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November 08 2009

Sir James Dyson doles out £45m among children

Dyson firm also pledges £5m to the Royal College of Art after shares deal nets the inventor £105m

Sir James Dyson, who pioneered the bagless vacuum cleaner and recently developed a desk fan without blades, has given £45m to his three children.

Each of them has received £15m from a shares deal, which also netted £105m for the billionaire businessman and inventor. The Dyson company bought back shares from the family for £150m in February 2008, according to documents filed with Companies House. The deal took place shortly before capital gains tax went up to 18% from 10%.

A company spokesman said: "For the past 35 years the family has been involved in the company, supporting it through hard times. It's only natural that James should want to look after their future."

The 62-year-old tycoon, who was knighted in December 2006, recently became the Conservatives' technology consultant. His other products include a hand-dryer, known as the Airblade, which dries hands in just 10 seconds. Company profits in 2008 rose to £90m on sales of £628m. The firm has also pledged £5m to the Royal College of Art to support aspiring designers.

Dyson's children, all in their thirties, have built their own careers and shown similar entrepreneurial spirit. But only Jake Dyson has followed in his father's footsteps by becoming a product designer himself. He studied industrial design at Central Saint Martins and set up his own, eponymous company in 2002. He has developed a range of lights that use motors to vary light angles and the size of the beam, creating rooms that "feel like they're lifting and breathing".

His sister Emily runs a London boutique called Couverture, which moved from Chelsea to larger premises in Notting Hill shortly after the shares deal. The fashionable, three-floor store sells women's and children's clothes, vintage pieces and furniture. Sam, the youngest of the Dyson children, is a guitarist with Bristol band The Chemists, who are currently touring with Skunk Anansie. He set up a record label after receiving the windfall and is also converting a barn near Bath into a recording studio.

Entrepreneurs often decide to leave little to their children. Bill Gates, the Microsoft founder, has said he will leave all of his $58bn fortune to charity, while Dragon's Den star Duncan Bannatyne plans to give away his entire £310m estate. © Guardian News & Media Limited 2009 | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

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