Jobs in balance at carpet company

Share this article

TIME is running out for Chorley carpet manufacturer Thomas Witter after administrators called in to help save the cash-strapped firm failed to find a buyer.

Manufacturing of the tufted carpets at the Froom Street-based company has now stopped with the loss of around 100 jobs.

Around 30 to 40 people are still on site dealing with debt collection, returns, the factory shop and security.

Director of corporate recovery at High Court-appointed administrators Begbies Traynor, Gary Lee, said: “The administration is still continuing on site.

“There are people still asking for information about the property, land and machinery, but we have had no formal offers for the business as a going concern. But we never say never.

“We are still trying to sell it as a going concern. If someone wants a manufacturing facility in Chorley then we would advertise and pull the people back we have had to let go.

“We are keeping our fingers crossed but the longer it goes on, the less hope there is.”

The company, which had a turn over of 18 million last year, collapsed when the group of which it is part went into liquidation last month.

The problems had stemmed from other companies within the group, not carpet related, suffering financial difficulties and causing a knock on effect.

The news of the troubled company came as a blow to Chorley as Witter’s had long been considered a success story. During its heyday when it manufactured a range of different floor coverings, it employed around 1,000 people at its four sites in the town.

The Froom Street site is the only one remaining.

Mr Lee said that only a handful of the company’s assets had been sold off so far with the major items of machinery still remaining in case a buyer is found.

But, he added: “We have a duty to maximise realisations for the creditors. Whether someone was interested in it as an industrial site, for housing or retail, we would have a duty to explore them.

“But we haven’t had any interest for houses or retail, we have had offers for manufacturing but they were too low and we’ve had to reject them.”