The receiver and administrators of luxury goods group Waterford Wedgwood say they are in talks with a US private equity group on the sale of its assets.

The group concerned, KPS Capital Partners, is based in New York. It specialises in making investments in struggling manufacturing companies, with a view to turning the business around. Its website also says it has a track record of working constructively with trade unions.

Waterford Wedgwood had already been in talks with KPS before it went into receivership, and KPS has already examined Waterford's books.

A statement from the receiver and administrators said they were working with KPS to agree quickly on the terms of a deal. They said such a deal would include 'certain assets' of Waterford Crystal, Wedgwood and Royal Doulton.

Waterford Wedgwood CEO David Sculley described the news as 'a critical step forward' for the group.

The receiver and administrators were appointed on Monday after the company's bid for a new investor ran out of time. The group had debts of around €400m. A receiver takes over a company on behalf of creditors, while administration is a similar system under UK law.

Earlier,Waterford Wedgwood announced more resignations from its board.

Ottmar Kusel has resigned from the board of Waterford Wedgwood and Dr FA Wedgwood is gone from both the boards of Waterford Wedgwood and Waterford Wedgwood UK. Kevin McGoran has also resigned.

The company's chairman Tony O'Reilly, his wife Lady O'Reilly, former chief executive Redmond O'Donoghue and Patrick Molloy all resigned as directors of the company on Monday.