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

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

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