China Co Ltd
Location and period of operation:
Berkshire China Co Ltd
China manufacturer in King Street, Fenton, Stoke-on-Trent.
Article from the Sentinel Newspaper (25/11/2000):
"A prominent pottery has collapsed less than three years after changing hands in a £1 million management buyout.
Fenton-based Berkshire China Company Limited has been placed into administration.
The impact on jobs at the firm's factory in King Street was today unclear, but it is believed the business employed around 70 people.
Bury-based accountancy firm Bownham Train Epstein confirmed it had been called in to oversee the company's affairs.
Representative Louise Knight declined to comment on the reasons for the firm's failure.
She said today: "The company has gone into administration. It's a legal issue."
Berkshire China was taken over by well-known Potteries figure Hugh Padley, the former finance director of Spode and the current chairman of Business Link Staffordshire, in 1986. He later sold a majority stake in the firm to managing director Mark Dicken for £1 million in May 1997.
Equity funding to the value of £600,000 came from the West Midlands Enterprise Board.
The company also received a £160,000 innovation grant from the Department of Trade and Industry.
The last set of available figures for the firm, for the year to June 1998, show it had sales of almost £2 million, and assets of £1.5 million.
The company was well-known for its use of state-of-the-art machinery, specialising in the manufacture of bone china mugs.
It produced wares for the Euro ‘96 football championship, selling more than 50,000 official tournament mugs, although sales dried up when England were knocked out in the semi-finals.
In 1997, the company announced it was producing a trinket box and a mug in commemoration of Diana, Princess of Wales, following her death in a car crash.
The company was also one of a handful to make commemorative items for the wedding of Prince Edward and Sophie Rhys-Jones, last year.
Mr Dicken said at the time of the takeover: "The management buyout will allow us to invest over half the funding in growing the business.
"We aim to become one of the market leaders by exploiting state-of-the-art technology that we have been developing over the last few years."
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The above information may
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email: Steve Birks