Hunter Rubber Company - the British green rubber boots manufacturer beloved of the Queen - has called in the administrators after 50 years of business, accountancy firm KPMG said yesterday.
The firm, whose Wellington boots have long been a must-have item for the country set, as well as trendy London-types like Kate Moss, has collapsed due to high manufacturing costs despite increased sales, KPMG said.
It puts more than 100 jobs at risk.
"We will be looking to sell the business and are confident this will be achieved, as the Hunter brand is held in such high esteem worldwide," Richard Fleming, joint administrator and partner at KPMG's corporate recovery practice said.
Hunter Rubber has revenues of about £8.3 million, KPMG said, but the company has been making a loss for some time due to high manufacturing costs and the expansion of its business to the United States.
According to documents filed with the UK's official company registration agency Companies House, Hunter, reported a loss of almost £600,000 for the period September 2003 to February 28 2005, when it had net debt of £2.03 million.
Hunter's Wellington boots have traditionally been a staple of British country life. However, recent years have seen celebrities including Kate Moss and Madonna joining the "green Welly brigade". The firm, which employs about 100 staff, now manufactures its flagship 'Wellies' in red, blue and pink.
KPMG said the firm would continue trading while a buyer was sought. Hunter makes up to 200,000 pairs of 'Wellies' a year with handmade, designer versions costing hundreds of pounds.
The firm has been making wellington boots in Scotland since 1856, when the North British Rubber Company was founded. Production took off at the outbreak of the First World War, when the company was asked by the Government to make a boot suitable for use by troops in flooded trenches. It went on to make nearly 1.2 million pairs.