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HIE assists Bute firm with designs on international success

16 March 2011

An island business originally established to provide work for service personnel returning home after the Second World War is to re-energise its brand, aided by £200,000 from HIE.

Bute Fabrics, based in Rothesay on Bute, is this year celebrating its 65th birthday. The company now specialises in designing and manufacturing hard wearing and attractive textiles for the contract upholstery industry.

Today (Wednesday 16 March), the Bute Fabrics mill will be visited by the HIE Board and Chief Executive as part of a wider two-day visit to Argyll and the Islands. Board members will also meet Managing Director James Sprint to hear the background to the business and its exciting plans for the future.

A modern company with a traditional heritage, Bute Fabrics currently employs 37 staff and works with leading contemporary designers from across the world. Previous key customers include Hong Kong Airport and Bank of America, with regular clients including architects, furniture designers and interior designers. To celebrate its milestone birthday, the company has launched 24 new contemporary colours of its most successful product, called Tweed.

James Sprint, Managing Director at Bute Fabrics, said: "We are delighted to be hosting the HIE Board at the factory and have the opportunity to show them first hand what we do. Only recently we won a new contract in New York and are looking at further opportunities across Scandinavia and the Far East."

William Roe, Chair of HIE, said: "This visit to Argyll and the Islands will be a great official opportunity to see some of our most ambitious businesses in action and to hear at first hand what they are looking for from Highlands and Islands Enterprise. Bute Fabrics has a long history in Rothesay and is one of the key private sector employers on the island. Its plan to pursue opportunities in additional international markets is one we strongly support."

The HIE Board will follow the tour of Bute Fabrics with a meeting with Bute Community Land Company, before meeting with a cross section of business from across the island to discuss HIE's activities in the area.

Day two includes a visit to the renewable energy manufacturing plant at Machrihanish, and meetings with representatives from the Kintyre Development Company and Machrihanish Airbase Community Company.

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