Page last updated at 13:23 GMT, Wednesday, 17 June 2009 14:23 UK

Cashmere business sold to Chinese

Todd & Duncan supplies yarn to some of the world's largest fashion houses

The textile firm, Dawson International, is selling off its cashmere division, Todd & Duncan to a Chinese company.

Todd & Duncan is 140 years old and employs 200 workers at its base in Kinross where it spins cashmere yarn for top fashion houses.

It is being sold to the Ningxia Zhongyin Cashmere Company for £6.5m.

Dawson International said the Chinese company would rename the company Todd & Duncan Ltd and would take on the existing workforce.

The company's chief executive, Andy Bartness, said: "Zhongyin are committed to manufacturing cashmere yarn from a Scottish base and maintaining a Scottish workforce."

Mr Bartness will act as a part-time consultant for the new company for a period of 18 months.

Douglas Fraser
Douglas Fraser
Scottish Business editor

It's a small deal but a big sign of the times.

After billions of pounds and dollars of inward investment were poured into China to create the manufacturing giant it is today, its manufacturing companies are now using their clout to go searching for overseas acquisitions and vertical integration.

That includes giant deals to access raw materials in Africa and South America. Closer to home, the car industry in England already has established investment from China.

Now with this small breakthrough in Scottish manufacturing - and with textiles being Scotland's longest established industry - China's fast-growing economic clout is adding to the inward investment presence from America, Japan, South Korea and India.

As part of the sale, Dawson International said it would buy yarn from Todd & Duncan Ltd for four years.

Todd & Duncan supplies yarn to some to some of the world's largest fashion houses including Gucci, Prada and Chanel.

It sources most of its yarn from China and exports around 60% of its product to the European market.

However, last year it made an operating loss of £500,000 as it faced intense competition from Europe and rising costs.

The Conservative MSP for Mid Scotland & Fife, Liz Smith, said she hoped the deal would provide an opportunity to take the company forward.

She said: "The highly skilled workforce based at Kinross Mill, as well as the strategic site, provide a great opportunity for the new company to develop the business and I hope that they will go from strength to strength."

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