2016: No.1 - £3bn
2015: No.1 - £3.3bn
Lord Bamford’s JCB – one of the world’s most famous companies – celebrated 70 years in business in October. The anniversary was marked with an extra day’s holiday for employees and the launch of a limited edition of its most famous machine – the backhoe loader which has been the engine of the company’s international growth.
Unfortunately some of the gloss was taken off the celebrations by a drop in world markets which have put a brake on growth for the moment. A 43 per cent drop in global sales because of Russian sanctions and a softening of international markets has resulted in 400 redundancies at JCB as sales forecasts are lowered and production scaled back accordingly.
Economies in India, Brazil and China – major markets for JCB – have been dipping, as have some European markets.
Despite this, the company remains very profitable and its 2014 results were only marginally down on the previous year.
Pre-tax profits were £303 million compared with £313 million in 2013, while turnover was £2.51 billion against £2.68 billion the previous year.
But the company continues to invest in new production facilities in the UK and overseas. Two new plants have opened in Jaipur, India involving an investment of more than £60 million. Construction of a new £18 million headquarters for JCB Germany is also under way.
A new factory is being built in Uttoxeter for JCB Cab Systems, replacing an existing operation in Rugeley. Plus, it has acquired the 383,000 sq ft Blue Planet distribution hub near Newcastle-under-Lyme to become JCB World Logistics.
Lord Bamford – formerly Sir Anthony Bamford – has the formal title of Baron Bamford of Daylesford in the County of Gloucestershire and Wootton in the County of Staffordshire. In 2013 he was given one of UK engineering’s highest honours when he was made an honorary fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering for his contribution to industry. He has spent more than 50 years at JCB, and 2015 marked his 40th year as chairman.
With more than 6,000 employees in 11 UK factories, exporting more than three-quarters of its production, JCB generates export revenues of more than £1.3 billion and is estimated to contribute at least £1.4 billion to national GDP, £555 million to the exchequer and 24,000 jobs overall to the UK economy.
The JCB Academy, Britain’s only school dedicated to developing engineers and business leaders of the future, continues to flourish, winning Ofsted praise for mathematics, engineering and vocational courses.
As well as their huge 4,000 acre Wootton estate in Staffordshire, Lord Bamford, 68, and his wife Lady Carole Bamford have homes in Chelsea, Barbados and France and the 2,000 acre Daylesford estate near Stow-on-the Wold where Lady Bamford also runs the award-winning Daylesford Organics.
She founded the company 13 years ago and it is now one of the country’s largest working organic farms, with an organic farm school and a long list of celebrity customers. It is one of the most sustainable farms in the UK. The company, which has a vineyard in Provence, also has a store, bakery and café in Tokyo.
She has organic cafes in Pimlico, Notting Hill, and Gloucestershire, which took the 2015 Sustainable Restaurant of the Year award.
The Bamfords’ road to riches began in 1945 when Lord Bamford’s father, Joseph Cyril Bamford – inventor of the iconic backhoe loader - built his first farm trailer in a small garage in Rocester. Now Lord Bamford moves in exalted circles and has the ear of the Prime Minister, having donated almost £5 million to the Conservative party since 2002, and is a member of David Cameron’s elite leader’s group.
He has declared himself in favour of Britain’s exit from the EU.