Historic pottery maker goes into administration

Fri Nov 7, 2008 12:16pm EST
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LONDON (Reuters Life!) - One of Britain's most venerable pottery makers, Royal Worcester & Spode, fell victim to the financial crisis and went into administration on Thursday, business services firm PricewaterhouseCoopers said.

The porcelain and fine china maker, which traces its roots back to 1751, owns plants in Stoke and Worcester, in central England, and employs 388 people in Britain.

PricewaterhouseCoopers, appointed administrator of the company, said it would review all options and immediately seek a buyer for the business.

Matthew Hammond, a partner of PricewaterhouseCoopers, said Royal Worcester & Spode had been restructuring in recent years by cutting costs, outsourcing production and selling 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 & Spode Ltd to place the company into administration," he said in a statement.

The company's U.S. trading subsidiary, The Royal China and Porcelain Companies Inc, is not affected by the move and the company's products will remain on sale in shops.

The news was announced on the same day that the Bank of England slashed interest rates by 1.5 percentage point to 3 percent, the lowest in more than half a century, in an attempt to stop Britain sliding into a deep recession.

The British economy shrank for the first time in 16 years in the third quarter and most economists expect further contraction through next year.

(Reporting by Adrian Croft; Editing by Paul Casciato)