Bankruptcy sale of Oyster Yachts

Published on March 4th, 2018

KPMG had set a deadline of Friday March 2 for any parties interested in acquiring Oyster Yachts to come forward. Operations ceased at the British boatbuilder on February 5 and Neil Gostelow and Mark Orton were appointed as administrators shortly afterwards.

The administration has recently been expanded to include Oyster Marine Limited as well as Oyster Marine Holdings, meaning that the brand name and trademark, technical designs and drawings, build manuals, hull mouldings, machinery and subsidiary shares are all offered for sale.

The company’s collapse is believed to be linked to the 2015 keel loss and sinking of the 27.43 metre sailing yacht Polina Star III and subsequent legal action. Commenting on the matter publicly for the first time, Oyster’s former chief executive David Tydeman said: “This has been a long and distressing story for all parties.

“I flew to Moscow after the incident as soon as I could obtain a visa and in a personal capacity, apologised sincerely to [Polina Star III’s owner] Mr Ezhkov for the incident and the distress that I was sure that he had suffered. During the following months, Mr Ezhkov and I tried to find a solution to build him a new Oyster 885 although that proposal failed to develop.

“I was personally pleased to see that Mr Ezhkov was paid out by his insurers and, in my capacity as CEO of Oyster, we were waiting for those insurers to present their subrogated claim against Oyster. The fact that this was not presented was outside Oyster’s control, but at no point did Oyster seek to avoid its liability or legal responsibilities.

“I again express my apology in a personal capacity to Mr Ezhkov for all that he has experienced. I am unable to comment on Oyster’s behalf since the company is now in administration.”

The news of Oyster’s demise came as a shock to many within the industry as the yard recently reported its largest ever order book worth in excess of £80million.

Oyster employed more than 160 workers across two boatbuilding facilities in Southampton and Norwich, as well as offices in Ipswich, Mallorca and Newport, Rhode Island. It is understood that as many as 13 projects were left at various stages of completion.

The yard had planned to launch its new flagship series, the Oyster 118 this year, with a second hull to follow in 2020. Other recently announced projects include the 33 metre Project Alpha, a carbon fibre project that was designed for a long-term Oyster owner by Reichel-Pugh.

Rob Humphreys, founder of long-term yard collaborator Humphreys Yacht Design added: “We were deeply saddened and perplexed by the news. Having designed over 20 models for Oyster over more than 20 years, we have built up enduring relationships with owners, crews and, particularly, Oyster team members.

“We are not part of Oyster and are not caught up directly in this tragedy, but our thoughts are with everyone who might feel they have been hit by a train that none of us saw coming. That said, it’s a hugely strong brand and it’s hard to believe that it won’t restore something like normal service soon.”


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