Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Coats Viyella

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1961 After a merger, Hollins became Viyella International, led by Joe Hyman, who in the next few years acquired a series of related companies, with Viyella growing to be one of the biggest textile businesses in the UK, owning 40 factories across the country.

1970 ICI acquired Viyella and, later in the year, Carrington and Dewhurst, forming Carrington Viyella of which ICI owned c.80 percent[1].

1983 Vantona Textiles acquired Carrington Viyella[2]

The company became Vantona Viyella

1985 Vantona Viyella acquired Nottingham Manufacturing Co

1986 Vantona Viyella acquired Coats Paton[3]

1986 the company became Coats Viyella

In the 1980s built a new mill to produce Viyella cloth in Barrowford, Lancashire (but this was demolished in 1999)

1987 Viyella acquired Youghal Carpets of Co. Cork[4]

1989 Sold Country Casuals to its management

1990 Subsidiary Compton Webb Group of Newport was one of 3 companies licensed to make Nuclear, Biologial and Chemical protective suits for the Ministry of Defence[5]. Sold several subsidiaries to their managements[6]

1991 Tootal Group plc was acquired by Coats Viyella plc[7] which subsequently disposed of several subsidiaries of Tootal.

1995 Acquired Bace Manufacturing, a US precision engineering company specialising in plastics[8]. Sold almost all its yarns and fabrics division and its textile jersey business to its management[9].

1997 December: proposed to demerge the clothing divisions (to be called Viyella) from the threads and precision engineering division (which would be called Coats)[10]

1998 The split was delayed because of deterioration in the business and volatility in the stock market[11]. December: proposed to sell the engineering business[12]

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[13]

1999 Took over rival Hicking Pentecost, which owned Barbour Threads[14]

2000 Coats Viyella decided to get out of the clothing industry[15]

Following increasing emphasis on garment manufacture over the years, 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.

In the 21st century much of Coats manufacturing (now specialising in thread) had been moved abroad and it is no longer possible to buy Viyella fabric.

2001 Name changed to Coats

2002 Coats underwent major restructuring

2003 Sold off its Viyella fashion retail business to Richard Thompson for £1. Weeks later re-sold Viyella to venture capitalist Harris Watson. The brand name Jaeger was also sold. Viyella Ladieswear has since added home furnishings to its range of goods.

2014 Coats Group plc. Revenue of $1.6bn. Employs 20,253 persons worldwide. [16]

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. The Times Aug 08, 1970
  2. The Times, Jan 20, 1983
  3. The Times, February 12, 1986
  4. The Times, April 28, 1987
  5. The Times, August 23, 1990
  6. The Times, October 02, 1990
  7. The Times, May 02, 1991
  8. The Times, February 21, 1995
  9. The Times, March 29, 1995
  10. The Times, December 18, 1997
  11. The Times, September 10, 1998
  12. The Times, December 04, 1998
  13. The Times, February 18, 1999
  14. The Times, August 10, 1999
  15. The Times, September 07, 2000
  16. 2014 Annual Report p6