Former Steelite boss personally invests £1m into Royal Crown Derby


Kevin Oakes, the CEO of tableware giant Steelite up until its sale this week, is personally investing £1m into Royal Crown Derby, to acquire the company, secure its future and invest in its long-term growth.

As revealed by Boutique Hotelier HERE yesterday, Steelite was sold to a partnership comprising its Americas division boss, John Miles, and private equity firm PNC Riverarch Capital, with Mr Oakes walking away with the Royal Crown Derby business.

The extent of his own investment in the English fine bone china manufacturer has now been revealed, along with confirmation that he has gained 100% of the share capital in the brand, which employs 130 staff. The final acquisition price, however, was not disclosed.

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Mr Oakes spent 39 years at Steelite, including the last 10 as CEO. He described Royal Crown Derby as one of the UK’s “most iconic brands” and said he has always believed that the business can succeed on the global stage.

“I led Steelite International’s acquisition of Royal Crown Derby in 2012 and following [the] announcement I plan to invest heavily in the business to ensure our long term vision is realised,” he vowed.

When asked about what today’s acquisition will mean for the future of the business and its staff, Mr Oakes replied: “Market conditions remain extremely challenging and changes will be implemented across all areas of the business to ensure it is appropriately structured and resourced. We are committed to long-term manufacturing in Derby and I’m confident that with targeted investments in our team, our factory and product innovation, the outlook for the business is both positive and exciting.”

Mr Oakes leaves Steelite International in a strong position having taken sales from £45m to more than £100m in 10 years, while achieving record profitability in 2015.

Over recent years it has successfully diversified the business into the luxury hospitality market and it is now a major supplier to establishments such as The Dorchester, Warwick Castle and Waldorf Astoria.


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