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Sirdar to axe 260

Sirdar, the textiles group hit by a worldwide downturn in business, is to close its loss-making Hayfield Textiles business, at Keighley in Yorkshire, with the loss of about 260 jobs.

The company said the operation would be merged into its Tilsa division at Wakefield, although the firm will retain its Hayfield hand-knitting yarns as a distinct brand.

The move, expected to cost about £3.8m, would not have a damaging impact on the bottom line as Sirdar forecasts year results to be broadly in line with expectations. The company also announced it would pay a final dividend not less than last time's 3.70p per share.

Sirdar estimated Hayfields' trading loss in the current year at £1.3m. The company, when it posted its annual results in September, said it was being hit by a worldwide slump in hand-knitting. Greater focus would therefore be placed on its Tilsa yarns business.