Hopes rising for new cashmere mill launch

Arthur Rennie.
Arthur Rennie.

Hopes are high this week that a new company has risen from the ashes of administration-hit Hawick Knitwear.

Lyber 2016 Ltd, ownedby Hong Kong businessman Eric Chu, who is understood to have been involved in the cashmere industry for many years, is reportedly ready to launch a new cashmere manufacturing operation in the town, and the firm is currently scouring premises across Hawick.

Arthur Rennie, Hawick Knitwear’s former brand director, appears to have a pivotal role in the new company, and has been tasked with recruiting up to 40 skilled workers to get the firm started.

Yesterday (Thursday), Mr Rennie met with scores of ex-Hawick Knitwear employees and some of those who have recently been paid off from other mills in the town, and the meeting has been described as “very positive” by one attendee who wanted to remain anonymous. Although Mr Rennie did not respond to our request for a comment, he did post the following statement on the Hawick Knitwear Facebook page earlier this week:

“Hello everyone, you may have heard that I have been involved with a company looking to start cashmere knitwear manufacturing in Hawick. Plans are progressing and we are now looking to speak to potential employees.

“We are wishing to talk to skilled people in almost all areas.”

Meanwhile, it has been revealed that Hawick Knitwear owed £1.33million to 120 unsecured creditors when it entered administration on January 7.

That list, verified by the company’s sole director, Benny Hartop, is included in a “notice of statement of affairs”, required under the Insolvency Act and submitted to Companies House.

Unsecured trade creditors include yarn suppliers Hinchliffe & Sons of Huddersfield (owed £435,623) and Todd & Duncan of Kinross (£228,546), along with HM Revenue and Customs PAYE/NI (£273,151). Around 70 of the creditors
are owed sums of £1,000 or less.

One of the larger debts (£42,000) is, according to the list, owed to the Alnwick-based property firm Liddesdale Ltd from which Hawick Knitwear leased its Liddesdale Road premises. The sole director of Liddesdale Ltd is Mr Hartop.