Administration rolls up Axminster Carpets

The Devon-based firm has fallen into insolvency for the second time in seven years with the loss of around 80 jobs

Benjamin Wiles, and Geoff Bouchier, both managing directors in Duff & Phelps' restructuring advisory practice, have been appointed joint administrators to the 265-year old textile manufacturer which has supplied carpets to the Royal palaces among other customers.

On appointment the joint administrators sold the underlay division of the company, Axfelt, to Ulster Carpets and expect to sell the Axminster Carpet Shop to Wilton Flooring.

However, while they are continuing to seek a buyer for the remaining assets and brand, they have made the remaining 80 staff at the Axminster manufacturing site redundant.

A small number of employees will continue to work through the company’s order book.

The business, which was founded in 1755, specialises in the manufacture of woven carpets using traditional techniques and natural materials. The historic carpeting business has supplied many familiar names and businesses over decades, including Buckingham Palace.

Its early customers included George III, while more recent clients have acquired its carpets for Clarence House, the Brighton Pavilion and Twickenham Stadium.

The manufacturer made a coronation carpet for George VI in 1937 and has also recently installed carpets at the US Congress and a Donald Trump hotel in Miami.

The business was previously acquired out of administration in 2013 by a consortium led by Stephen Boyd, a local investor, following a collapse which saw about 400 people lose their jobs.

Benjamin Wiles, joint administrator and managing director at Duff & Phelps, said: ‘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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