One of the most renowned companies in yacht design, Dubois Naval Architects, went under the hammer this week as a result of liquidation.
Ed Dubois (above) established the studio in 1977. It gained fame designing sailing superyachts primarily, but also motoryachts, such as Kiss (below). Dubois died in March 2016. While the studio continued operations, it experienced challenges. Management retained CVR Global, an insolvency and restructuring firm, earlier this year. “The death of Mr. Dubois had a dramatic impact on the fortunes of Dubois Naval Architects,” comments Terry Evans of CVR Global. “Following an assessment of the company’s affairs, it was clear the business could not continue to trade.”
Evans and Simon Lowes, a partner at CVR Global, became joint liquidators on February 2. They in turn hired Marriott & Co., an auctioneer, to sell the assets. That auction concluded on February 28. The sale included Dubois Naval Architects’ name, intellectual property rights, drawings, and designs. It further included several scale models. Gavin Marriott, director of Marriott & Co., says all lots sold, exceeding the reserve prices. “We are in the process of completing the sales accordingly,” he adds.
While the above-mentioned assets comprised one auction lot, that lot excluded the rights to one particular design. Specifically, referred to as design no. 405, it’s a 197-foot (60-meter) sloop at Royal Huisman. A separate lot did, however, outline finalizing the related contract. According to the auction documents, contract completion includes:
- inspecting the yacht at launch with the captain and project manager
- making any necessary provisions for trimming the yacht at launch
- attending sea trials
- resolving any design issues arising during commissioning and sea trials
- ensuring the yacht completes stability tests, verified by Lloyds and MCA.
Upon completion of the contract, according to the auction documents, the owner will make a final payment to the design firm. The total of that payment is €180,000 (about $189,400), with the winning bidder and the liquidator sharing it.
We asked a CVR Global spokesperson whether one bidder or separate bidders acquired the assets. He indicated at least two bidders came forward for each lot, but did not elaborate further. We also reached out to Royal Huisman regarding the sloop in build. The yard declined to comment.
CVR Global plans to finalize payment distribution to creditors in the coming days. “Early indications are that the outcome will result in the secured creditor being paid in full,” Evans says. Referring to the Royal Huisman build, he adds, “If the work in progress is completed satisfactorily, the end result may provide a dividend to the remaining creditors.”