04/05/2005

Waterford Wedgwood to cut 1,800 jobs

Waterford Wedgwood has announced plans to cut 1,800 jobs as part of a 90 million euro restructuring programme.

The fine crystal and china makers said that the jobs losses would include the loss of 485 jobs at the Dungarvan plant in Ireland, which is to close after being in operation for over 30 years.

The company confirmed that 160 jobs would also go at Rosenthal and a further 200 across the wider Group. 950 jobs at Wedgwood and Royal Doulton – which the company acquired in January – will also be lost. 450 of these have already left the business.

In the trading update issued in March, Waterford Wedgwood announced that sales for the year to March 31 had fallen by 6% on a like-for-like basis.

Sir Anthony O’Reilly, Chairman of Waterford Wedgwood said: “While I very much regret the job losses, these changes are vital to ensure the long term prosperity of this historic company and its key heritage plants in Ireland, England and Germany as we face increasing competition from low cost economies in Asia and elsewhere.

“The task is clear by the challenge is great: we must ensure that our cost base matches revenue levels so that the company is returned to sustained profitability. I am determined that Waterford Wedgwood will become the low-cost operator in its sector.”

Waterford Wedgwood said that the restructuring would be targeted across the group and was aimed at achieve annual savings of approximately 90 million euro once it was fully implemented.

The company said that about 30 million euros would be spent on restructuring at Waterford and Rosenthal in order to remove excess capacity.

Twenty-four million euros will also be invested in reducing overheads and upgrading manufacturing facilities.

(KMcA/SP)

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