Waterford Wedgwood

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Waterford Wedgwood
Industry China, porcelain and glass manufacture
Fate Assets purchased by KPS Capital Partners
Founded 1987
Defunct 2009
Headquarters Waterford, Ireland
Key people Tony O'Reilly (lead shareholder, Chairman 1995–2009), Peter Goulandris
Subsidiaries Waterford Crystal
Wedgwood
Rosenthal AG
Royal Doulton
Cashs of Ireland

Waterford Wedgwood plc is the former holding entity for a group of companies headquartered in Ireland, which specialised in the manufacture of high quality china, porcelain and glass. The group was dominated by Tony O'Reilly and his immediate family, and the family of Mr. O'Reilly's second wife, Chryss, the two families together having had invested hundreds of millions of euros in it. Its financial record had been mixed, and significant cost-cutting had been ongoing for many years. In 2009, parts of the Group, including the main Irish and UK operations, were placed in receivership[1] and were acquired by the New York-based private equity firm KPS Capital Partners.

History[edit]

The company was founded in 1987 through the merger of Waterford Crystal and Wedgwood, to create an Ireland-based luxury brands group. After the 2009 purchase by KPS Capital, Wedgwood became part of a group of companies known as WWRD, an acronym for "Waterford Wedgwood Royal Doulton."

The firm traced its heritage to the 1780s.[2] The group's constituent companies were Waterford Crystal, with brands including Waterford, Marquis by Waterford and a number of Waterford-designer cooperations, Wedgwood (Josiah Wedgwood and Sons), with the range of Wedgwood brands, and English Royal Doulton. The group also licenced its brands to other companies.

Financials[edit]

Sales for the year to 5 April 2008 were 671.8 million euros, down 9.4% year-on-year. Losses were 231.1 million euros, up from 71.3 million euros in the previous year. On 2 April 2008, the CEO, Peter Cameron (previously COO, and prior to that CEO of acquisition All-Clad), resigned, and was replaced by David Sculley. Operational costs were reduced, with around 4,000 jobs removed or in the process of being removed between early 2005 and late 2008. In October 2008, the shares fell to .001 euro cent.[3] Following the failure of the 2008 share issue and the subsequent defaulting of bank covenants by the company in December 2008, Tony O'Reilly, Jr stated in January 2009 that the company was in advanced negotiations with a US private equity company concerning a rescue package, which would result in the bulk of the company's production moving away from the UK and Ireland to Indonesia (where the company already has some production facilities. On 5 January 2009, David Sculley, chief executive officer of Waterford Wedgwood PLC, announced that Waterford Wedgwood had been put into receivership after the heavily indebted firm had failed to find a buyer.[1] Union members organised and occupied the Dublin offices lobby and the Kilbarry Plant protesting the withdrawal of credit lines by The Bank of America and threatened 480 redundancies. Their aim, according to blogger, Fiona Harrington "to either have the company nationalised, or to maintain it as a going concern until a buyer can be found."[4]

On 27 February 2009, Waterford Wedgwood's receiver, David Carson of Deloitte, announced that the New York-based private equity firm KPS Capital Partners had purchased "certain Irish and UK assets of Waterford Wedgwood and the assets of several of its Irish and UK subsidiaries" in a transaction expected to completed in March.[5] 176 out of the threatened 480 jobs were saved, although the deal did not include the Waterford site.[6]

Former directors[edit]

Following the resignations on 5 January 2009 of the Chairman, Senior Independent Director, Lady O'Reilly and a former CEO, and of further directors on the 8th and 9th, and the departure of John Foley, the Board of Directors comprises the below. All resigning directors have also resigned from subsidiary boards.

  • Peter Goulandris, Deputy Chairman
  • David W. Sculley, Group CEO from 1 August 2008, Interim Group CEO (from 2 April 2008), partner in a New York investment firm
  • Anthony Jones, CFO (from November 2007)
  • Mark Downie, Company Secretary
  • Lord Wedgwood
  • Jonathan (Jon) H. Kagan (Lazard)
  • Ali E. Wambold (Lazard)

Up to 5 January 2009, the Board of Directors comprised the below, many having served for a decade or more:

  • Sir Anthony (Tony) O'Reilly, Chairman
  • Peter Goulandris, Deputy Chairman
  • Lady Chryss O'Reilly (née Goulandris)
  • David W. Sculley, Group CEO from 1 August 2008, Interim Group CEO (from 2 April 2008), partner in a New York investment firm
  • Anthony Jones, CFO (from November 2007)
  • Mark Downie, Company Secretary
  • Dr. F. Alan Wedgwood
  • Lord Wedgwood
  • John Foley, CEO of Waterford Crystal
  • Kevin McGoran, Chairman of Waterford Crystal and Fitzwilton plc
  • Ottmar C. Kusel, CEO of Rosenthal AG
  • (P.) Redmond O'Donogue, Group CEO until 31 August 2005
  • Patrick J Molloy, senior independent director
  • Jonathan (Jon) H. Kagan (Lazard)
  • Ali E. Wambold (Lazard)

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Labanyi, David (5 January 2009). "Troubled Waterford put into receivership". The Irish Times (Dublin). Retrieved 5 January 2009. 
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ Dublin, Ireland: The Irish Times, Business section – Markets – online – [2]
  4. ^ "The sound of breaking glass". A World To Win. 05-02-2009. Retrieved 29 July 2009. 
  5. ^ "Waterford Wedgwood bought by US equity firm KPS Capital". The Irish Times. 27 February 2009. Retrieved 27 February 2009. 
  6. ^ "Waterford Wedgwood bought by US equity firm KPS Capital". UTV Business. 23 March 2009. Retrieved 29 July 2009. 

External links[edit]