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Chanel buys Hawick cashmere mill Barrie

image captionBarrie has produced cashmere knitwear for Chanel for 25 years

Luxury goods firm Chanel has bought the Barrie Knitwear cashmere mill in the Scottish Borders, following the collapse of owner Dawson International.

The deal is expected to secure all 176 jobs based in Hawick.

Chanel said the company's current management would stay in place.

Barrie Knitwear was a trading division of Dawson International, which was placed in administration in August because of the size of its pension liabilities.

Dawson will now be liquidated following the transfer of its only major asset.

Chanel did not disclose how much it paid for the Barrie Knitwear business and its assets.

Chanel fashion president Bruno Pavlovsky said: "The acquisition of Barrie business by Chanel is all the more natural as the factory has worked with us for more than 25 years, producing cashmere knitwear including Chanel's iconic two-tone cashmere cardigans.

"Through this acquisition, we reaffirm our commitment to traditional expertise and craftsmanship, and our wish to safeguard their future and support their development."

Chanel said Barrie would continue to "pursue its partnerships with all major luxury brands, with no exclusivity" and grow its own brands presence around the world.

Dawson International joint administrator Blair Nimmo, from KPMG, said he believed the sale had "secured a sustainable future for a business which is of both historical significance to the textile industry and of local importance as a major employer in the Scottish Borders".

'Uncertainty lifted'

The GMB union welcomed the sale.

Senior Scottish organiser Alex McLuckie said: "GMB Scotland always felt confident that this highly skilled, productive and fairly loyal workforce which produces a high quality product would be saved.

"It lifts the uncertainty for the 180 employees and we can now look forward to continuing employment for our members in the Hawick site now and into the future."

Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said Scotland's cashmere industry employed about 4,000 people and contributed almost £200m to the economy.

She added: "This acquisition reinforces Scotland's position as one of the world's leading spinners of quality cashmere yarn and strengthens Scotland's global reputation as a leader in luxury fabrics, cashmere knitwear and designer brands."

Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire MSP John Lamont also welcomed the announcement, saying he hoped it would safeguard the future of the company for years to come.

"Chanel is a world famous company, that operates on a global scale, and with Barrie Knitwear in their ownership I am confident that the future of the firm is safe for the foreseeable future," he added.

A spokesman for Dawson's administrators said Dawson would be liquidated following the transfer of its only major asset.

An American division, Dawson Forte, which sourced cashmere for the US market, has continued trading without going into administration.

The pension liabilities of Dawson International have been transferred to the Pension Protection Fund, which will now meet most of pay-out entitlements of current and future Dawson pensioners

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