James Dyson famously took five years and 5,126 prototypes to develop the first bagless vacuum cleaner. He has since developed a washing machine with two drums and hand dryers for public toilets, among other things. Chief executive Max Conze recently announced plans to create 300 jobs, in addition to the 550 engineers and scientists based at the company’s research and development laboratory in Wiltshire. In a £1.4m deal, the company will also fund a Cambridge University professorship to support research over the next decade. Sales were £887m in 2010, and are expected to be more than £1billion in 2011 when accounts are filed.

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Company details
ActivityAppliance manufacturer
Sales £m887
Profit £m237
Year endDec 10
Principal shareholdersSir James Dyson and family (100%)

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* Supplied by company † Annualised figure