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From The Times.....

Klick and Max Spielmann photo-processing jobs saved Ian King, Deputy Business Editor

Some 545 jobs were saved today with the sale of nearly 200 of the Max Spielmann and Klick photo-processing shops to Timpson.

The family-owned shoe repair and keycutting chain is buying 187 of the stores from KPMG, joint administrators to Bowie Castlebank Group, previous owners of the businesses.

Glasgow-based Bowie Castlebank, which dates back to 1865, went into administration three weeks ago because of the slowdown in the photoprocessing and dry cleaning sectors.

It employed 1,664 people in 197 Klick outlets across the UK; 117 Max Spielmann shops in England and the William Munro dry-cleaning chain in Scotland, which has already shut.

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Blair Nimmo, head of restructuring for KPMG in Scotland, said: “I am delighted that we have managed to sell a significant part of the business as a going concern. Not only has this saved 545 jobs but the sale also ensures that existing customers will continue to be serviced and that the landlords and suppliers will have ongoing business.

"Since our appointment, the commitment on the part of employees in particular and the customers in working with us to preserve the business has been exceptional. This sale represents a fantastic result for everyone involved.”

He said Max Spielmann and Klick would continue trading as photo developing shops — taking Timpson into a new area.

The deal is the second this year in which Timpson, based in Wythenshawe, Manchester, has snapped up assets from an administrator.

In June, it bought Persil Services — a dry-cleaning service operating in 75 Sainsbury’s stores across the UK — from administrator Baker Tilly. The business, in which Unilever had owned a 75 per cent stake, had fallen into administration a month earlier.

John Timpson, the chairman of Timpson, said: “The strength of our core shoe repair business has given us the chance to expand our reputation for unique customer care into another part of the high street. We see this as a great opportunity to apply the successful Timpson culture to another service business.”

He said both chains will be rebranded under the fascia "Max" and will trade as a new division within Timpson, to be run by David Edwards, a former chief executive of Max Spielmann.

Timpson was founded in 1865 in Manchester by William Timpson, great-grandfather of Mr Timpson, whose son, Edward, was elected as a Conservative MP in May’s Crewe & Nantwich by-election.

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