Directors resign as Waterford put into receivership


Sir Anthony O'Reilly has resigned from the board of Waterford Wedgwood, along with three other directors, following today's announcement that the troubled company had gone into receivership.

Sir Anthony, Lady O’Reilly, Redmond O’Donoghue and Patrick Molloy resigned as directors of Waterford Wedgwood and from subsidiary boards, effective immediately, the company said in a statement this evening.

Efforts were underway today to save hundreds of jobs after a receiver was appointed to the luxury goods firm and its shares suspended.

David Carson, a partner in Deloitte Ireland, has been appointed receiver of the Irish operations of Waterford Wedgwood and a number of its trading subsidiaries. Partners in Deloitte were expected to be appointed as administrators to Waterford Wedgwood’s UK operations later today.

Waterford has also requested its stock be suspended from trading on the Irish Stock Exchange with immediate effect. The company employs 800 staff in Waterford.

Regional Secretary of the Unite trade union Jimmy Kelly said union officials had been assured by management that the company will be maintained as a going concern "for as long as is possible”. “The union will work closely with any prospective purchasers of the business so as to ensure we save the maximum number of quality jobs.”

A representative of the receiver was meeting workers today to explain the implications of today's move.

Waterford chief executive David Sculley said he was "disappointed" that some 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," he said.

The company has reported five years of losses.

Wateford said in a statement this morning that “exhaustive efforts” had been made to restructure the businesses.

“However, as trading conditions deteriorated, it became apparent that a restructuring of the businesses could not be achieved in an acceptable timescale.”

Following the failure of management to secure a buyer “the appointment of a receiver was necessary”, the statement said.

Sir Anthony said: "The board has acted tirelessly in its efforts to resolve the company's issues as a going concern.

"And the principal shareholders have invested in support of this business for almost 20 years. We are consoled only by the fact that everything that could have been done, by management and by the board, to preserve the group, was done."

Mr Carson said the businesses would trade while a sale of the business as a "going concern" was pursued.

“My team will work closely with the management and employees together with customers and suppliers to ensure operations continue effectively and efficiently while a sale of the business is sought,” Mr Carson said.

The goup has an overall workforce of almost 8,000 and also has a factory in Barlaston, Stoke-on-Trent in the UK which employs 1,100 people.