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TOP Italian fashion houses are lining up to buy Dawson International after a dramatic cut in losses by the troubled Scots group.

Financial analysts say Prada are favourites to take over the textile company - who own the prestigious Ballantyne cashmere brand.

In the last year, Dawson sold their famous Pringle knitwear brand to Hong-Kong-based Fang Brothers for a bargain pounds 6million.

That allowed Dawson to cut costs and focus on their cashmere operations.

Yesterday, Dawson reported the first real recovery signs, with losses dropping sharply from pounds 56million in 1999 to just pounds 3.5million last year.

They announced they were to invest heavily in the Ballantyne label.

The brand's Vision collection made its catwalk debut at London Fashion Week, helping to boost sales by almost 25 per cent.

The company were left reeling last month as talks on an pounds 85million takeover with finance group Guiness Peat collapsed, despite the firm building up a 21.3 per cent stake.

Dawson's shares nosedived on the news, with the company's value dropping to under pounds 55million.

The company now have a workforce of around 1000, compared with 7000 when the business was in its heyday 10 years ago.
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Title Annotation:Money Page
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Mar 2, 2001
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