Morphy Richards brand sold to Chinese manufacturer

The Morphy Richards home appliances brand is reportedly being sold to a Chinese company.

The news broke yesterday that the current owner of the brand, Glen Dimplex, is selling to Guangdong Xinbao Electrical Appliance Holdings (Xinbao) – which already manufactures Morphy Richards products in China.

Both companies had signed a “Memorandum of Understanding” regarding the purchase of the global brand in a deal believed to be worth more than £170 million. The Chinese and British operations will be fully transferred initially, while Glen Dimplex will keep rights to distribute the brand under licence in Ireland, Australia and New Zealand for “at least” 10 years.

The transaction is subject to Chinese government approval, and it is expected to close by the end of the year.

According to The Irish Times, Glen Dimplex staff were told of the deal yesterday (Wednesday 8 June) in an email from Fergal Leamy, the Chief Executive of the Glen Dimplex group. He said the Irish company decided to sell after it received an approach from Xinbao.

The paper reported that Mr Leamy told staff that he and Fergal Naughton, the Executive Chairman of Glen Dimplex, had been working with the Chinese company for two years on a plan to further develop the Morphy Richards brand in China. This then led to an offer of an outright purchase of the brand.

“We felt it made sense,” Mr Leamy wrote.

Speaking to The Irish Times, he confirmed the deal saying it is “very attractive for us” and that the sale is part of the group’s planning process as it has “significant ambitions in other parts of the business”.

“Normally we would be more of an acquirer than a company that sells,” Mr Leamy added.

Morphy Richards unveiled its new brand identity just a few weeks ago

Glex Dimplex is an Irish company founded by Martin Naughton, with other brands today including Roberts Radio, Stoves and Belling. It acquired the British Morphy Richards brand – which specialises in toasters, kettles, irons and other kitchen appliance products – in 1985. By the early 2000s, Morphy factories in England and Ireland started to close down as production moved to Asia.

The roots of the brand stretch back to 1936 when Donal Morphy and Charles Richards formed the company in Kent, South-East England to make electric fires and irons during its early days.

This news comes just a few weeks after Morphy Richards unveiled its new brand identity, ‘Happiness Engineered’, aimed at repurposing the brand as it sought to build a more “customer-centric organisation”.