Axminster Carpets bought out of administration

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The Royal Pavilion in Brighton, East Sussex restored SaloonImage source, Jim Holden / Alamy
Image caption,
Axminster Carpets were tasked with recreating the original 1822 carpet at The Royal Pavilion in Brighton.

Axminster Carpets has been bought out of administration by a group of investors which includes former owners.

The royal warrant holder was bought by ACL Carpets, which will change its name to Axminster Carpets in the near future, administrators said.

The company went into administration on 19 February, and 80 jobs were then lost.

The business had built up debts of nearly £8m, but is now debt free, Axminster Carpets said.

The Dutfield family, which controlled the company until 2016, is part of the group of investors.

The company will continue to operate from its head office and manufacturing facility in Axminster.

Robert Day, who led the private investors, said: "The business has never been in a better position to again become a significant player in the sector."

Joint administrator Benjamin Wiles, of Duff & Phelps, said: "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."

Axminster Carpets was previously rescued in 2013. It had gone into administration, also overseen by Duff & Phelps, but was bought out by a consortium led by private investor Stephen Boyd.

The firm lost about 300 of 400 jobs at the time. It had been one of Devon's largest private employers.

A controlling stake in the historic carpet maker was bought by Yorkshire-based wool supplier H Dawson Wool in 2016.

The origins of the luxury carpet maker can be traced back to Thomas Whitty, who began making carpets and rugs in the town in 1755 using what became known as the Axminster method of weaving.

The first carpets were bought by the likes of King George III and Queen Charlotte, who visited the factory.

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.