Business Irish

Monday 24 June 2019

Waterford placed into receivership as no buyer found

Waterford Wedgwood employs around 800 staff in its Irish operations. Sean Dwyer/Bloomberg
Waterford Wedgwood employs around 800 staff in its Irish operations. Sean Dwyer/Bloomberg

Louisa Nesbitt and Dara Doyle

Waterford Wedgwood Plc, the money-losing Irish crystal maker, was placed into receivership and had its shares suspended after managers failed to find a buyer.

David Carson of Deloitte Ireland was appointed as receiver to Waterford and some of its Irish subsidiaries, the Dublin-based company said today in a Regulatory News Service statement. Joint administrators at Deloitte LLP are expected to be appointed to the U.K. company and some of its units later today.

The crystal maker, hurt by competition from Asian rivals and the dollar’s drop against the euro, has posted five years of losses. The company has raised about 400 million euros over four years through share sales to fund job cuts and factory closings. It had about 8,000 employees last year.

“The current global economic conditions have continued to affect the business to the point where the appointment of a receiver was necessary,” Carson said in a separate e-mailed statement today. Managers had sought a buyer for the businesses, though “no firm offer was secured,” he said.

Waterford’s senior lenders agreed last month to suspend a financial-covenant test after the crystal maker skipped a debt payment with banks’ support. That period expired and was not renewed, Waterford said in today’s statement.

The business will continue to trade while Deloitte seeks to sell it as a going concern, Carson said.

The company was created by Waterford’s 1986 acquisition of Wedgwood, which was founded by an 18th-century English potter. Charles Darwin, who devised the theory of evolution, gained the financial security to pursue his scientific research when he married into the Wedgwood family in the 19th century. (Bloomberg)

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