The Queen’s carpet maker Axminster Carpets has gone into administration with the loss of around 80 jobs.
The announcement was made yesterday evening, Wednesday, February 19, by the joint administrators, who on appointment sold the company’s underlay division, Axfelt, to Ulster Carpets.
Axminster Carpets was founded in 1755, specialises in the manufacture of woven carpets using traditional techniques and natural materials, and has supplied carpets to Buckingham Palace.
A further announcement is expected today to confirm the sale of the Axminster Carpet Shop.
Staff working at the manufacturing site have been made redundant while administrators continue to look for a buyer for the remaining assets and brand.
A handful of staff will stay on to work though the company’s order book.
Benjamin Wiles, joint administrator, said: “Despite a number of expressions of interest no acceptable offer for the core carpet business has been received, leaving no option but to appoint administrators while the remaining options are explored.
“The administrators have had to come to the decision that the best possible option for maximising the realisations for the company’s creditors was the immediate sale of its underlay business to Ulster Carpets and the redundancy of the majority of the existing workforce.
“We are continuing to explore all potential options for all or part of the remaining business and assets including the historic brand name itself.”
Ulster Carpets said it would continue to work with existing Axfelt employees at the current site.
David Acheson, Ulster Carpets spokesman, said: “We are delighted to be playing a part in the immediate retention of one part of the facility at the Axminster Carpets site.
“Working with the current employees, Ulster is committed to growing and developing this highly-successful product in Devon.”
Devon County Council said it would be working jointly with partners to support staff facing redundancy
Councillor Rufus Gilbert, Devon County Council cabinet member for economy and skills, said: “We’re extremely sorry to hear that Axminster Carpets has announced it has gone into administration. The company has been an integral part of the town since 1755 and has always had an unrivalled reputation for quality craftmanship.
“We will be working closely with local partner organisations including East Devon District Council and the Department for Work and Pensions to support employees of Axminster Carpets and we will ensure we’re on hand to discuss opportunities for adult learning, qualifications and skills.”
East Devon District Council has organised a host of help and practical advice for staff facing redundancy, including applying for benefits aid, retraining and seeking new employment.
The session, at the Axminster Job Club, at Pippins, in Lyme Road, Axminster, on Thursday, February 27, will be repeated over the following weeks as many times as is necessary to ensure that the needs of all redundant staff are met, the council said.