Update 19th February 2020
Axminster Carpets has called in Duff & Phelps as administrators after weeks of trying to secure a rescue deal.
Sources say that Axminster’s underlay-manufacturing division has been sold to rival Ulster Carpets, while its shop has been offloaded to another competitor, Wilton Flooring. As for the main carpet-making business, no buyer has been found as of yet.
Almost all of the companies 90 staff have been made redundant with only a handful left to fulfil its existing order book.
‘’The administrators have had to come to the decision that the best possible option for maximising the realisations for the company’s creditors was the immediate sale of its underlay business to Ulster Carpets and the redundancy of the majority of the existing workforce.’’
All potential options for all or part of the remaining business and assets are continuing to be explored.
10 February 2020
265-year-old, Axminster Carpets filed a notice of intention to appoint administrators, following it being on the brink of collapse. A buyer is being sought to try and avoid administration and the loss of 90 Devon-based jobs.
This follows the company being hit by a fall in orders due, in part, to the slowdown in the awarding of rail franchises – an important source of its sales.
Administrators at Duff and Phelps are on standby as the company tries to steer away from its second collapse in seven years. In 2013, also overseen by Duff and Phelps, the company was rescued by a consortium led by private investor, Stephen Boyd. It was one of the largest private employers of the county, with 300 jobs lost from its 400 at the time.
In 2016, H Dawson Wool, a Bradford-based supplier to the carpet manufacturing sector took over.
In September 2019, boss Jonathan Young warned a difficult trading period for the firm, offering voluntary redundancies and impending job losses. He explains the company’s problems were due to the sustained uncertainty generated by Brexit, causing a lack of consumer confidence.
Despite needing to find a buyer, Young remains confident as he is ‘’encouraged by the level of interest in investing in our brand’’, it being a ‘proud British manufacturer’.
The origins of the luxury carpet maker can be traced back to Thomas Whitty, who began making carpets and rugs in his home town of Axminster in 1755, using what is known today as the Axminister method of weaving. The first carpets were bought by the likes of royals, including King George III and Queen Charlotte. Despite going out of business in the 1830s, the family firm was re-founded by Harry Dutfield in 1937, when he revived the tradition.
The company have its products at home in Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle, The Royal Albert Hall and Clarence House to name just a few.