London based Waterford Wedgwood PLC, the maker of classic china and crystal, filed for bankruptcy protection on Monday after running out of money and failing to find a buyer.
Four administrators from business advisory firm Deloitte were appointed to run the company's businesses in Britain and Northern Ireland. The remaining subsidiaries, including those in the United States, Germany and Canada, remain unaffected.
The U.K. joint administrators said they intended to continue to run the business as they seek a buyer. Trading in the company's shares was suspended on the Irish Stock Exchange where they languished at just one-tenth of a euro cent.
Waterford Mayor Jack Walsh said the closure of the crystal factory would deal a cultural and psychological blow to all of Ireland, noting that the crystal plant was one of the country's top tourist attractions and the product one of only a handful of iconic Irish brands.
The Deloitte administrators said the company has benefited from significant shareholder support in recent years as the management team tried to restructure the business.
Waterford's top shareholders, led by the chairman, Anthony O'Reilly, have repeatedly pumped more money into the company. Waterford also sought a loan from the Irish government last year but was rebuffed.
Last month, Waterford Wedgwood announced, that it had been forced to ask its chief creditors for forbearance because the company could no longer pay its loans on time or in full.
It also revealed falling sales and increasing first-half losses, and said its survival depended on securing new investment.
Sales for the year that ended in April 2008 were 672 million Euros, down 9.4 % from a year earlier. The company posted a loss of 231 million Euros, up from 71 million Euros.
Wedgwood has been an iconic name in British whose roots go back 250 years, after its founder Josiah Wedgwood opened the first factory in Stoke-on-Trent, central England, in 1759. It began making bone china in the 19th century.