Chanel funds buyout of Scottish cashmere firm


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The Independent Online

Chanel has stepped in to rescue a Scottish cashmere maker after other buyers walked away.

Barrie Knitwear, based in Hawick, was put up for sale after its parent Dawson International collapsed into administration in August due to huge pension liabilities.

The Scottish wool supplier makes cashmere for the Parisian designer Chanel as well as a variety of tailors, US retailers and other luxury brands.

Last month Barrie’s management Jim Carrie and Clive Brown had hoped to secure backing from venture capitalists. But privately owned Chanel has stepped in to rescue the deal and back management to save the firm. Mr Carrie and Mr Brown will now continue to run the business.

Administrators at KPMG had been hoping to secure a sale sooner, but Chanel’s rescue saves all 176 employees.

Bruno Pavlovsky, Chanel’s fashion president, said: “This acquisition is all the more natural as the factory has worked with us for more than 25 years.”

The luxury fashion house said it will allow Barrie to continue to supply the major luxury brands “with no exclusivity”.

Buyers that walked away from the deal included the US menswear chain Brooks Brothers – Italy’s Claudio Del Vecchio’s Retail Brand Alliance.

Dawson, which was listed on the Alternative Investment Market, fell into administration due to huge pension deficits thought to be in excess of £50m.

Supplying Chanel with cashmere made up around 60 per cent of Barrie’s business.