Waterford Stanley chief nets €1.4m

WATERFORD STANLEY managing director Michael Laffan is set for a major windfall from the sale of the company.

Mr Laffan owns 20% of Waterford Stanley, which was sold yesterday to British firm Aga Foodservice Group for €13.8 million in cash and debt.

Mr Laffan, who led a management buyout of the company four years ago, will net about €1.4 million from the sale as only half of the takeover price is in cash, with Aga Foodservice assuming the company’s debt pile.

Mr Laffan will remain with Waterford as managing director.

The remaining money will be paid to Waterford’s private equity backers, PRICOA Capital Group.

However, they look set to book a loss on the deal as the MBO cost €21 million and it has also had to inject further equity into the firm to help see it through a restructuring programme that saw two manufacturing sites closed.

Waterford, which makes about 80% of all cast-iron stoves in Ireland, climbed back into profit in 2004, but further restructuring saw it make a loss in the year to the end of March 2005 of €1.4 million on sales down €2.3m to €27m. The company was forced to close manufacturing sites in Waterford and Wexford with the loss of more than 200 jobs to cope with a fall in sales.

In 2004, the shareholders also had to inject €2.5m in equity and forgive a €5m loan to help Waterford through the downturn.

Aga said the acquisition will open up exciting new opportunities for Waterford Stanley in terms of product development, research & development, technology transfer and opportunities to offer a wider range of products.

Waterford brands will be added to Aga Foodservice Group’s portfolio of international brands, which include Aga, Rayburn, Rangemaster, La Cornue and Marvel.

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