Waterford Crystal acts to reduce Covid operating losses

By Gordon Deegan

The directors of the company that owns the Waterford Crystal brand have stated that good progress has been made in reducing operating losses arising from the Covid-19 pandemic.

That is according to new accounts for WWRD Ireland Ltd which show the company recorded pre-tax profits of €10.2m in 2019.

The pre-tax profit arose mainly from dividend income of €9.5m.

Revenues slumped by 62.5pc from €44.38m to €16.6m due to a group restructuring.

The company operates one of the most visited tourist attractions in Ireland –  a combined visitor experience, retail and manufacturing facility at House of Waterford in Waterford city.

The directors state that in response to Covid-19, the company took quick and decisive actions to lessen the negative impact on operations by reducing operating costs and supporting the e-commerce business.

They state that although factory operations continue, it is unlikely that full operational capacity will be achieved during the rest of 2021.

They say that “good progress was made in reducing operating losses although uncertainty continues into 2021”.

The directors add that social distance measures are also likely to continue to have a detrimental effect on visitor numbers and retail sales for a significant period of time.

The directors state as a result of Covid-19, the company’s operations were initially suspended for nine weeks from March 13, 2020.

Retail operations were suspended from November 17 last to March 31.

In 2019, the company recorded an operating profit of €828,000 compared with an operating loss of €1.76m in 2018.

Numbers employed decreased from 163 to 160 in 2019 with 79 employed in production, 79 in distribution, sales and marketing and two in administration.

In 2019, sales in Ireland accounted for €9.99m with €6.4m in Europe and €189,000 in the US. The sales were a mix of retail sales of €8.4m and wholesale sales of €8.1m.

Staff costs increased from €6.2m to €6.89m.

At the end of 2019, the company had accumulated profits of €16.2m.

The directors state that “going forward the company intends to continue to build the business based on introducing contemporary ranges, new product initiatives and expansion across luxury home and lifestyle categories”.

The company is a subsidiary of Finland-based group Fiskars Oyj Abp.

Fiskars is a leading worldwide provider of luxury homes, outdoor living and lifestyle products

Some of the other brands owned by the Fiskars Group include Wedgewood, Gerber, Gilmour, Royal Doulton and Arabia.

Waterford Wedgwood had previously been controlled by Anthony O’Reilly and his brother-in-law Peter Goulandris.

Waterford Crystal was first established in 1783 on land adjacent to Merchants’ Quay in Waterford, just minutes from the present-day House of Waterford Crystal. At the House of Waterford site, the company’s 12,000sq ft retail space houses the largest collection of Waterford Crystal in the world.

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