Oyster goes Double Dutch. For the second time in four years, British luxury boat builder Oyster Marine, probably the most respected name in boat building in Britain, has been sold - this time to two Dutchmen. This is the first time the famed UK company has been out of British hands.
Founded in 1973, the company produces twelve different designs of luxury yachts, including two which could be called superyachts. It was sold a mere four years ago, in 2008. However, it appears that the collapse of the yachting market since the Global Financial Crisis started in the same year has contributed to the current sale even though Oyster has been performing relatively well.
The Oyster brand has long been known for building comfortable live-aboard cruising yachts, which can nevertheless compete handsomely in such races as the Fastnet and the Sydney to Hobart.
The Oyster 625 has just achieved another distinction in winning European Yacht of the Year 2012, in the luxury cruiser class.
The two Dutch entrepreneurs who have purchased the company, Wim de Pundert and Klaas Meertens, head up an investment company called HTP Investments.
Oyster Brokerage and Southampton Yacht Services Ltd are believed to be included in the sale.
Both HTP and Oyster have refused to reveal the details of the purchase, it is believed it is a small fraction of the £70million that the previous owner, Balmoral Capital, paid for it just four years ago. Figures such as £10-£15 million have been mooted.
Oyster has been enjoying a relatively busy two years — its order book for contracts signed in the last 24 months is almost £80m, plus £25m of superyacht contracts. However, it is believed that capital debts of the ultimate owner eventually helped to force the sale, rather than the under-performance of Oyster Marine.