Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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formerly J. and P. Coats, Patons and Baldwins

1986 Coats Viyella formed by merger of Coats Paton and Vantona Viyella

1980s Built a new mill to produce Viyella cloth in Barrowford, Lancashire but this was demolished in 1999.

1997 December: proposed to demerge the clothing divisions (to be called Viyella) from the threads and precision engineering division (which would be called Coats)[1]

1998 The split was delayed because of deterioration in the business and volatility in the stock market[2]. December: proposed to sell the engineering business[3]

1999 Sold the engineering business, called Dynacast, which made zip fasteners, and plastic components for razors and for cars, to Cinven, leaving the valuation of the rest of the group at virtually nil[4]

1999 Took over rival Hicking Pentecost, which owned Barbour Threads[5]

2000 Coats Viyella decided to get out of the clothing industry[6]

2001 Name changed to Coats

2002 Coats underwent major restructuring.

2003 Acquired by a consortium including Guinness Peat Group[7]

2003 Sold off its Viyella and Jaeger fashion retail businesses to Richard Thompson for £1. Weeks later Thompson re-sold them to venture capitalist Harold Tillman[8]. Viyella Ladieswear has since added home furnishings to its range of goods. Viyella is now a fashion brand for clothes and home furnishings made of a variety of fabrics. The original wool/cotton blend is no longer on sale.

2014 Guinness Peat Group renamed itself Coats Group

2014 Coats Group plc. Revenue of $1.6bn. Employs 20,253 persons worldwide. [9] In the 21st century much of Coats manufacturing (now specialising in thread) was moved abroad and it is no longer possible to buy Viyella fabric.

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. The Times, December 18, 1997
  2. The Times, September 10, 1998
  3. The Times, December 04, 1998
  4. The Times, February 18, 1999
  5. The Times, August 10, 1999
  6. The Times, September 07, 2000
  7. The Times October 17, 2003
  8. The Times 10 Mar 2003
  9. 2014 Annual Report p6