British entrepreneur buys Oyster Marine


After entering administration last month, Southampton-based yacht builder Oyster Marine has found a buyer – British entrepreneur Richard Hadida.

The company stopped trading on 7 February after failing to secure necessary financial support to continue operating. The sites that took the biggest hit were the company’s sites in Southampton and Wroxham. The company employs 160 people at its Southampton yard alone.

The majority of the staff were made redundant before administrators were appointed, but most of the staff are expected to be re-employed.

Richard is the co-founder and creative director of Swedish Evolution Gaming Group – a company that develops gaming software and that is listed on EVO, the Stockholm stock exchange. But, as with many company failures, the problem is often cash-flow even while assets may be sound.

Oyster updated its website with the following statement: “Oyster is delighted to confirm it is now under new ownership. Richard Hadida, a British entrepreneur and founder of global software business Evolution Gaming Group and a lifelong sailor, has acquired the business with the firm commitment to re-establish Oyster as the premium designer and manufacturer of yachts in the world. Details to Follow.”

Neil Gostelow and Mark Orton, two administrators from Netherlands auditing company KPMG were brought in to sell the shipyard. The joint-administrators put all of the company assets up for sale, including the brand name and trademark, yacht designs, shares in subsidiaries as well as plant and machinery.

KPMG has been advised by an unspecified source that yacht production will resume at the Southampton and Wroxham sites “in the near future”.

Mr Gostelow, a partner at KPMG, said: “We are delighted to have 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.”

When KPMG was brought in to sell the company, a spokesperson told Superyacht Investor that there was a high demand for the business, encouraging as many parties as possible to bid on the shipyard. The initial bid deadline on 7 March and the final deadline of 16 March for best and final offers were both met.

Oyster’s entering administration came as a shock, with the shipyard having earlier reported a positive outlook on 2018 to 2019 and finishing 2017 with a substantial orderbook of 25 yachts valued at £80 million. Oyster entered administration after its biggest investor HTP, which bought the shipyard in 2012 for £15 million, withdrew funding.

Oyster also reported a successful showing at the Dusseldorf Boat Show. The first Oyster 118 superyacht was nearing completion and the company had expanded its Southampton yard in May last year to build its second Oyster 118.