Waterford Files for Bankruptcy Protection

Waterford Wedgwood PLC filed for bankruptcy protection on Monday after attempts to restructure the struggling business or find a buyer failed.

Four administrators from business advisory firm Deloitte were appointed to run the company’s businesses in Britain and Northern Ireland, while a Deloitte partner in the Irish Republic was appointed as receiver of Waterford Wedgwood PLC, the ultimate parent of the U.K. companies, and other Irish subsidiaries.

The London-based maker of classic china and crystal said in a statement on Monday said it has also has requested that its stock units be suspended from trading on the Irish Stock Exchange

“The Board of Directors has for some time, and throughout the periods of forbearance last referred to in the Company’s announcement of December 22, 2008, been focused on the recapitalization of the Company, and more recently on active discussions regarding the possible investment in the Company as a going concern,” the company said in a statement.

“I am disappointed that certain of the Group’s UK and Irish subsidiaries have had to go into administration and receivership, but we remain optimistic that ongoing discussions will result in a buyer being found for the businesses,” said David Sculley, Group Chief Executive Officer, Waterford Wedgwood plc.

Josiah Wedgwood opened the first Wedgwood factory in Stoke-on-Trent, central England, in 1759. It began making bone china in the 19th century.

Waterford Crystal traces its lineage to a factory opened in Waterford, southeast Ireland in 1783, although that business failed in the 1850s. The brand was revived by Czech immigrant Miroslav Havel in 1947.

Waterford acquired Wedgwood in 1986 to form the present company, listing on the stock exchange and expanding overseas in the 1990s before buying fellow Stoke-on-Trent ceramics maker Royal Doulton in 2005.

Much of the business has now shifted offshore, where it employs 5,800 people, including 1,500 people at a plant in Jakarta, Indonesia, which produces most of the company’s ceramics. The majority of its crystal production has been handed to Eastern European subcontractors.

The company employs a work force of 1,900 in Britain, including around 600 in Stoke-on-Trent and 800 in Waterford.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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