Oyster Yachts Shuts Doors, With Future Uncertain

UPDATE, FEBRUARY 7, 2018: The parent company for Oyster Yachts is in the hands of a financial-turnaround and restructuring company. KPMG Restructuring is reportedly seeking a buyer on behalf of the company, Oyster Marine Holdings. Oyster Marine Holdings owns the yacht builder (formally Oyster Marine) as well as Oyster Brokerage and Oyster Palma. We reached out to KPMG for additional details and have not received a reply as of press time. However, according to British newspaper reports, its primary focus is to find a buyer for the business as well as the assets, which include hull and superstructure molds. 

Read on for the original article.

 

UK-based Oyster Yachts has shut down operations, amid financial struggles that prevent it from keeping all employees on the payroll.

The company posted the news on its website today, via a statement from David Tydeman, Oyster’s CEO. In fact, the website is now just that one-page statement. “It is with sincere regret that we advise that the Company has been unable to secure financial support to enable it to continue to trade at this time and it is looking at all opportunities available,” Tydeman says. “Further information will be issued as soon as we can.”

While the official announcement came today, Yachting Monthly magazine learned of it yesterday. The magazine also reports that Oyster Yachts filed for insolvency yesterday and informed employees that layoffs would occur. However, the yacht builder denies it is in liquidation. 

Oyster Yachts does not deny, though, that jobs are affected at the shipyard. There is, as of yet, no confirmation on the number of jobs overall. The losses may affect multiple locations, not just the headquarters in Southampton. For example, Oyster Yachts has an office in Newport, Rhode Island, as well as Palma de Mallorca. Regardless, a few media outlets report 160 employees are losing their jobs in Southampton. The BBC reports that same number, adding that Oyster Yachts is cutting a total of 400 jobs. While the BBC ascribes that figure to the company, no official company statement exists with figures.

Regardless, one newspaper, the Eastern Daily Press, confirms part of what Yachting Monthly reports. The newspaper states that employees learned directly from the builder that it cannot pay them. The paper references a letter from Ben Collett, the general manager of Oyster’s shipyard in Norfolk, England. Stating it saw the letter, the newspaper reports employees received it on February 5. It quotes the following from that letter:

After considering all possible options, the company has concluded that there is a risk that it will be unable to continue to provide work for all its employees at all locations and that it is likely that it will have to make all of its employees redundant. The company has run out of cash and is unable to pay employees for work. The company has decided to close all operations today (and for the immediate future) to prevent or minimize all loss to employees and all other creditors.

The news comes in the midst of what appeared to be a strong future for the British builder. In fact, it comes less than six months after Oyster Yachts announced two new sailing-superyacht semi-custom series, the Oyster 835 and 895. Besides these, last May, Oyster Yachts acquired a new build shed to accommodate the Oyster 118 series. It expected to conduct sea trials for hull number one this coming summer. Hull number two is under contract.

Finally, in mid-January, the builder announced it had ended 2017 with a record order book. In a press release, David Tydeman indicated, “We closed the year with an £80m+ order book of 25 yachts ranging from Oyster 475-07 to 118-02, securing a positive outlook for 2018 and 2019.”

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