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Keiller's: Sticky Success

Alex Keiller
Alex Keiller
© Scran
Alex was an extremely hard-nosed businessman and, in an attempt to maximise profits and take advantage of the favourable tax conditions, he authorised the purchase of a small property in Guernsey – which capitalised on the lack of sugar duties and, whilst managed by his brother William, accounted for one third of the Keiller’s net output, although the Guernsey stock always carried the Dundee logo.

The move to Guernsey was also a direct attempt to service the south of England, a market which had gradually opened up to the Keiller’s over the years, but now was at danger from a growing list of competitors – especially as producing marmalade and jams could be easily done with little specialised equipment.

Alex Keiller fitted the stereotype of the paranoid tycoon perfectly, although to call him a tycoon possibly overstates his importance in the city of Dundee. In a city built around the jute industry, a sector that employed thousands, the Keiller’s small time operation was, by comparison, fairly insignificant.

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