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Last Updated: Monday, 21 February, 2005, 14:39 GMT
'Oldest' carpet maker shuts down
 (picture courtesy of Glasgow University Archives)
Stoddards has been operating for almost 150 years (picture courtesy of Glasgow University Archives)
The whole workforce at Scotland's oldest carpet manufacturer has been made redundant.

All 179 workers at Kilmarnock-based Stoddard International were told they had lost their jobs with immediate effect at a meeting on Monday.

The operation went into receivership in January after losing more than 6m in 2003. It was forced to close after receivers failed to find a buyer.

A few staff will remain at the 150-year-old firm to complete orders.

The operation is expected to be wound down within four weeks customers have received their goods.

It is thought it collapsed with debts of about 9m after it was said to be losing money at the rate of 100,000 a week.

It closed a weaving factory and its headquarters in Elderslie, Renfrewshire, in the last year in a move that consolidated operations at one site in Kilmarnock.

Receiver Tom Burton, of Ernst & Young, was called in to try and save Stoddard but had to lay off 266 workers shortly after his arrival.

 (picture courtesy of Glasgow University Archives)

The high-profile company made the red carpet for the Queen's wedding day in 1947 and once employed more than 500 people.

It was granted the Royal Warrant in 1966 and sold its products to the Scottish Parliament, stately homes, embassies and royal palaces.

The job losses follow a period of intensive negotiations during which Mr Burton tried to work out a viable future for the business.

However, the talks came to nothing after a previous preferred bidder withdrew its interest two weeks ago.

No future

Mr Burton said "no stone was left unturned" as he sought to secure a future for the company.

He said: "Despite our best efforts and the support of creditors and customers, we have been unable to find a buyer for Stoddard.

"With the business losing money week by week, it is not economic to continue trading under these circumstances and we have no option other than to wind down operations and cease manufacturing here in Kilmarnock.

"We must now focus on realising the maximum return for creditors of the business through the sale of the company's assets."

Mr Burton said a lot of goodwill towards Stoddard remained within the community and the industry.

But he added that major economic factors, such as a chronic over-capacity in the UK carpet manufacturing sector and overseas competition, had prevented a survival plan from being put into place.

The history of Stoddard carpets
21 Feb 05 |  Scotland
Historic firm calls in receiver
06 Jan 05 |  Scotland

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