The very fine, old and prestigious German company of Rosenthal, currently a subsidiary of Waterford Wedgwood, may be taken over by a rich Italian investor who has plans for the Rosenthal brand that dates back over 100 years to 1878.

The Bavarian Government, we understand, is considering guaranteeing the investment with over €50m in loans so as to ensure that production will still continue in Bavaria.

The firm currently employs 1500, down from a peak of 9,600 in the 1970s, when there were 8 factories. This guarantee issue has been raised with the Federal Government in Berlin and with Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, by the SPD minority Government partner. The bank rescues have motivated troubled industries that are major employers to also seek state aid.

Rosenthal filed for bankruptcy a week after Waterford Wedgwood went into receivership when it was thought that it could be sold separate to that process but this was not the case. A sale of Rosenthal had been planned for the end of last summer but was deferred.

There are 1,500 jobs in Rosenthal and the Bavarian majority party in the State government is campaigning in Berlin’s national parliament to give a guarantee to save these production jobs. Prime Minister Merkel is having to seriously consider this request.

See The Munster Express newspaper for a more detailed report.