Oyster Marine acquired by Richard Hadida Yachting
In a deal secured by administrators KPMG, UK software entrepreneur Richard Hadida has been confirmed as the new owner of Oyster Marine.
The British luxury yacht builder ceased production in February with the loss of all employees at its UK sites at Southampton and Wroxham in Norfolk after the Dutch private equity firm HTP Investments announced it would no longer continue to financially support the company.
The failure of the business came despite it having its largest-ever order book, thought to be about £10m higher than the £70m reported for 2016. Annual accounts for the parent business Oyster Marine Holdings show that the company had revenues of £42m in 2016 and made a pre-tax profit of £104,000. The previous year’s figures show the business suffered a £5.2m hit from the sinking of the Polina Star III yacht, which dragged it to a £7.4m loss for the year, leaving the company’s finances foundering.
Hadida admits to having no boat building experience himself but plans to resume production immediately to include a new smaller Oyster below the 14.3m Oyster 47 which is currently the smallest model in the range.
“It has been my privilege to sail an Oyster yacht for some years, my passion for the brand has driven my decision to acquire the business.” Richard Hadida said. “My investment in Oyster is not merely a hobby.” “Every part of the business, including brokerage and chartering, I plan to bring back to life, I am not looking to flip it, there is no exit planning, I am in it for the long run, it will be a lifetime business.”
He is also adamant that he wants to keep it British. “I firmly believe,” he commented, “that we must save this prestigious British yacht builder and continue to nurture and grow the Oyster Group for the long term.”
Richard Hadida - CEO Richard Hadida Yachting
Neil Gostelow, Partner at KPMG said “we are delighted to have a concluded a sale of the business, ensuring the recommencement of yacht production at the sites in Southampton and Wroxham, together with the opportunities for employment that this will bring,”
Neil Gostelow - Partner at joint administrator KPMG
Mr Hadida has refused to be drawn on the size of the investment beyond saying it is “many millions” and he will use his own fortune to provide working capital. He will take on the role of interim chief executive until a permanent replacement is found.
Hadida’s management team includes Paul Adamson, a former captain of Eddie Jordan’s Oyster 885 Lush and Kim Stubbs, who helped turn around fellow British yacht company Sunseeker, has also been brought in. Prior to administration the group had 373 employees. It is understood that as many of Oyster’s previous workforce as possible will be re-employed.
The assets purchased by Richard Hadida Yachting include all the tooling and IP; shareholdings in associated companies, but, significantly not the liabilities relating to the Polina Star 111 issue which was the main cause of Oyster going into administration. This liability amounts to around £7m. The assets include a current order book valued in excess of £80m.
Richard Hadida Yachting Ltd was incorporated March 16 2018 and is based in Chandler’s Ford near Eastleigh.