Royal Crown Derby future secured after takeover deal

Production by the 200-strong workforce will remain in Derby

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The future of Royal Crown Derby has been secured after a takeover by another Midlands-based firm.

Stoke-on-Trent company Steelite International has bought the firm, which dates back to 1750, for an undisclosed sum.

Following the merger, Royal Crown Derby will provide fine bone china tableware to major hotels and restaurants.

It follows a period from 2009 to 2011, when Royal Derby staff worked four days a week, due to lower demand.

Staff reverted to a five days a week in 2011 ahead of the royal wedding, but returned to four days in June.

Chief executive Hugh Gibson said the deal meant he was "leaving Royal Crown Derby in the very safest hands."

'Heart of the nation'

He added: "It has been a privilege to be the custodian of Royal Crown Derby for so many years and I am certain it will thrive and maintain its special place in the heart of the nation."

Kevin Oakes, chief executive of Steelite International, said: "This is excellent news for both companies.

"Like us, Royal Crown Derby has a first-class reputation across the globe and we know that our expertise as a major ceramics industry player can only strengthen the business offering from Royal Crown Derby and ensure they reach new heights of success."

Under the deal, production by the 200-strong workforce will remain in Derby with a new brand, Royal Crown Derby Entertains, being produced for the hospitality industry.

Steelite International has also announced a £12m investment at its Middleport base - which is expected to create more than 230 jobs.

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