Waterford fails to reach Rosenthal target

Friday 26 January 2007 21.35

Luxury goods group Waterford Wedgwood has not succeeded in its bid to secure the remaining shares in its German porcelain subsidiary Rosenthal AG.

In June, Waterford offered to buy the 15.38% of the German company's stock that it did not own for 100 euros a share, a 40.8% premium on Rosenthal's share price at the time.

Ten days ago, Waterford had received 5.18% of acceptances for 4.97m euro, taking its shareholding in Rosenthal to 89.8%.

This was 5% short of the amount needed to take Waterford to the 95%, which it sought in June.

A spokesperson said that Waterford was not disappointed in reaching the 95% mark because 'shareholding in Germany is rather curious'.

In Ireland, if over 80% of the shareholding is owned by a particular company, then it can automatically purchase the remaining shares. This law does not exist in Germany making it, according to the spokesperson, 'very difficult to secure the last 10-15% of shares in any German company'.

Germany has very strong ownership laws, but because of EU competition law a change in this is likely to come next year. The bar for this will come in at 95% - Waterford's target - and it is thought that the luxury goods group will delist from the German stock exchange to cut costs once this target is achieved.

The spokesperson said that Waterford is well placed to buy the remaining stock if regulations change.

Waterford Wedgwood shares were up 1.9%, or two cent, to 1.07 euro at the close of business in Dublin.