Page last updated at 19:06 GMT, Friday, 27 February 2009

US company takes over Wedgwood

Wedgewood cup and saucer
UK production is expected to move to Indonesia

Waterford Wedgwood, which went into administration earlier this year, has been sold to a US private equity firm.

The iconic but debt-laden company, which is known for its Wedgwood pottery, Royal Doulton and Waterford crystal, was hit hard by the downturn.

KPS Capital Partners, the US-based private equity firm, will acquire most of the firm's UK and overseas assets.

It is not clear what will happen to the firm's UK production. There were fears it could be moved to Indonesia.

"We are pleased to announce that we have signed a contract with KPS Capital Partners," said Angus Martin, a partner with the firm's administrator Deloitte.

KPS is buying a range of businesses under the Waterford group, including Royal Doulton and Waterford Crystal.

Call to protect jobs

Stoke-on-Trent mayor Mark Meredith called on KPS Capital to maintain jobs and production in the city.

"Wedgwood belongs in Stoke-on-Trent," he said.

"I will be seeking urgent talks with the new owners so we can work for the good of the company and the city," he added.

The iconic company, founded in 1759, went into administration on 5 January.

In 1987, it merged with the well-known Irish brand Waterford Crystal to create Waterford Wedgwood.

The firm employed 1,900 staff in the UK and 600 at its factory in Barlaston, Stoke-on-Trent, but has announced 367 redundancies.

The Irish section of the firm has about 800 staff based in Waterford.

Elsewhere, the firm employs 5,800 people. Indonesia is the largest manufacturing centre, with 1,500 people working on production.

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