British yard Oyster Yachts ceasing operations

The British luxury yacht builder Oyster Yachts, based in Southampton, announced redundancy to its staff on Monday 29th January 2018.

Speaking yesterday, David Tydeman, CEO of Oyster Yachts said, “We are not in administration at the moment and we are not in liquidation. Yesterday, however, we did start a consultation with all staff about potential redundancy, because we do not have the means to pay them at the moment.”

The news comes as a shock as the British yard recently reported its largest ever order book, in excess of 80 million pounds. It also launched its new Oyster 745 at boot Düsseldorf last month and had the biggest sailing yacht on display at the show.

HTP Investments is said to have withdrawn financial support for the company that it acquired in 2012. The acquisition included the Oyster Group companies Oyster Marine Ltd, Oyster Brokerage Ltd and Southampton Yacht Services Ltd.

The news has taken staff and others in the industry by surprise. Tydeman said today, “We are in the process of entering administration. I can confirm that all staff were made redundant last night.”

He added, “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. Further information will be issued as soon as we can”.

Sources suggested the company may have lost money dealing with structural problems following the sinking of the Oyster yacht Polina Star III in 2015. At the time, the team said they were working with independent experts to review the design and construction of the Oyster 825.

Oyster employed more than 160 workers across facilities in Southampton and Norwich, as well as offices in Ipswich, Mallorca and Newport, Rhode Island. Recent projects for the yard included building several 35m (118 foot) superyachts. The two Oyster 118 projects due for delivery in 2018 and 2020 have now been suspended.

Oyster Yachts is expected to release a full statement in the coming days.

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