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WATERFORD WEDGWOOD PLC CHAIRMAN ISSUES ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING STATEMENT

 LONDON, June 16 /PRNewswire/ -- At the Annual General Meeting of Waterford Wedgwood plc held today the chairman, Mr. Donald P. Brennan, issued the following:
 "Before proceeding to the business of the meeting, I would like to make a brief statement regarding the position of the Group today.
 "When we met last year I outlined the Company's plans for rationalization in both the crystal and ceramics businesses and for the restoration of Waterford and Wedgwood brands to profitability. That plan has been put in place with considerable success.
 "As I mentioned in my Chairman's Statement, 1992 was a watershed year. A significant contribution was made by the turnaround that was achieved at Waterford Crystal.
 "I would like to put on record here the appreciation of the board for the accomplishment of Paddy Galvin and Brian Patterson and their management team in returning Waterford to operating profits. I also appreciate that it could not have been achieved without the contribution of every person who works in the manufacturing operations, and of course our sales and marketing organization.
 "The overwhelming acceptance by the workforce, in January 1993, of the cost reduction measures -- difficult and painful as they have been -- will, when combined with increased marketing resources and product development activity, make a considerable difference to the fortunes of Waterford Crystal and, consequently, to shareholder value.
 "Wedgwood, although it remained profitable, had a difficult year. However, our program of rationalization, cost reduction and production efficiencies is having a major positive impact on the company. I am confident that Kneale Ashwell and his management team will continue to successfully execute our strategy. Also, increased emphasis and investment in marketing and new product development will enhance the company's ability to generate profits commensurate with the quality of its products and brands.
 "Johnson Brothers has been repackaged and relaunched with more innovative and modern designs which have been greeted with enthusiasm by the trade.
 "These developments, together with other exciting opportunities being investigated for the Wedgwood brand, give the board significant confidence for the future.
 "The strategy I outlined last year for the group of continued and intense emphasis on cost reduction in all aspects of the businesses has been pursued vigorously. I can report that more than IR10 million pounds sterling has been permanently removed from the cost base in a comparison with overheads in 1991/1992.
 "Throughout, I and the board have been sensitive to the toll on our workforce resultant from this process. It has been an unavoidable consequence that jobs have been lost, not just on the factory floor but throughout the business, not just at Waterford but at Wedgwood too. One can speculate what would have happened had this not been done but I seriously doubt if we would be meeting here today had not the capital infusion been made in 1990 and this plan put in place and well executed.
 "The good news is that as a result of those measures, and despite the hostile trading environment throughout the world, the group is in a better position today than many believed possible a year ago. The board is determined, therefore, that these endeavors will be at the forefront of the group's strategy for the year ahead.
 "It is with considerable pleasure that I am able to sound a more optimistic note than for many a year. I sincerely believe that the group is well placed to benefit from any sustained upturn in the worldwide trading environment.
 "The board looks forward next year to reporting continued progress in 1993.
 "On a personal note, in 1991 when the board nominated me and the shareholders elected me to the chairmanship I indicated that I would serve in this capacity for two years and oversee the rationalization and turnaround of the Waterford and Wedgwood businesses. This program is soundly in place at Waterford and is in the process of being implemented in Wedgwood with the expectation that it, too, will be fully in place by year-end or early next year -- at which time having done what I came to do, the chairmanship will be assumed by Dr. O'Reilly. Dr. O'Reilly has exceptional marketing experience and talents which when brought to bear on the solid foundations of these businesses should help create a new level of profitability."
 -0- 6/16/93
 /CONTACT: Richard Barnes, chief financial officer of Waterford Wedgwood, or Kneale Ashwell, chief executive officer of Wedgwood, or Paddy Galvin, chief executive officer of Waterford, in Dublin, 353-1-4781855; or Roddy Child-Villiers of College Hill Associates, in London, 71-236-2020; or Michael Dennehy of Dennehy Associates, in Dublin, 353-1-6764733, all for Waterford Wedgwood/


CO: Waterford Wedgwood plc ST: IN: SU:

PS -- NY009 -- 2434 06/16/93 07:44 EDT
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Date:Jun 16, 1993
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