By Martin Graham
A HORSERIDING equipment firm which was placed into administration as part of the Slumberdown Group closure has been saved after being bought over.
But there is little good news for former Slumberdown employees in Hawick, with administrators Ernst and Young merely saying that they are “still speaking to interested parties” about the possible sale of the Borders plant.
The Slumberdown textiles factory in Hawick closed in early July with the loss of 60 jobs after the firm’s management called in administrators Ernst and Young.
Thomas H Loveday was another company in the group placed into administration at the same time as Slumberdown’s Hawick operation, the other company was Reffond Ltd.
All three companies were registered at the Slumberdown plant in Blyth, Northumberland.
Loveday has now been purchased by Tagg Clothing, which sells equestrian clothing.
Tagg’s parent company TSS&P is based in Derby, where director Bill Eastwood said the deal had been done quickly due to the status of the company.
He said: “Because it was a company we bought out of administration, the process was completed quite quickly, in about a week.
“The main emphasis is getting the business running and getting stock out to customers.”
Seven staff will remain at the company, while two had to be let go.
Mr Eastwood said Slumberdown’s problems had affected Loveday to the point where it couldn’t be funded.
He said: “Slumberdown had been in financial difficulty for some time and hadn’t been able to fund the Loveday business.
“Because there were loans between the parent company and Loveday, that meant that they had to go into administration when Slumberdown did so two weeks ago.”
Ernst and Young came to an agreement with TSS&P two weeks after Colin Dempster and Andy Davison were appointed as joint administrators.
Speaking about the reaction from existing staff, Mr Eastwood said: “We’ve talked to the staff briefly and we got a very positive response.
“People are very happy the business is going forward.
“The administrator had a number of parties interested in the company.
“Some were looking to carry it on and others were looking to buy the stock and close it.
“Loveday is basically a design and distribution business that has manufacturing done overseas, and a lot of the containers have been held up in the docks because of the administration.
“We’re looking to get these to the customers.”
Hawick lies within the constituency of Scottish Secretary Michael Moore.
Reacting to the purchase of Loveday, he said: “It has been very difficult for those employed at Slumberdown, not just in Hawick but across the rest of the UK, and anything that will help the employees has got to be welcomed.
“The administrators are looking hard at all the options and I hope that whether it is with Slumberdown or in some other form all those who have been affected here in Scotland will get new opportunities and I am working very hard with the local agencies to make sure that happens.”