Two decades after it was bought by U.S.-based Milliken & Company, the Stroud textile business Milliken Woollen Speciality Products has returned to British ownership.
The business has been christened WSP Textiles Ltd., with three senior members of the management team joining a new board of directors.
The former Milliken Woollen Specialty Products management team who have seats on the board are the new chief executive David Smith, sales director Duncan Kettell and manufacturing director Malcolm Fallows.
They will be joined by non-executive chairman Michael Henderson, a former director of the textile conglomerate Coats Viyella.
All 160 employees will remain with the firm.
The acquisition was arranged by Vespa Capital, a private-equity firm that helps management teams acquire and develop the businesses they manage, and the board is completed by Vespa Capital partners Nigel Hammond and Matt Lyons.
SaidHammond: “We are delighted to be investing in a world-class UK-based manufacturer and look forward to supporting the management team in delivering their investment plans. We believe the number of people playing tennis and snooker will increase around the world, particularly inAsia, and this will underpin the company’s growth prospects.”
The original company had made cloth since the 13th century and the WSP acronym recognises the founding mill owners, who were called Winterbotham, Strachan and Playne.
Today the Strachan brand has a high profile in the snooker market, while Playne tennis ball cloth can be found on Dunlop,Wilson, Head, Tretorn and Babolat balls, used at many tournaments includingWimbledonand the French Open.
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