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Carloway Mill secures temporary respite

A Harris Tweed mill that was under threat of closure has been temporarily refinanced by its founding directors Alan Bain, Derek Reid and Roddy Macaskill, as it continues to seek a buyer.

Carloway Mill

Carloway Mill

Carloway Mill

The directors at Carloway Mill, which employs 27 people on the west of the Isle of Lewis and provides yarn to 30 weavers, decided to invest to “clean up the balance sheet and present a healthy picture to investors”, Bain told Drapers.

The mill was set to enter voluntary administration last month but the directors stepped in to preserve the future of its iconic cloth.

Bain said that there was a lot of demand for the cloth, but the problem has been cash flow.

“We have a meeting next week about a five-year agreement that would take a significant portion of production, but we’re not in a position to handle all the orders we have,” he explained. “With investment we could get another carding machine and increase production further.”

The mill is hoping to attract a new buyer or investment before May, but Bain said the directors have the ability to keep it afloat beyond that date to give stability to the business and staff.

“What is encouraging is that the price of the finished product is coming more in line with what it costs to produce it. Harris Tweed is an artisanal product and it is important that the skills continue for generations to come.”

Carloway Mill is the smallest of the three Harris Tweed mills in the Outer Hebrides, producing around 6% of the 1.7 million metres produced each year.



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