Jobs safe vow after Holland & Sherry sale

HOLLAND & Sherry, the Peebles-based cloth producer which also makes suits for the Royal Family and entertainers such as rap star P Diddy, has been snapped up by a US-based consortium led by Individualised Apparel Group (IAG), for an undisclosed sum.

The firm is being sold by London-based private equity firm Gresham, which led a management buy-out deal at the company in 1996. The new owners have assured the workforce there will be no job losses.

The deal marks an equity exit for all three stakeholders, including Gresham, but chief executive and major shareholder Charles Stewart will continue to head the company. "Holland & Sherry remains unchanged," he said.

Although the value of the sale was not be revealed, James Barbour-Smith, portfolio director at Gresham, said investors had "doubled their money".

Holland & Sherry’s annual pre-tax profits hit 1.4 million last year, while turnover was more than 13 million. IAG, a major client before the deal, will use the experience of the Scottish firm to boost its international business interests, Barbour-Smith said. "The company is not just buying a business, it is buying its expertise as well," he said.

Stewart, who has been with the firm since 1968, said the buy-out came about after the success of the company during the past five years attracted interest. "Our annual profit of 1.4 million has been steady since 1998," he said. "We haven’t made a loss for 30 years."

He added: "We have also retained focus on a specific market. As a maker of luxury cloth we are unique in Britain, and have only two rivals worldwide - in Paris and Brussels."

Holland & Sherry employs 133 staff across the UK, and 67 in Scotland. The company has a broad international base, supplying upmarket tailors in Italy, France, Australia and Canada.

Barbour-Smith added: "The success of the company was purely down to the board, particularly Charles Stewart. They did a terrific job building up the business."

Holland & Sherry is famous for supplying luxury products to the wealthy. The firm owns a number of tailoring businesses, including Savile Row’s Bernard Weatherall, tailor to the Queen.

And the firm recently diversified into interior designs, working in conjunction with celebrity favourite Kelly Toppen, who decked out the home of David and Victoria Beckham.