Oyster Yachts has gone into liquidation, it has been reported, as of the afternoon of 5 February. It is thought that there could be as many as 400 job losses for the company, which has construction bases in the UK’s Southampton and Norwich, as well as further offices in Ipswich (UK), Mallorca and Newport in the US.
In an announcement on the company’s website, David Tydeman, Oyster’s CEO, has stated:
“It is with sincere regret that we advise that the company has been unable to secure financial support to enable it to continue at this time and it is looking at all opportunities available. Further information will be issued as soon as we can.”
The unexpected news of the yacht builder’s collapse comes just weeks after its January announcement that it had ended 2017 with a record order book value in excess of £80 million, spread across the company’s range, including family-focused cruisers the Oyster 565, 595 and 675 as well as superyacht models including the 118, of which two had already sold.
In late January, Oyster’s newest model, the 22.74-metre Oyster 745, was launched and on display at the boot Düsseldorf boat show, and in December Oyster announced the signing of its latest project, the 110-foot (33.53-metre) Project Alpha, designed by Reichel/Pugh and the yard’s first to be built in carbon-epoxy.
According to reports in local media the Eastern Daily Press, it was announced to staff at the company’s Wroxham yard on Monday 5 February that operations would be ceasing without delay in order to “prevent further losses, and that it was on the brink of insolvency”, and in a letter to staff the company had stated that it was likely that it would have to make all of its employees redundant.
In an interview with Ocean for Issue 77 (Dec 2017), Tydeman had commented that Oyster Group’s five-year plan was “shaped around a core focus on the seven new models between 56 and 118 feet, complemented by an increasing amount of custom new builds and restoration work. We are investing in facilities to make this possible.”
Industry sources suggested that the company may have lost money in dealing with structural problems identified following the sinking of the Oyster yacht Polina Star III, which lost her keel and sank off the coast of Spain in 2015.
It is understood that Oyster is currently seeking third-party financial support in order to continue operation. Further announcements from Oyster are expected in the coming days.