Wedgwood restores payout as profits double
Wednesday 22 March 1995
Waterford Wedgwood has chosen the bicentenary of the death of its famous co-founder, Josiah Wedgwood, to announce a return to the dividend lists after an absence of seven years.
The shares rose Ir3p to Ir54p after the Irish crystal to upmarket crockery group said it was to pay a higher-than-expected dividend for 1994 of Ir0.8p. Analysts in Dublin had been forecasting that the first payout since 1988 would be just Ir0.5p.
The news came as Waterford, which is based in the eponymous County Waterford in Ireland, revealed that pre-tax profits had more than doubled from Ir£10.1m (£10.4m) to Ir£22.6m (£23.3m) in the year to December.
The strong profits of the past two years follow four years of losses and extensive restructuring. Since 1989, the group's workforce has been cut by 29 per cent to 7,415, with the Wedgwood side alone losing over 2,100 jobs.
But the chairman, Dr Tony O'Reilly, who through Fitzwilton controls nearly 15 per cent of the group, said yesterday that the strategies they had implemented at Wedgwood were now producing a more satisfactory result.
Operating profits from Wedgwood leapt from Ir£8.7m to Ir£15.3m, while the Waterford Crystal business chipped in Ir£7.8m, up from Ir£13m.
Kneale Ashwell, chief executive of Wedgwood, said the figures had been boosted by better controls and greater automation at the tableware group. But Wedgwood has also dumped unprofitable downmarket and inappropriate lines, such as metal saucepans, in its retail outlets and has introduced more "mid-market" products.
Mr Ashwell indicated that the period of shake-out at the group was now, in effect, at an end. He also played down rumours that Morgan Stanley might want to dispose of its near-15 per cent stake in Waterford.
Earnings per share jumped from Ir1.27p to Ir2.9p last year, while gearing has been slashed from 41 to 27.5 per cent.
- 1 Is Gideon Levy the most hated man in Israel or just the most heroic?
- 2 Students offered grants if they tweet pro-Israeli propaganda
- 3 Satellite full of sexually experimental geckos adrift in space, Russia loses control of mission
- 4 Exclusive: Cameron’s ‘Big Society’ in tatters as charity watchdog launches investigation into claims of Government funding misuse
MH17 crash: Investigators discover more human remains and 'huge section of plane'
Susan Sarandon on David Bowie romance: 'He's worth idolising'
Students offered grants if they tweet pro-Israeli propaganda
A day in the life of Vladimir Putin: The dictator in his labyrinth
Exclusive: Cameron’s ‘Big Society’ in tatters as charity watchdog launches investigation into claims of Government funding misuse
The 'scroungers’ fight back: The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Arizona execution lasts two hours as killer Joseph Wood left 'snorting and gasping' for air
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Ukrainian military jet was flying close to passenger plane before it was shot down, says Russian officer
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Massive rise in sale of British arms to Russia
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: victims’ bodies bundled in black bags and loaded onto trains
John Barrowman praised for Commonwealth Games opening ceremony gay kiss
iJobs Money & Business
£600 - £650 per day: Orgtel: Conduct Risk Liaison Manager - Banking - London -...
£18000 - £23000 per annum + Comission: SThree: SThree, International Recruitme...
£280 - £300 per day + competitive: Orgtel: Test Analyst, Edinburgh, Credit Ris...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: SThree Group have been well e...