Page last updated at 15:06 GMT, Thursday, 6 November 2008

Royal Worcester in administration

China by Royal Worcester Porcelain
Royal Worcester was established in 1751

Pottery company Royal Worcester and Spode has gone into administration, it has been announced.

Administrators Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PWC) said it resulted from the firm's failure to sell its Stoke-on-Trent site and the current economic downturn.

The company, which dates back to 1751, employs 388 people in the UK at sites in Stoke, Lymdale and Worcester.

The US trading subsidiary of the firm, The Royal China and Porcelain Companies Inc, is not affected.

UK management will continue to work with the US bosses who remain autonomous, the accountants said.

Last summer the company laid off 250 workers in Stoke-on-Trent, citing an increase in adverse trading conditions.

'Buyer sought'

The firm has been hit by changing tastes and cheaper imports in recent years and work was moved from the Severn Street factory to Stoke-on-Trent and abroad to cut costs two years ago.

Matthew Hammond of PWC, said the firm had faced a restructuring in recent years, which included the sale of property to reduce debt.

"However, the inability to complete the proposed sale of a site of strategic importance in Stoke and the effect of the current economic downturn on sales has led to the decision by the directors of Royal Worcester and Spode Ltd to place the company into administration," he said.

"Our immediate priority now is to review all options for the company and immediately seek a buyer for the business. "

PWC said it was working with the firm's suppliers, employees and customers to try and find a solution "to provide a structure to take the business forward".


The firm has UK sites in Stoke, Lymdale and Worcester

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