suction”.

“Dyson managed to be the perfect blend of design, innovation, marketing desirability and the ability to sell its products at the highest price the consumer can bear,” says Jon Bentley, long-time presenter of The Gadget Show and self-confessed owner of various Dysons. “This makes it in many ways a British equivalent of Apple.”

Like Apple, the company has had its failures — the washing machine was quietly dropped after failing to catch on. But like Apple, Dyson understood the importance of making dull electrical appliances cool.

His very first vacuum cleaners were pink and sold in the Paul Smith shop in Covent Garden, not boring old Currys. “No one had done a pastel Hollywood boudoir colour vacuum cleaner, so it was just to be different,” he once said.

He was also very astute at spotting consumer and social trends. The DC12, a dinky little vacuum that could fit into a large shoe box, was specifically designed for the Japanese market, where consumers did not have capacious cupboards under the stairs. The air purifiers may seem a niche product in the UK, but not in China, which is bedevilled by poor air quality. Dyson now makes more than half of its sales and profits in Asia.

All these products were designed at the company’s HQ in Malmesbury, Wiltshire, where he used to be seen driving his sports car through the town. He now commutes the short distance from his south Gloucestershire home, the grade I listed Dodington Park, via helicopter after building a helipad at the HQ.

Dodington Park, Dyson’s home in Gloucestershire

For most locals, he has been an unequivocally good thing. “He employs thousands of people, and is known at Malmesbury School as the ‘Godfather’, because he funds so many activities there,” says one resident.

His £12 million funding of the school of design engineering at Imperial College London, his £8 million donation to the Dyson Centre for Engineering Design at the University of Cambridge and his setting up the Dyson Institute of Engineering and Technology on his Malmesbury campus are well known. What is perhaps less well known are the bursaries he gives to pupils at the local school to fund their the way through university if they study design, science or engineering.

His most curious investment, however, has been in farmland. Over the past five years he has been snapping up land in Wiltshire, Oxfordshire and Lincolnshire and now controls more than 35,000 acres. “That may not be a vast amount if it were in the Highlands of Scotland,” says Bertie Hoskyns-Abrahall, a partner at the law firm Withers who specialises in advising landowners. “But for lowland, prime farmland this is a hell of a lot.” Indeed, it is more than the Queen owns in her own name.

There was a suspicion that part of Dyson’s motive was an eccentric two-fingers up to his nemesis, the European Union. He is one of Britain’s biggest beneficiaries of EU subsidies, receiving £2.8 million from various EU schemes last year.

He insists his interest in farming is long held. As a boy growing up in north Norfolk in the 1950s, he spent much of his childhood outdoors. “My earliest memories are of digging potatoes, top and tailing brussels sprouts and picking blackcurrants from the hedgerows. I’d rush parsley to the Campbell’s soup factory in King’s Lynn — it had to be there within an hour for it to be fresh,” he told an interviewer last year. “Working on farms and seeing what farms do is a very visceral form of manufacturing.”

It’s a profitable enterprise, and he uses self-driving tractors and drones to analyse from the air which fields need which particular fertiliser.

“Sir James is a really interesting guy. Most large landowners have been investing in farmland for capital, not for income, because traditionally you can only get 1 to 2 per cent income from the land,” says Hoskyns-Abrahall. “And because of that, much of the industry has been starved of research and development. Here we have one of the great innovators coming into farming, trying to drive up the efficiencies into the processes.”

One of his biggest crops (apart from peas, which he supplies to Waitrose) is maize. This is fed into vast anaerobic digestion plants that break down the crop into energy, providing electricity to 10,000 homes. That anaerobic digestion plants used to enjoy generous government subsidies was an undoubted appeal.

And electricity is where his next big project lies. He is the latest billionaire attempting to crack the electric car market. He has already spent £58 million on acquiring Sakti3, a pioneering US battery company, in 2015. Part of this is because all new Dyson electronics are to be cordless. Mostly it is because Dyson intends to launch an electric car in 2021 “with some driverless features”, he has said.

“What do electric cars need?” says Miles. “They need a battery and a motor. That’s what Dyson does. And all these concept cars coming out at the moment are coming out of China. Shifting your headquarters to Singapore to be close to the Chinese market and Chinese investors maybe makes sense.”

Dyson may have united people on both sides of the Brexit debate with the Singapore announcement; it was a lousy PR move certainly. But if he can develop a genuinely successful electric car that can drive from Eastbourne to Edinburgh without recharging, there might be many prepared to forgive his “shameless desertion’’.

Source: The Times



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