Cashmere firm Dawson International in administration

Woman wearing cashmere jumper Dawson warned last month that the crisis in its pension scheme may drive it into administration

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The cashmere firm Dawson International has gone into administration.

It employs 180 people in Scotland, mostly at Barrie Knitwear in Hawick.

Dawson has been struggling with a large deficit in its pension scheme and directors of the firm have criticised the pensions regulator for failing to agree a rescue package.

It is understood the company is continuing to trade as normal for the moment and its US import business is not affected by this move.

Last month the company's shares plunged after it announced that the pensions regulator and the Pension Protection Fund (PPF) had rejected its attempt to put its pension plans into a protection fund.

It warned then that it may have to appoint administrators if the talks fail.

Administrators at KPMG, said the firm collapsed with a pension debt of £129m. That was the amount outstanding after the PPF refused to take on the liability.

When pension trustees presented the bill for payment by 19 August, directors concluded they could not pay it.

Brand portfolio

Joint administrator Blair Nimmo said the cashmere specialist sold £9.7m in produce last year, exporting 90% of it, and making a pre-tax profit of £1.1m.

He invited potential buyers to contact him, saying Barrie has more than 100 years of trading history, a portfolio of recognised brand names, including Barrie, Glenmac, John Laing and Kinross, and a worldwide customer base.

Barrie Mill in Hawick makes cashmere garments, mainly for other luxury retail brands.

David Bolton, chairman of Dawson, said: "This is a sad day for Dawson International, and for British manufacturing.

"To see this 140-year-old company forced into administration due to the PPF's decision is deplorable, a direct consequence of a flawed process lacking in common sense and transparency."

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