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East Anglia Future 50

Colchester-based Alstons Upholstery sold to Thai firm

PUBLISHED: 14:41 29 April 2015 | UPDATED: 14:41 29 April 2015

David Alston.

David Alston.

A Colchester-based family upholstery firm has been sold, bringing an end to an era.

John Alston.John Alston.

Alstons has been acquired by a joint venture consisting of the existing management team and Thailand Carpet Manufacturing Public Company (Thailand Carpet Manufacturing).

The business will continue as before and staff will not be affected by the deal, the new owners have confirmed.

The business, which enjoys annual sales of £30million, will continue as before and its 240 staff will not be affected by the deal, the new owners have confirmed.

The sale, for an undisclosed sum, marks the end of an era for the firm, which was run by the Alston family for five generations.

Brothers David and John Alston said the decision wasn’t an easy one, but both felt it was the right time to “explore other opportunities”.

Alstons management team will continue the day to day running of the business and the company will benefit from new investment.

A separate family business, Alstons Cabinets in Ipswich, which was run by John Alston and employed 130 staff, was closed in 2011 after it was hit by an influx of low-priced foreign competition. But Alstons Upholstery Ltd, established in 1951, was unaffected and continued to thrive.

Thailand Carpet Manufacturing, listed on the Stock Exchange of Thailand, is managed by the Srivikorn Group and the Srivikorn family are major shareholders in the company.

An announcement was made today to the Stock Exchange of Thailand and the deal is due to complete on June 19.

The management team comprising Philip Grindrod, Terry Cramphorn and Andrew Kennaugh will hold a significant shareholding in Alstons, while Thailand Carpet Manufacturing will hold the majority of the shares.

David Alston will remain involved with the business as an adviser focusing particularly around designs and the creative aspects of Alstons, allowing the business to benefit from his experience. John Alston is looking at pursuing new opportunities.

Despite a number of approaches for the business, David and John Alston said they felt that the commercial and cultural fit with Thailand Carpet Manufacturing represented the best option, both for them as owners and for the business.

Chairman of Thailand Carpet Manufacturing Pimol Srivikorn said: “We are delighted to be investors in a prestigious company such as Alstons and look forward to helping the business grow further. We appreciate the culture of the firm and its values that resonate greatly with ours as a business. This is an exciting time to be involved with Alstons, helping to further realise its great potential.”

In a joint statement, David and John Alston said: “We have had a number of approaches for our business, but it was very clear that the combination of the existing management team and Thailand Carpet Manufacturing was the best way forward in so many ways. The culture, commercial knowledge and investment into the company will benefit Alstons immensely.

“As owners of a family business, with a long history in Colchester, the decision to sell wasn’t an easy one. But we both felt that the time was right to explore other opportunities and we are confident that Alstons will further prosper under its new owners.

“We cannot thank our past and present staff enough for all their efforts under our family’s ownership.”

Philip Grindrod, who becomes managing director, said: “The change of ownership at Alstons marks the start of a new phase in the company’s future. We all appreciate the significant contribution made by David and John in building a successful business. We will now build upon that, as we take Alstons forward with a highly skilled, dedicated and committed workforce.”

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