The 140-year-old textile group called in administrators on August 15 after failing to persuade the PPF to take a payment and a stake in the company in exchange for its pension liabilities. KPMG said it expects to sell the UK knitwear arm, which employs 180 people in Hawick, as a going concern after 35 expressions of interest.
Dawson's chairman David Bolton, installed by major shareholder Peter Gyllenhammar's Leeds Group in 2009, accused the PPF of sinking the business and, in one interview, of having "no responsibility to anyone, certainly not to employment".
Mr Bolton and Leeds Group claim the Pensions Regulator and the PPF dragged out negotiations for more than a year and failed to engage transparently with the company, despite standing to gain more from taking cash and a stake in the firm than from its insolvency.
But the PPF said: "We have a series of principles which are well-known to all advisers, insolvency practitioners, and reconstruction specialists."
Sources say the sheer size of the Dawson pension deficit, calculated at £129m under the Section 75 rule, which shows the liability buy-out cost in today's market, compared with the Dawson balance sheet of around £6m, made it an extreme scenario for the PPF, which rarely lets firms keep trading.
"Nobody likes to see a business failing, but this business has not failed because of the PPF, it has been struggling for many years," an observer said. "Every time they bought a business with a pension fund attached and every time they sold a business but kept the pension scheme and didn't put some of the proceeds into funding that gap but used them to keep the business running, they were storing up problems for the future."
A source close to the talks said although Dawson had been in discussions with its trustees and the regulator since last year, the PPF only became involved in June. He said: "The PPF will only intervene if it is convinced the deal offered by the company is significantly better than the deal from insolvency. There has to be a clear demonstrable market value in keeping the company alive in its current form, and it remains to be seen whether that is the case here."
Dawson's administrators have been encouraged by the level of UK and international interest.
Blair Nimmo, head of restructuring at KPMG, said: "We will now be assessing the bids we have received and speaking to the various parties who have expressed their interest in acquiring the business. We remain confident of achieving a sale in the near future."