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Riley plays major role in bringing redundant costume jewellery manufacturing site back to life.


Riley Surface World has recently concluded a major project to dispose of and decommission a large electroplating facility in the south west of Ireland.

Austrian-owned Hans Andersen was synonymous with quality costume jewellery. It had some of Europe’s most modern product finishing facilities and annually produced around 3.5 million pieces of jewellery.

The company had two production sites in Vienna and Rathkeale, near Limerick, Ireland. In 2012 the parent company Pierre Lang Holdings was placed in voluntary liquidation and purchased later that year by Count Metternich through his German venture capital company SMB.

Unfortunately, the new owners were unable to generate the level of sales necessary to keep both Austrian and Irish production sites open, so the company in Rathkeale was put into liquidation in September 2013.

Conversion to new enterprise zone

Riley Surface World became involved in 2014 when PWC were appointed receivers for the Rathkeale site and its contents. This was subsequently acquired by the local economic development agency, Innovate Limerick, with the intention of converting the site to a multipurpose enterprise zone.

Before this could be realised, the electroplating facilities had to be sold and decommissioned in keeping with EU legislation for the safe disposal of industrial chemicals and other hazardous materials.

To this end, Riley appointed former Andersen employee and chemical engineer Neil Cremin, through his new company Chemical Surface Treatment Technologies, to act as project manager for the decommissioning and to assist with the machinery site clearance.

Sales to Canada, Ireland, UK and Eastern Europe

The first phase of the project resulted in the sale of a large Acid Copper electroplating line to Billdidit, a musical accessories manufacturer in Nova Scotia, Canada. The entire plant was dismantled, shipped across the Atlantic and re-assembled in Canada by the Riley Surface World support team.

The second phase, which took place during the winter of 2014 and spring of 2015, saw the remaining electroplating plants and all ancillary waste water treatment equipment sold by auction using Riley’s own, dedicated online bidding channel, with buyers coming from Ireland, the UK and Eastern Europe.

Value returned to local community

The final outcome is that Riley Surface World has returned significant value to Innovate Limerick. Together with Neil and his team, it has cleared the site successfully and rendered it ready for conversion to a mixed commercial development. This will help to create future employment prospects for the many people that lost their jobs following the closure of the company two years ago. Commenting on the project, Neil Cremin said:

“It has been a rewarding and enjoyable experience working with Michael Riley and his team. They have a very hands-on approach to the sales and decommissioning process and their technical knowledge and attention to detail is second-to-none.’’

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