There is some optimism that Waterford Crystal may be rescued but there are still some issues outstanding. The Receiver has confirmed that Clarion Capital has put in a bid with him. We understand that the bid is in the $30m range from an entity known as an investment company based in New York’s Manhattan.
The company makes private equity investments in various companies that are middle sized and are termed mid growth. The world wide reputation of Waterford Crystal makes the Kilbarry operation an interesting proposition. Typical Clarion investments range from $15m to $50 and are structured as recapitalisations or leveraged buyouts. Clarion Capital is already involved in a former Waterford Wedgwood owned company, All Clad.
This had been a successful acquisition by Waterford Wedgwood and was still profitable when sold by the group a few years ago in an effort to reduce borrowings. The new owners included David Cameron (the former owner) and also Clarion Capital. Thus there is already a strong connection with the management buy-out group. Having John Foley involved will give confidence to many that it is not merely a venture capital company just buying the brand name.
There was comment from Unite’s Walter Cullen that KPS was only interested in buying the brand and would not be continuing production in Waterford. They were not interested apparently in buying the factory or visitor centre and running them as a going concern.
Clarion has investments in luggage maker Hartmann, one of the best known and top brands in that sphere. IMAX the film and cinema company is another investment of Clarion Capital. This is 3D film company and is very popular worldwide. They also manufacture massive cinema screens as well as being involved special film and video production.
In some cases firms like Clarion get involved with other American investors to raise the finance.
Clarion has investments in insurance and real-estate and they have also invested in a major advertising agency, Cross Mediaworks, which participates in satellite broadcasting, video on demand and on-line businesses.
A more conventional business, would be Snapples which manufactures ready-to-drink products from all natural ingredients.
Health Care and provision of nursing through Reliants is another business. On their website, Clarion says it likes to invest in companies where managers have also invested.