Second bid tabled for Waterford Crystal

A second US-based consortium has tabled a formal bid to buy troubled Waterford Crystal which union officials claim could save some 300 jobs.

Trade union Unite has backed the offer from Clarion Capital claiming the investment firm which had initially expressed interest - KPS Capital Partners - does not want to retain the jobs.

As workers continue to occupy the factory, government minister and Waterford TD Martin Cullen said Clarion had made a substantial offer.

Cullen said: "My understanding is that they've [Clarion] lodged a substantial bid for the company and clearly they have a very deep interest in maintaining the plant in Waterford, maintaining manufacturing clearly on the stem line production in Waterford."

Deloitte receiver David Carson had been in negotiations with the two US-based consortiums.

But Unite said they had been informed by Carson that KPS was only interested in the brand and not in retaining jobs. Unite regional secretary Jimmy Kelly said they were disappointed.

"There is not much we can do about it," he said.

"They seem to be interested in the brand name. Clarion is the only one with a future here.

"The receiver said they weren't going in the direction of manufacturing here."

Workers are occupying the factory on a shift basis and have maintained a presence of more than 100 since they first stormed the building on Friday amid scuffles with security guards.

Local shops have been supplying them with food and drink while blankets and sleeping bags have also been brought inside.

Menus have been wiped from the chalk boards in the restaurant and replaced with fighting slogans such as "United we stand: Divided we fall".

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