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8th January 2010, Innerleithen

Scottish knitwear firm calls in receivers

Scottish cashmere knitwear manufacturer JJ & HB 1788 Cashmere Mills has called in receivers after the company reportedly ran out of cash after orders plummeted due to the current economic crisis. Receivers are now looking for a buyer for the business.

Just over a year ago, US retailer Brooks Brothers acquired a 25% shareholding in the factory which had belonged to the Italian owned Ballantyne brand. The factory which is located near Peebles in the Scottish Borders region was considered to be one of Scotland’s top quality cashmere knitwear manufacturers and is still known locally as Ballantyne’s.

In October 2008, Ballantyne’s Italian owners also sold a 55% stake in the borders mill to Massimiliano Zegna Baruffa, textiles entrepreneur and former owner of the famous Italian worsted yarn spinner Zegna Baruffa. A statement at the time said that Ballantyne retained a 20% shareholding in the mill.

The Innerleithen factory which has an outstanding reputation for top quality knitwear, especially hand intarsia knitwear, was in Italian ownership for a number of years and its future was under threat until the October 2008 takeover.  In the deal, the owners planned to expand the factory's production capability whilst Brooks Brothers, one of the oldest retailers in the US, was to use the factory as its cashmere knitwear supplier.

The company has been operating under the name of JJ & HB 1788 Cashmere Mills, named after its original founding Ballantyne brothers and the year of establishment of the factory. Ballantyne Cashmere was established in 1921. The mill operated a plant of Shima Seiki SES and FIRST machines as well as 9, 15 and 21 gauge fully fashioned frames.

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