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Waterford Wedgwood plc (WTFU)

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Friday 28 December, 2007

Waterford Wedgwood plc

Lazard Alternative Investments Invests EUR50 Mi...





LONDON, December 28 /PRNewswire/ --     Waterford Wedgwood plc (LSE: WTFU), the
international luxury lifestyle 
group, announces that Corporate Partners II, a New York-based, private equity 
fund of Lazard Alternative Investments LLC ("Lazard Alternative 
Investments"), has invested fifty million Euro (EUR50 million) in the 
Company. Corporate Partners II has subscribed for 5 million cumulative 
convertible preference shares as part of the issue first announced on April 5 
last.



    Concurrently with the investment, the Company has agreed that Ali E.
Wambold, Chief Executive Officer of Lazard Alternative Investments LLC and a
Managing Principal of Corporate Partners, and Jonathan H. Kagan, a Managing
Principal of Corporate Partners, will join the Board of Waterford Wedgwood
plc.



    Taken with earlier fundraisings of EUR110 million, this brings the total
raised to date under the issue to EUR160 million before expenses. In
addition, Sir Anthony O'Reilly, Chairman, and Peter John Goulandris, Deputy
Chairman, have subscribed to a further EUR7 million, while the Company is in
early discussions towards the placement of a further EUR33 million (to be
underwritten by Birchfield Holdings Limited, a company owned by the Chairman
and Deputy Chairman), making a total of EUR200 million of preference shares.
Waterford Wedgwood is being advised by Compass Advisers L.L.P.



    The funds will be used to support the Group's new marketing and business
initiatives and to fund the Group's on-going programme of cost
rationalization measures. The Group has contemporised its core heritage
brands and established relationships with outstanding designers, celebrity
chefs and other trend leaders to take its brands to new consumers and
distribution channels. A portion of the proceeds will be spent to support
sales by promoting consumer awareness of the Group's exciting new
initiatives. The funds will also be used to support the Group's cost
restructuring activities. On 21 November it was announced that Waterford
Crystal would cut a portion of its manufacturing capacity at Kilbarry, as
well as some administrative and 'back office' operations. The Group has also
planned significant further cost reduction measures across manufacturing,
administration, warehousing, distribution and other operations, and a portion
of the proceeds will be used to fund these activities.



    Sir Anthony O'Reilly, Chairman of Waterford Wedgwood, said: "This is a
significant milestone for Waterford Wedgwood. We are pleased that Lazard
Alternative Investments is committing its capital and senior expertise to our
Group. The investment represents a significant endorsement of our Company's
strategy. I warmly welcome Ali Wambold and Jon Kagan to the Board. Their
considerable experience will be a valuable addition to the Group."



    Mr. Wambold said: "We are pleased to have the opportunity to invest
alongside a strong and committed shareholder group to support the Waterford
Wedgwood team, led by CEO Peter Cameron and CFO Anthony Jones, as they
accelerate the Company's programme of restructuring and the continuing
reinvigoration of its product portfolio. The Group owns leading brands in its
category in the world's major markets, world class luxury brands such as
Waterford Crystal, Wedgwood, Royal Doulton and Rosenthal. We believe that
Waterford Wedgwood is a company in renaissance and hope to play a useful role
in contributing to its recovery."



Background

    On April 5, 2007, Waterford Wedgwood announced its intention
to raise EUR100 million by way of an Open Offer of preference shares to
qualifying stockholders and a possible further EUR100 million from other
investors. The company successfully completed the placement of the first
EUR100 million at the end of July with approximately EUR83 million coming
from the Chairman, Sir Anthony O'Reilly, and Deputy Chairman, Peter John
Goulandris, and a further EUR17 million from other shareholders. With Lazard
Alternative Investments' EUR50 million investment and a further EUR17 million
from the Chairman and Deputy Chairman, the total raised is now EUR167
million. The company is in early discussions to place the remaining EUR33
million (to be underwritten by Birchfield Holdings Limited, a company owned
by the Chairman and Deputy Chairman).



About Corporate Partners II

    Corporate Partners II (http://www.corporatepartnersllc.com), a fund of 
Lazard Alternative Investments LLC, provides long-term equity capital to 
companies through privately negotiated investments. The fund invests in 
solutions(R) where its capital is a catalyst to enhance an enterprise's 
value.



About Ali Wambold

    Ali E. Wambold is a Managing Principal of Corporate Partners and the
Chief Executive Officer of Lazard Alternative Investments LLC. He joined
Lazard Freres & Co. in 1985 and became a General Partner in 1987. Since 1999,
Mr. Wambold has been responsible for Lazard's North American alternative
investment activities. Prior to that, he was a senior investment banker in
Lazard's New York and London offices. He was a founder, co-head and board
member of Corporate Partners I. Before joining Lazard, Mr. Wambold was a Vice
President of Lehman Brothers. He is or has been a member of the board of
directors of a number of publicly and privately held companies in the United
States and abroad.



About Jonathan Kagan

    Jonathan H. Kagan is a Managing Principal of Corporate Partners and a
Managing Director of Lazard Alternative Investments. Previously, Mr. Kagan
was a Managing Director of Corporate Partners I, which he joined in 1990, and
of Centre Partners Management LLC, which managed the Centre Capital funds. He
began his career in the investment banking division of Lazard Freres & Co. in
1980 and became a General Partner in 1987. At Lazard, Mr. Kagan helped head
the corporate finance and capital markets areas. He is or has been a member
of the board of directors of a number of NYSE- and NASDAQ-listed companies
and private companies.



    
    Enquiries:

    Powerscourt (UK and International Media)
    Rory Godson
    Keith Brookbank
    +44-(0)790-992-6020
 
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    Michael Dennehy
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    Brunswick Group LLC (Corporate Partners / Lazard
    Alternative Investments)
    Steven Lipin
    +1-212-333-3810