Barrie is ‘jewel in wreckage’

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BARRIE Knitwear was this week described as “the jewel in the wreckage of Dawson”.

That was the view of Hawick MP Michael Moore after Dawson International was placed into administration on Wednesday.

And he believes administrators KPMG, who addressed the 180-strong Barrie workforce yesterday morning, will have no problem finding a buyer for the Burnfoot-based business.

Mr Moore told the Hawick News: “The message the administrators gave to me was that there will be no redundancies, that there is a great business here and they would be out marketing it as quickly as possible. I think with the dedicated and committed workforce, great customers and management team and the fact that they will be freed from the Dawson yolk, then hopefully they can go on and thrive.”

The directors of Dawson International PLC had been in negotiations with the Pension Protection Fund (PPF) and the Pensions Regulator (tPR) to seek a negotiated entry of its UK defined benefit pension plans into the PPF.

This would have meant the PPF assuming responsibility for the plans in return for a cash payment, loan note and equity stake.

However, these proved unsuccessful.

And following rejection of the proposals, the Pension Scheme Trustees served notices on Dawson International Trading Limited and Dawson International PLC requesting payment of the Section 75 debt of £129million by Sunday, forcing the company into administration.

But Blair Nimmo, joint administrator, remained upbeat. He said: “Administration represents an excellent opportunity to acquire a well known and profitable Scottish cashmere knitwear business with over 100 years of trading history.”

In the year ended March 31, 2012, Barrie turned over £9.7million (approx 90 per cent export sales) and generated a pre-tax profit of £1.1million.

Hawick MSP John Lamont said: “What is most important now is that every effort is made to protect these jobs and provide support for the employees. It would be disastrous to see so many families lose their livelihoods.”