Waterford: markets crisis may delay equity issue

Waterford Wedgwood told the the stock market on 8 October 2008 that it could be the middle of December before it concludes a placing to raise EUR 78.7 million in much-needed cash. The company blamed t…

Waterford Wedgwood told the the stock market on 8 October 2008 that it could be the middle of December before it concludes a placing to raise EUR 78.7 million in much-needed cash. The company blamed the current volatility in financial markets. Waterford Wedgwood“s placing is part of a EUR 153.7 million equity fund-raising by the troubled crystal and ceramics maker as it seeks to fund a major reorganisation of its activities. An open offer to raise up to EUR 101.7 million was due to close on 10 October 2008, with shareholders set to vote on it at an extraordinary general meeting on 13 October. The open offer includes a commitment from Sir Anthony O“Reilly and his brother-in-law, Peter Goulandris, to contribute EUR 60 million to the funding round. They own 51% of the firm. Corporate Partners, a private equity fund managed by a division of investment bank Lazard, has given an undertaking to pay EUR 15 million. In a statement, Waterford Wedgwood said: “The company confirms that the placing process … is under way at this time. With the continuing unprecedented turbulence in global capital markets, the placing is not likely to complete until sometime after completion of the open offer”. The company added that the placing was “required” to be completed by 30 November 2008 or, “if so agreed”, by 15 December. A spokesman for Waterford Wedgwood insisted that the placing was not being delayed and said the luxury goods group“s announcement on 8 October 2008 was designed to keep the market informed of its progress. Details of the fund-raising were released by Waterford Wedgwood on 16 September 2008. It will use the proceeds to extend its cost-reduction plan, finance additional marketing and reduce debts.