The billionaire owner of Triumph Motorcycles has paid himself a £13m dividend after profits at the business leapt.
John Bloor, who made his money in property before rescuing the Triumph brand, took £13m out of his business empire in the 12 months to June, newly filed accounts show. The payout was up from £12m in the previous period.
Bloor Homes, his main business, endured a “more challenging” year because of high interest rates. However, Triumph’s pre-tax profits rose by more than £20m to £72.4m.
Mr Bloor rescued Triumph Motorcycles, the iconic brand favoured by the likes of Marlon Brando and Steve McQueen, 40 years ago.
Founded in 1902, the company created iconic motorcycles such as the Bonneville series during the 1960s, dubbed by fans as the “Bonnie” and named after the salt flats in Utah where speed records were attempted.
However, Triumph struggled to compete with more efficient production methods employed by manufacturers abroad, notably Japanese companies such as Honda. Triumph Engineering, as it was originally called, fell into receivership in 1983.
Derbyshire-born Mr Bloor, 80, bought the Triumph name and then instructed managers to study Japanese motorbike production before relaunching the business.
The company sold more than 88,000 motorcycles last year, accounts show. Triumphs can cost up to £23,600 for the 2.5-litre, 3-cylinder Rocket 3 GT Chrome Edition, although a much more modest 0.4-litre Speed 400 comes in at less than £5,000. Profits leapt because more models with higher margins were delivered.
The value of Mr Bloor’s business empire rose from £1.8bn to £2.1bn last year, according to accounts for his holding company Bloor Investments.
As well as motorbikes, Mr Bloor’s interests span home building and renting out portable cabins. Sales across the group rose from £2.21bn to £2.25bn last year, while profit before tax slid to £406m from £427m.
Average sale prices for homes built by the company fell from £322,000 to £317,000. The cost of building materials also rose, eating into profit margins.
Mr Bloor’s ownership of Triumph has not always been plain sailing. In 2002, Triumph’s centenary year, a serious fire destroyed around half of its Hinckley factory.
In 2008, the recession and a collapse in the housing market caused Mr Bloor to breach banking covenants on the debt for his company Bloor Holdings, which controls Bloor Homes but also Triumph. However, he was able to renegotiate the loans with banks.