Scottish cashmere specialist Dawson International has narrowed its first-half pretax loss to GBP1.6m (US$3.2m) from GBP2.1m last year, and says it has found a buyer for its Dorma home furnishing brand.

Shareholders have also appointed two new board members - David Bolton and Jan Holmstrom - nominated by investor Leeds Group Plc, despite opposition from the company's management.

In its six month trading update yesterday (29 July), Dawson said sales at its Todd & Duncan spinning business rose 9% to GBP15.8m, helped by favourable exchange rates, with the unit's profit rising to GBP0.7m from GBP0.1m a year earlier.

The Knitwear division, which comprises the Barrie and Forte businesses, saw sales up 21% and losses narrow to GBP0.4m from GBP0.9m.

Andy Bartmess, chief executive officer, said that given stable market conditions in the second half, "it is possible that we could see each of Dawson's operating divisions deliver a positive operating profit in 2008."

The Dorma brand is being sold for GBP5m to Dunelm Group, with Dawson having until January 2011 to withdraw from the Dorma branded business.