Duff & Phelps secures future of carpet manufacturer

17 March 2020 Consultancy.uk 2 min. read

Insolvency specialist consultancy Duff & Phelps has secured the future of a 250-year-old British manufacturing brand. Axminster Carpets is expected to continue trading from its old head office and manufacturing facility, thanks to a rapid sale to a consortium of investors including members of the business’ previous ownership.

For more than 250 years, Axminster Carpets has been synonymous with carpet craftsmanship in the UK. The firm is Britain’s oldest, best known carpet designer and manufacturer. The origins of the luxury carpet maker can be traced back to Thomas Whitty, who began making carpets and rugs in the market town of Axminster in 1755, using what became known as the Axminster method of weaving.

Throughout its lengthy history, the company has counted the Royal Family as customers, from King George III and Queen Charlotte, who visited its original factory, to the present day occupants of Buckingham Palace. The family firm went out of business in the 1830s, but the tradition was revived in the town in 1937, when Harry Dutfield, the son of a Glasgow carpet designer, founded the current company.

Duff & Phelps secures future of carpet manufacturer

Despite the firm’s prestigious history, Axminster has fallen on hard times in recent years. In 2013, Axminster Carpets was bought out of administration by a consortium led by private investor Stephen Boyd – and just seven years later, the firm once again collapsed, with about 80 employees at the Axminster factory in Devon being made redundant as a result.

A handful of staff were kept on to complete existing orders, and assist administrators Benjamin Wiles and Geoff Bouchier, as they sought new ownership. Fortunately the administrators – both from Duff & Phelps – were able to quickly sell Axminster as a going concern to a group of UK private investors including the Dutfield family. It is expected that the purchasing entity will change its name to Axminster Carpets in the very near future, and will continue to operate from its old head office and manufacturing facility.

Benjamin Wiles stated, “We are absolutely delighted to be able to announce today that we have secured the future of Axminster Carpets, one of the best-known British brands, following the successful sale of the business and assets of the Company to ACL Carpets. The swift conclusion of this process has enabled Duff & Phelps to secure the future of the business. This deal will provide a stable financial platform, ensuring its long-term viability.”