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Is it curtains for carpet firm?

Axminster Carpets goes bust

It could be the end of the line for one of Devon’s most famous businesses. Axminster Carpets is no longer able to keep its head above water. The company had previously put itself up for sale, but a buyer couldn’t be found – and that’s left about eight peoply in the East Devon town out of work.

A handful will stay on to complete current orders though, and Axminster’s Axfelt underlay division is being taken over by Ulster Carpets. The factory shop also survives, having being acquired by Wilton Carpets. Both these purchases protect some jobs.

Administrators will now try to find someone to take on the historic firm – which has been weaving in Axminster for 265 years and which supplies carpets to the royal household and parliament.

The company says it still hopes to secure "a rescue deal and a sustainable future for the Axminster Carpets business which remains important for the local town, employees, customers and suppliers. 

 "Our key focus remains on ensuring a sustainable future for Axminster Carpets, a proud business that has achieved centuries of expertise and multi-generational skilled employment for Axminster. We are encouraged by the investment into Axminster from other industry leaders. We hope to secure a long term sustainable future for weaving in the town and retaining Axminster’s from Axminster for many years to come."

Benjamin Wiles, an administrator from Duff & Phelps, says: “Despite a number of expressions of interest no acceptable offer for the core carpet business has been received, leaving no option but to appoint administrators while the remaining options are explored. 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. We are continuing to explore all potential options for all or part of the remaining business and assets including the historic brand name itself.”

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