Britain's top yacht builder bought by private equity fund

UK yacht builder Oyster Marine has been sold to UK based private equity fund Balmoral Capital for an undisclosed sum. The company was founded in 1973 by current Chairman Richard Matthews.

Their current yacht range starts at 46 feet and includes twelve modern designs including two new superyacht models, the Oyster 100 and 125, which will be launched in 2010 and 2011. There are almost 1,200 Oyster yachts in commission and the company has a strong forward order book and annual sales in excess of £50m.

Although Oyster are primarily known for their comfortable live aboard cruising yachts, many of which have completed circumnavigations, in 2007 Oyster yachts were class winners in both the Fastnet and Sydney Hobart races. In 2008 the company reported a very active London Boat Show with enquiries substantially ahead of last year for new yachts and for the expanding fleet of Oysters available for charter. Richard Matthews said, “I will be staying on as Chairman and CEO and it will be business as usual for Oyster’s staff. We will maintain our ongoing commitment to providing great service for
our owners and continuity to the ‘family’ of key subcontractors who are such an important part of our future”.

Richard Winkles of Balmoral said “As investors we are delighted with the acquisition of Oyster and have every confidence in the existing management team to take the business forward”. The transaction included Oyster Marine Ltd with offices in Ipswich and Newport Rhode Island, USA and the associated businesses of Oyster Brokerage and Southampton Yacht Services.

Balmoral Capital, co-founded by Richard Winckles and Alec D’Janoeff, specialises in control investments in companies which have potential to grow and create value in the European mid market. Businesses acquired by Balmoral typically have an enterprise value of between ?30 million to ?350 million. Balmoral Capital also owns Canados, the Italian manufacturer of luxury, 70′ -110′ fly-bridge and sports motor yachts.