Wedgewood to expand in China
Wedgwood’s parent company, WWRD, which also owns Waterford and Royal Doulton, has been put on the market by its private equity group owners, KPS Capital. With the news of the sale came news that the company was planning a major expansion in Hong Kong. The company has 35 stores in China with two flagship stores in Shanghai.
A company subsidiary, Waterford Wedgwood Hong Kong, will buy the assets of its distributor, Shanghai Baolong International Trading Co., and acquire store leases, which would increase its store count in greater China to 56.
“The acquisition of a significant number of Waterford and Wedgwood retail stores from Baolong in China positions WWRD perfectly to engage and meet the needs of affluent Chinese consumers,” group vice president Jim Harding said.
Though WWRD was founded in 1759, it hit hard times in the last decade and was purchased by KPS Capital for £82 million in 2009 after WWRD had racked up €800 in debts and pension liabilities. KPS was able to return the company to profitability with sales of £296.7 million last fiscal year with profits of £36 million. KPS expects to get strong interest from Asian investors, as Asia accounts for nearly 40 percent of the company’s revenue.