One of the biggest donors to the Conservative Party is seeing his global manufacturing fortune flourish at the same time that his finances are reportedly under scrutiny by UK tax officials.
(Bloomberg) — One of the biggest donors to the Conservative Party is seeing his global manufacturing fortune flourish at the same time that his finances are reportedly under scrutiny by UK tax officials.
JCB Chairman Anthony Bamford’s fortune climbed more than $1.4 billion to $8.2 billion after the construction equipment giant earned record revenue of £5.7 billion ($7 billion) for 2022, up almost 30% from the previous year, according to regulatory filings this week. The company also paid a £250 million dividend to the billionaire and his family, roughly triple the total from a year earlier.
Bamford, 77, who helped bankroll Boris Johnson’s efforts to become prime minister and also backed his short-lived successor Liz Truss, is now the world’s 272nd-richest person, 40 places higher than at the start of this year, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
The Guardian newspaper reported last month that the UK’s tax authority, His Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, has a long-running probe into the tax affairs of Bamford and his 72-year-old brother, Mark. A spokesman for HMRC declined to comment.
The siblings and their family control Staffordshire-based JCB through a Swiss holding company and previously used offshore entities based in the Caribbean to structure their wealth. Closely held JCB is now worth $8.9 billion, according to Bloomberg’s wealth index.
A representative for JCB didn’t respond to a request for comment.CK
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Bamford, a prominent Brexit supporter, was born the same day his father founded JCB and has been chairman since 1975. It’s best known for making yellow backhoes, but it’s expanded its operations in recent years to make hydrogen-powered engines, among other things. In 2021, the family also helped launch a fund backed by other members of the world’s rich focused on the hydrogen sector.
Surging growth in the construction and agricultural equipment sector last year across the Middle East and Mexico helped to make up for slumping demand in China that dragged down the industry globally, JCB said in its results. The company’s latest dividend was the largest for at least a decade, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Bamford owns a Barbados mansion and a Georgian manor house in the English countryside where Boris Johnson and his wife, Carrie, held their wedding last year. JCB and the Bamford family have given more than £10 million to Conservative Party causes over the past two decades.
–With assistance from Jack Witzig.
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