Claremont buys Milnes

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CLAREMONT Garments is continuing its expansion programme with the pounds 2m purchase of Alexander Milnes, a Manchester-based private company, writes Robert Cole.

Claremont, which supplies ladies' clothes to Marks & Spencer, was demerged from Alexon, the retailer, 15 months ago.

The acquisition is for cash and leaves Claremont's gearing neutral. In June it spent pounds 27m absorbing the North-east-based J&J Fashions, another M&S supplier, after holding a rights issue. The Milnes acquisition soaks up the rest of the rights cash.

Milnes makes ladies' coats and jackets for Marks & Spencer, C&A and others. It also makes specially designed uniforms for companies.

Peter Wiegand, chairman of Claremont, said: 'Milnes is a natural fit to our existing operations.' Alexander Milnes, the founder of the business, will stay with the company under the new ownership.

Claremont is paying pounds 2m for Milnes' net assets of pounds 2.2m. In the past three years net profits have been pounds 225,000.

Claremont shares fell 1p to 209p.