Doulton not Waterford“s target

Waterford Wedgwood has denied speculation its decision to become Royal Doulton“s single largest shareholder was the prelude to a takeover bid. Waterford“s finance director Richard Barnes said the mo…

Waterford Wedgwood has denied speculation its decision to become Royal Doulton“s single largest shareholder was the prelude to a takeover bid. Waterford“s finance director Richard Barnes said the move to increase its stake in the Stoke-onTrent rival, from 5.7 to 21.29%, was part of Waterford“s strategy to protect its global position. “It is part of a defensive move to stop somebody else purchasing the company and forming a stronger rival to us, said Barnes. “We do not want to buy Royal Doulton. Our declared strategy is that we are number one or number two in every ceramics or crystal market in the world and that is adequate.” On 4 March, Dublin-based Waterford said it bought just under five million Royal Doulton shares at about 11p, to be followed by a further 500,000 shares to its stake, at 14p per share. Barnes said the purchase would also allow luxury goods maker Waterford to continue with its plan to rationalise the beleaguered ceramics industry. “The industry is poorly profitable and while competitors make money they do not make a suitable return on their investments.” Waterford believes there needs to be further restructuring on an international level and there are synergies between our company and lots of others. “We are determined to work with them to make sure all of these synergies are bought forward.”