Administrators conclude deal

Hawick Knitwear assets sold but no takers for business

Hawick KnitwearSome of the assets of Hawick Knitwear have been sold and production will continue on a smaller scale, though the original business is not included in the sale.

Blair Nimmo and Tony Friar of KPMG were appointed joint administrators on 7 January at the request of the company’s director.

The sale to Lyber 2016 Limited, includes plant, machinery, the Hawick Knitwear brand and its intellectual property.

In a statement the administrators said a sale of the business as a going concern could not be achieved despite an extensive process and a number of parties expressing an interest.

“However, the Joint Administrators are pleased to have identified a buyer who demonstrated its commitment to this process by paying a non-refundable deposit on 5 February 2016 to secure preferred bidder status,” said the statement.

Lyber 2016 is a newly-registered company with an office in Rutland Court, Edinburgh, and has two directors: Arthur Leslie Rennie, and Wai Cheung Chu.

On their appointment the administrators immediately made 123 of the 179 workers redundant. Of the remainder, 32 have been retained.

Paul Lewis, managing director of Scottish Development International, said: “This is encouraging news against a backdrop of what has been a very difficult time for Hawick and the textile industry in particular.

“I know this investment by Lyber 2016 Ltd won’t immediately fill the gap left by Hawick Knitwear but it signals a significant investment in the area and will secure employment for 32 people.

“My team in Scottish Enterprise and Scottish Development International have worked tirelessly with our partners over the past few months to help bring this investment to the area, including providing Start Up Aid. They will continue to work with colleagues in the Scottish Borders Council to encourage further investment in the textiles industry and the area.”

Hawick Knitwear has a manufacturing heritage dating back to 1874.

It produced cashmere and other wool-based garments under its own Hawick Knitwear and Clan Douglas brands, as well as garments for blue-chip customers in the UK and overseas.

It had been experiencing difficult trading conditions in recent years due to increasing production costs and reducing margins. Recent mild winters also led to reduced demand for heavier winter garments.

Business Minister Fergus Ewing said: “This is great news for Hawick and the textile industry in the Borders.

“The sale is testament to the quality of the product and the demand for knitwear from this part of Scotland. While the number of staff is expected to be lower than previously employed at Hawick Knitwear, I am pleased that operations will continue.

“We worked closely with KPMG and Scottish Borders Council to identify potential investors. Scottish Enterprise is supporting Lyber 2016 Ltd to start up the venture and will identify any other business support that could help grow the operation and ensure a long term future.

“I look forward to publication next week of an action plan for Hawick which will set out how working together the public and private sector can ensure a positive future for the town.”

Blair Nimmo, joint administrator and UK head of restructuring for KPMG, added: “We would like to thank everyone involved for their patience and perseverance during what has been a challenging sales process. We are very pleased to have achieved a sale of certain Hawick Knitwear key assets.

“We wish the purchaser every success in its new venture.”

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