Carlyle eyes chance to hoover up stricken Axminster Carpets

 
Michael Bow
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AXMINSTER Carpets, the historic carpet maker, could be bought by the same private equity outfit that snapped up failed UK carpet manufacturer Brintons in 2011 if the company files for administration, it emerged yesterday.

Devon-based Axminster, which has woven carpets and rugs for aristocracy and royalty since the eighteenth century, is set to appoint Duff & Phelps as administrators as early as tomorrow after being hit by tough trading conditions.

The firm is continuing to trade but Carlyle Group, the Washington-based private equity firm, said it would give “serious” consideration to exploring an offer for the business if it files for administration, a spokeswoman told City A.M. last night.

Carlyle bought Midlands carpet maker Brintons in 2011 and has a well resourced distressed team, known as Carlyle Strategic Partners, which could move to put together a bid for the firm.

The company, which was founded in Axminster in 1755 by weaver Thomas Whitty, has an enviable heritage of carpet making.

Axminster’s carpets could be found in Chatsworth House and Brighton’s Pavilion and were bought by King George III and Queen Charlotte.

“We continue to be committed to working to achieve the best possible outcome for all concerned and most importantly the staff and suppliers,” company director Joshua Dutfield said last week.