Oyster sold to Dutch investors for just under £15 million

  • Wed, 22 Feb 2012

Oyster Marine reported to be profitable as private equity firm cuts losses

Oyster Oyster

Award winning, UK yacht builder Oyster Marine has been acquired by the Dutch investment company, HTP Investments BV (HTP), for just under £15 million. The company was sold in 2008 by founder Richard Matthews to private equity company Balmoral Capital for about £70 million. The new acquisition includes the Oyster Group companies Oyster Marine Ltd, Oyster Brokerage Ltd and Southampton Yacht Services Ltd.

HTP, whose investments include a campervan manufacturer and automotive parts companies, acquired Oyster exclusively by using the funds of the partners Wim de Pundert and Klaas Meertens and is therefore not subject to any restrictions with respect to the amount invested and the period over which the investment is held. HTP expands the activities of its portfolio companies both through organic growth and further acquisitions, supporting the management in strategic decision making and any required reorganisation of the firm's financial structure. HTP's turnover is in excess of Euros 1 billion and they employ 6000 staff.

David Tydeman, who remains as Oyster CEO, emphasised that Oyster is profitable. He added: "Incoming orders signed in 2006/7 totaled £60m dropping to £43m signed in 2008/9 and rising positively to £75m in 2010/11 plus £10m in Jan 2012. In additiion the three superyachts contracts are worth £30 million.

"This contrasts with the rolling order book total which remained above £40m at any one time, with peaks at around £75m 2007 and now above £65m again," he said.

He added that although the superyacht division in Turkey had cost £4 million to establish, the first three yachts had been sold. In the UK he expected re-development of the Southampton Yacht Services site and he "wanted to look at efficiencies" in Wroxham where Landamore and Windboats, who build Oysters, are based.

Klaas Meertens, Managing Partner of HTP Investments said, "As investors, we are delighted to have the opportunity to add such a strong and prestigious British brand to our select portfolio of companies and have every confidence in Oyster's CEO, David Tydeman and the existing management team to take the business forward. For myself and Wim, this is a personal acquisition and a long term investment. We look forward to working with David and the management team to develop Oyster's strategy for the future and build on the success the whole team at Oyster has achieved over the last three years."

Founded in 1973, Oyster has a worldwide reputation for its luxury, blue water cruising yachts and has twice been awarded the Queen's Award for Industry.

The current Oyster fleet includes 12 designs ranging from the Oyster 46 to the superyachts, the Oyster 100 and Oyster 125 by Dubois. The Oyster 625 recently won the Best Luxury Cruiser category in the 2012 European Yacht of the Year awards, whilst the Oyster 100 is shortlisted in the World Superyacht Awards.

Commenting on the transaction, Oyster CEO David Tydeman said, "This is a fantastic opportunity for Oyster, our team of loyal staff and suppliers. HTP Investment's acquisition is funded by the private funds of its two partners and means that Oyster can look forward to a period of long term stability, doing what we do best - building great sailing yachts."

Oyster will celebrate its 40th Anniversary in 2013 and plans are already well advanced for the Oyster World Rally. On 6 January next year a fleet of 30 Oysters will depart the Caribbean on the first ever, exclusive world rally for Oyster owners.

Oyster was advised on the transaction by Stephen Craik and Khush Purewal of KPMG Corporate Finance. Commenting on the transaction, Stephen Craik said, "Oyster is one of the world's leading luxury brands synonymous with prestige and high quality. HTP provides the company with a long term partner who can ensure the further development of the business and the brand".


Photos courtesy: Oyster Marine/ Pedro Martinez 

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