The industrial threads businesses of French textile company Dollfus-Mieg et Cie (DMC) have been sold off in two parts to avoid monopolies issues being raised.
The largest part of the group has been bought by Coats Viyella. UK-based Donisthorpe and Company Limited, which accounts for about 25 per cent of the DMC industrial sewing threads division, has been bought by the German group Amann and Sohne.

A spokesman for Coats Viyella said the deal was in line with the company's strategic aim of concentrating on the threads business - Coats is the largest player in the market - and on the Jaeger and Viyella retail brands. The company recently disposed of its contract clothing division to a management buy-out team.

The DMC businesses bought by Coats Viyella include manufacturing units in France, Portugal, Columbia and Tunisia and distribution units in Eastern Europe. A Coats Viyella spokesman said: "DMC wanted to get out of industrial threads. The businesses we have bought are relatively small compared with our overall threads business, but Donisthorpe was never part of the deal to avoid possible monopolies issues."

Donisthorpe and Company Limited, which is based in Leicester, has units in the UK, the Republic of Ireland and Morocco. The company's sales director, Kenny McMaster, said today that its acquisition by the Amann Group would provide the company, which was established in 1854, with a secure future.

He said that aside from apparel threads, Amann was strong in embroidery threads and special products like kevlar. "Putting that together with us will produce a mix that I think will be a very good one. There is no doubt that Amman has bought a very good company. It has boosted its presence here in the UK as a result of it and I think it will enable us to strengthen our presence both in domestic and export markets," he said.

Some 200 people are employed by Donisthorpe, but Kenny McMaster quashed any fears that the deal could lead to jobs disappearing overseas. "The sewing thread industry is not a labour intensive industry, it is capital intensive. You could not afford to put a thread factory in every developing country, nor would you want to do so. We are investing heavily and we are very confident about the future," he said.

"The key is distribution and Amann has a very good distribution network. That will be a great help to what we have here, which is a centre of manufacturing excellence," said Mr McMaster, who said that the deal would take the Amman Group's turnover to more than £130m.

By Clive Hinchliffe