South Scotland

Hawick Knitwear deal secures 32 jobs

Hawick Knitwear factory Image copyright Google
Image caption Hawick Knitwear went into administration earlier this year with the loss of more than 100 jobs

A deal to buy Hawick Knitwear out of administration will secure employment for 32 people at its Borders base.

Lyber 2016, a group formed by Hong Kong-based Artwell, is to purchase some assets, the firm's name and intellectual property.

Hawick Knitwear, with a manufacturing heritage dating back to 1874, employed more than 170 staff when it went into administration in January.

Administrators wished the buyer "every success" in their new venture.

Blair Nimmo, joint administrator and head of restructuring for KPMG in the UK, said: "We would like to thank everyone involved for their patience and perseverance during what has been a challenging sales process.

"We are very pleased to have achieved a sale of certain Hawick Knitwear key assets."

Details needed

Conservative MSP for Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire John Lamont gave the deal a cautious welcome.

"We need to wait for the details of the purchase before there is a real reason to celebrate," he said.

"I will be looking for a commitment from the buyer that they will continue operating from Hawick and employing local people for the long term."

He repeated his call for an enterprise zone to be created in the town.

I know this investment by Lyber 2016 won't immediately fill the gap left by Hawick Knitwear but it signals a significant investment ... and will secure employment for 32 people.

Paul Lewis, managing director of Scottish Development International
Scottish Enterprise
Image copyright Scottish Enterprise

The SNP's South of Scotland MSP Paul Wheelhouse and Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk MP Calum Kerr also welcomed the announcement.

Mr Wheelhouse said it was a boost, alongside plans for a new whisky distillery, FirstBus recruitment and an action plan for the town.

"All this proves that Hawick has a great future and every reason to be confident about its economy going forward," he said.

Mr Kerr said it was good news that the brand name had been preserved.

"We do have to recognise the reality that companies have to be highly efficient and streamlined and that there won't be as many jobs in the sector as there were in the past," he said.

"But by adapting to this changing market, Hawick has secured its place and name as a top-class provider of high-end knitwear products."

'Knitwear demand'

Paul Lewis, managing director of Scottish Development International - the international arm of Scotland's enterprise agencies, said the deal was "encouraging news" at a "very difficult time for Hawick and the textile industry in particular".

"I know this investment by Lyber 2016 Ltd won't immediately fill the gap left by Hawick Knitwear but it signals a significant investment in the area and will secure employment for 32 people," he said.

He said they would continue to work secure further investment in the textiles industry and the area.

Business Minister Fergus Ewing called it "great news for Hawick and the textile industry in the Borders".

"The sale is testament to the quality of the product and the demand for knitwear from this part of Scotland," he said.

"While the number of staff is expected to be lower than previously employed at Hawick Knitwear, I am pleased that operations will continue."

He added that an action plan would be published for the town next week, looking at how the public and private sector could work together to ensure it had a "positive future".

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