Royal Doulton shuts last British factory

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Royal Doulton is closing its last factory in Britain with the loss of 525 jobs, the luxury ceramics maker said yesterday.

Royal Doulton is closing its last factory in Britain with the loss of 525 jobs, the luxury ceramics maker said yesterday.

The remaining 50 staff from the potbank, inBurslem, Stoke-on-Trent, will move to a facility being built near by in the city's Festival Park, which will include a visitor centre, and which will manufacture limited edition and high value products.

The group said that an exceptional charge resulting from these actions - estimated at around £8.5m - will be taken in 2004 to the group's profit and loss account.

Trade union officials attacked the group's decision to close its last major manufacturing facility in the city.

The general secretary of the Ceramic and Allied Trades Union, Geoff Bagnall, said he was disgusted at the announcement, which came in an official statement to the London Stock Exchange after rumours of the job cuts surfaced in media reports. "The decision is an appalling one for the city and most importantly for the workers," he said.

"The real problem with the company is not the workers or the product, but the management. It's a classic situation of management led by donkeys."

Royal Doulton, whose shares closed slightly higher yesterday at 8.12p is valued at around £26m. The stock has shed about 96 per cent of its value since the end of 1996.

Royal Doulton has closed almost 200 shops over the past six years and moved some production from the UK to Indonesia. The company, founded by Sir Henry Doulton in 1877, has cut prices amid waning demand. Sales have slid by more than half since 1997.

Comments