Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Wedgwood lessons!

BY Terry Bankert
I was reminded today that Flint MI USA is not the only city on our Planet Earth in economic harms way.

A STRUGGLING OUT DATED INDUSTRY IS BROUGHT TO ITS KNEES BY THE RECESSION “The recession appears to have brought the problems of the glass, crystal and china industry in the UK to a head after it has struggled for several years” When we are in the bulls eye of an industries economic collapse our cry is “Save Me.” From the side we will say how did this happen.

IT’S THE CREDIT CRUNCH NOT JUST THE INDUSTRY “In addition,...( Wedgwood)... it has felt the dual impact of a credit crunch that has both forced consumers to tighten their belts and made it harder for investors and companies to borrow money. “ The review of Europe media article on Wedgwood focus on the actions of management while assuming that global economic system dysfunctions are the root cause of industry collapses.

READING OF Wedgwood STRIKES TO MY HEART. The similarity of failed financial systems impacting General Motors , its devistation on my home town Flint MI USA, Wedgwood, and its impact on working Irish and English Families maks it clear that the world leaders must hold the banking, investing and other Glogal financial system accountable. Globalization of governmental control,by cordinated regulation, of financial systems is an obvious need.Ask your leaders what is their plan?

WEDGWOOD HEADING TO BANKRUPTCY “The cracks had started to appear a number of years ago, but more than 200 years of Anglo-Irish industrial history was in the balance last night after Waterford Wedgwood called in administrators.” Waterford Wedgwood, the luxury-ceramics-and-glass company WAS controlled by billionaire Anthony O'Reilly...“ We lament for our 50 year old industry failing while theirs are over 200 years old. Where will WE be in 2159?

A CHARISMATIC CAPTAIN OF INDUSTRY WAS AT THE HELM “Sir Anthony displays all the business characteristics of a shrewd leader but his performance is now under critical scrutiny after the Waterford Wedgwood debacle..” One man making his decisions results in a failed national image, the Wedgwood Brand. I wonder why the England is not bailing out this treasure?

JUST ANOTHER RICH GUY WITH A BIG BANKROLL AND EGO? His rugby record is unique. Although he scored only four tries for Ireland between 1955 and 1970, his 38 on two Lions tours to South Africa and New Zealand is a record along with the 38 he scored for the Barbarians in a record 30 appearances.

WHAT DIFFERS SIR ANTHONY FROM THE SMALL MINDS OF THE NOT SO BIG THREE IS THAT HE HAS PUT HIS OWN MONEY INTO PLAY. “Since leading a rescue of the business and becoming chairman in 1993 Sir Anthony has pumped a considerable part of the family fortune (he now has to be content with being Ireland’s sixth-richest man, down to his last £1.2bn according to Forbes) and management time into creating a viable group. “

SIR ANTHONY IS A MANS MAN. HOUSTON WE HAVE A PROBLEM !WHAT IS THE LINE BETWEEN GOOD BUSINESS DECISIONS AND EGO? The O’Reilly history is sprinkled with achievements on the rugby field in the green of Ireland and the red of the Lions.

NOW I AM INTERESTED IN THIS GUY, HE SAVE KETCHUP, A MAJOR FOOD GROUP “He also had a successful early career in the world of business — he is known as the man who made a killing out of ketchup by resurrecting HJ Heinz. “

IF YOU WATCH ANTIQUES ROAD SHOW YOU HAVE HEARD ABOUT WEDGWOOD “The retailer and manufacturer, best known for Wedgwood pottery, Royal Doulton and Waterford crystal, appointed Deloitte as administrator, after it succumbed to hefty debts of €450m (£420m) and tumbling sales and profits.”

THE WORLDS RECESSION STRIKES HOME "The current global economic conditions have continued to affect the business," of the Wedgwood Group

AS WITH THE AUTO INDUSTRY THE HAND WRITING WAS ON THE WALL “There is no precise point when the fortunes of Waterford Wedgwood started to fade, but the writing had been on the wall for some time. Over the years, it had acquired a number of companies. Across its renowned brands, Waterford Wedgwood employed 7,700 staff in the US, Germany, Ireland, UK, Canada, Indonesia, Japan and other Asian countries. “

CREDITORS ARE MOVING ON THE IRISH...oh Danny Boy your Crystal is a cracking... “The heavily indebted maker of Waterford crystal, one of Ireland's most famous brands, failed to buy time from its creditors.”

THIS SOUNDS LIKE THE GM MARKET SHARE “According to the British Ceramic Confederation, Wedgwood accounts for nearly 25 per cent of the value of all table china manufactured in the UK. Around half of the industry's output is exported. “

THEY WERE STRUGGLING BEFORE THE CREDIT CRUNCH “So what went wrong? Even before the credit crunch reared its ugly head in 2007, Waterford Wedgwood, like rival fine china brands, had been struggling. Fellow Staffordshire manufacturer Royal Worcester called in administrators in November. “ I think an administrator is like a Bankruptcy trustee.

THEY WERE BUYING THEIR COMPETITION..ergo GM. “There have been suggestions that it has been struggling for several years, despite buying rivals, such as Edinburgh Crystal.”

THEY WERE INTRODUCING NEW MODELS “New product launches and more modern lines designed by the chef Gordon Ramsay and the designer Sir Terence Conran were an attempt to find new customers for Waterford Wedgwood.

I BET GENERAL MOTORS CANNOT SAY THE FOLLOWING Sir Anthony O'Reilly, the non-executive chairman, said: "We are consoled only by the fact that everything that could have been done, by management and by the board, to preserve the group, was done."

THE GOVERNMENT SAID TIME WILL BE TOUGH FOR A WHILE “The news came as the UK government admitted the recession would probably go on longer than predicted.” I think Obama just said this same thing about America.

CHEAP IMPORT UNDERCUT THEIR MARKET SHARE “From a commercial perspective, Waterford Wedgwood found it increasingly difficult to compete with a raft of cheaper imported rivals, many of whom entirely used manufacturing facilities in low-cost countries, such as China. “

THE HIGH END LINE WAS NOT WHAT THE CONSUMER WANTED..ERGO HUMMER “Robert Clark, a senior partner at Retail Knowledge Bank, said: "Its products are luxury items and there is an awful lot of less expensive everyday ware around that people use and are quite cheap, such as from Bhs and House of Fraser."

FOREIGN COMPETITION WAS KICKING THEIR BUTT..ERGO US Auto Industry He added: "There are a lot of lower-priced alternatives so Waterford Wedgwood's products became more and more niche. They have become more and more sidelined into gifts and upmarket and they have been overtaken by the mass production market."

THE WEAK DOLLAR HURT THEM TOO “Waterford Wedgwood has also suffered from the weak dollar which until recently hit its export costs.”

ITS BRAND IS NO ,LONGER SOUGH AFTER BY CONSUMERS..ERGO OLDSMOBILE, PONTIAC BASICALLY EVERYTHING EXCEPT BUICK....GO FLINT. “As its target market has narrowed, it's fair to say that Waterford Wedgwood has also suffered from becoming increasingly viewed as an "outdated" brand. “

CONSUMERS ARE AFRAID TO SPEND “British shoppers crushed under high levels of personal debt and unwilling to spend. The British government cut sales tax to 15.0%, from 17.5%, at the end of last year, as part of a wider stimulus package designed to spur spending in the tough economic environment. “

WEDGWOOD LIKE GM MOVED JOBS OUT OF THE COUNTRY SEEKING CHEAP LABOR “In recent years, Wedgwood moved a large chunk of ceramics production from Barlaston, Staffordshire, to an industrial site on the edge of Jakarta, Indonesia.” England and Ireland did not properly defend their economic borders. What is the lesson here for the U.S..

TOO LITTLE TOO LATE “Many of Waterford Wedgwood's global jobs have been created gradually as much of the production has been switched to the Far East, in response to low-cost rivals producing in the region.”

WORKER PENSIONS THREATENED...SOUND FAMILIAR Meanwhile, separate reports this morning say the pensions of the company's 8,000 workers across the world could be under threat following the liquidation announcement.

WILL THE GOVERNMENT PROTECT THESE PENSIONS The pension scheme is reportedly in the red to the tune of more than €111m and could be wound up if the company is sold as a going concern Wedgwood

GLOBALIZED...FOOLS FODDER “Waterford Wedgwood has become an increasingly global player following the merger of Irish company Waterford Crystal with Wedgwood in 1987 and the subsequent acquisition of pottery firm Royal Doulton in 2005".

IN THE END THE BANKS PULLED THE TRIGGER “But in the end a syndicate of banks reined in their lines of credit after the company failed to set aside sufficient reserves - forcing the company to call in the receiver in Ireland and enter into administration in the UK. “

FOREIGN COMPANIES LOOKING TO BUY THEM UP “Three U.S.-based parties are in talks to save china-maker Waterford Wedgwood after the Irish company called in receivers, the Financial Times said on Tuesday.”

Bring Wedgwood to Flint!

Posted here by Terry Bankert
- http://uk.reuters.com/article/allBreakingNews/idUKL668093320090106
- http://thescotsman.scotsman.com/uk/Economic-fall-shatters-sales-for.4845519.jp
- http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/7811353.stm
- http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/retailandconsumer/4139511/Waterford-Wedgwood-failure-is-bitter-pill-for-winner-Sir-Anthony-OReilly.html
- http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/breaking-news/ireland/business/three-us-parties-in-talks-to-save-waterford-wedgwood-14130049.html
- http://www.dailymail.co.uk/money/article-1106076/Waterford-Wedgwood-cracks-bleak-start-year.html
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