Wedgwood hit by Asia crisis

WATERFORD WEDGWOOD, the Irish glass and chinaware group, announced flat annual pre-tax profits yesterday as the Asian economic crisis hit Wedgwood china results.

But the company said its restructuring, a healthy performance at Waterford crystal and growth potential at Rosenthal, the newly-acquired German china maker, meant it was well positioned for future growth.

"Assuming the world of the next century builds on the aspirations of the last, we look forward to increased prosperity in the years ahead," said Tony O'Reilly, the chairman. Dr O'Reilly is also chairman of Independent Newspapers, publishers of The Independent.

Last year Waterford Wedgwood made pre-tax profits before exceptional items of Irpounds 40.2m, up from Irpounds 40m a year earlier, on group sales of Irpounds 575.3m, up by 37.9 per cent, including Rosenthal.