James Dyson, the British inventor and prominent Brexit supporter, has bought a luxury flat in Singapore that is said to be the country’s most expensive penthouse, months after controversially relocating his company’s headquarters to the city-state.
Sir James, founder of technology company Dyson, and his wife Deirdre bought a 99-year leasehold on the “super penthouse” in Wallich Residence on June 20, according to Singapore Land Authority property records seen by the Financial Times.
The asking price for the penthouse is listed at S$108m ($79.3m) on the developer’s website, however, local media have reported that the billionaire paid S$73.8m ($54.2m) for the property.
Either figure would be comfortably exceed the S$60m Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin paid for a super penthouse at Sculptura Ardmore, reportedly the most expensive apartment sale in Singapore at the time.
Guoco Land, the property developer of Wallich Residence, confirmed the purchase but did not provide a sale price.
Sir James’s 21,108 sq ft five-bedroom flat is split three storeys and includes a private pool on the 64th floor, a wine cellar that can hold 600 bottles, and a “Wallich Butler service” available 24 hours a day, according to the developer’s website. It is located in Singapore’s tallest building in the Tanjong Pagar financial district.
“Given the decision to locate the headquarters in Singapore and the growing focus of the company’s business in the region, of course James Dyson has bought a property there,” Dyson said.
Sir James has built a reputation as one of the UK’s foremost entrepreneurs, and was a leading backer of the campaign to leave the EU. The company’s decision to move its headquarters to Singapore was a symbolic blow to the UK and sparked fierce criticism from pro-EU politicians, who accused Sir James of “hypocrisy”.
The company said at the time that only two employees — its chief financial officer and chief legal officer — would move from the UK, where it employs 4,000 people.
Dyson already manufactures its products in Asia, and last October announced that it would build a factory in Singapore to produce its first electric vehicle. The company denied at the time that Brexit was a factor in its decision.
Singapore offers a headline corporate tax rate of 17 per cent, compared with 19 per cent in the UK but Dyson denied that the move was motivated by the policy.
In contrast to its low corporate taxation rules, Singapore has attempted to cool its property market with higher levies. The city-state’s authorities last year announced new restrictions, including duties of up to 20 per cent on foreigners purchasing property in Singapore.
Singapore’s property market is one of the world’s most expensive, with List Sotheby’s saying last month that six of the 11 super penthouses on the market around the world are in the city. Super penthouses cover at least 10,000 sq ft in floor space, are located in “super tall” buildings, and typically fetch record prices.
Sir James and his wife have reportedly become Singapore permanent residents, according to the Business Times, so it is unclear if the new curbs on foreign purchases would have affected them.
Additional reporting by Stefania Palma