Former prime minister David Cameron tours a JCB factory in Sao Paulo with company chairman Sir Anthony Bamford
The billionaire family behind Britain’s famous JCB diggers has benefited from the boom in global construction as profits rose to $130 (£104 million).
The results for JCB posted on Companies House by the group’s main holding entity, JC Bamford Service, show that owner Sir Anthony Bamford & family were paid a $94 million (£75 million) dividend following last year’s $75 million (£60 million) dividend.
The privately held company saw turnover rise by 22% to $5.13 billion (£4.1 billion) in 2018. Earnings on an EBITDA basis rose by 31% to $558 million (£447 million) up from $426 million (£341 million) in 2017.
JCB chairman Lord Bamford said that as the firm approaches its 75th anniversary it is reaching “new peaks.” “The company in a strong position to tap into a growing demand for zero-emissions or ultra-low emissions equipment in the construction industry, particularly on urban job sites.”
India remains JCB’s largest market in 2018 and to celebrate the 40th anniversary of JCB India the company has announced a new $80 million factory in Gujarat, due to open in 2020. JCB currently has 22 factories around the world, including 11 in the UK.
The company has however reduced its contribution to the Conservative Party from $1.88 million (£1.5 million) in 2017 to $1.25 million (£1 million) in 2018.
Bamford has championed Brexit, and the drop-off in donations might be linked with Prime Minister Theresa May’s thwarted plans to strike a trade deal with the European Union. In December, Bamford wrote to the Daily Telegraph claiming: “I feel compelled to say this about a no-deal Brexit: there is nothing to fear from trading on World Trade Organisation (WTO) terms.”
He went on to say: “I have decades of experience selling British-made machinery to WTO and EU countries,” adding “I accept that … any changeover to selling on WTO terms will prove somewhat disruptive to business. My message is simple: businesses will adapt. It will not be the end of the world.”
The scion of the Bamford family is not the only wealth donor to have cooled on Boris Johnson’s Conservative party. According to data from the Electoral Commission, the Conservatives received donations totaling just £3.7 million in the first quarter of 2019, down from £7.5 million in the last three months of 2018.
One party fundraiser told the Financial Times in March that the Conservatives have just “£1.5m left in the bank, an incredibly low financial buffer, and no donors want to give any money because of the total chaos.”