Matthews sells Oyster Marine

Oyster 49
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Richard Matthews is expected to sail away with a cheque for at least £50m from selling Oyster Marine, the luxury British yacht maker he founded 35 years ago. But, Matthews has declared that he will continue as chairman and chief executive of Oyster and also retain a stake in the company.

The company has been bought by Balmoral Capital, a private equity firm founded by former Credit Suisse First Boston Private Equity executives, Richard Winckles and Alec D’Janoeff, and specialises in controlling investments in mid-market European companies with growth potential.

The equity firm already owns Canados, the Italian maker of 70-foot to 110-foot fly-bridge and sports motor yachts, which it will run separately from Oyster, which sells its 82ft showpiece yachts for about £4m each. This is the latest major yacht maker taken over by private equity following the purchases of Bavaria Yachtbau in Germany last year and of Ferretti of Italy in 2006

Richard Mathews CEO of Oyster Marine
Richard Mathews commented on the buy-out; “I will be staying on as chairman and CEO, and it will be business as usual for Oyster’s staff. We will maintain our ongoing commitment to providing great service for our owners and continuity to the ‘family’ of key subcontractors who are such an important part of our future.”

“Business as usual means just that,” Whitman said, when asked to elaborate upon Matthews’ statement. “Balmoral are looking to Oyster’s existing management team and staff to run the business in the same way that we have been, which has proved very successful over the last 34 years.”

Besides the Oyster Marine offices in Ipswich, and its Newport Shipyard at One Washington St., the transaction includes the associated businesses of Oyster Brokerage and Southampton Yacht Services. It also owns the Fox marina, a used Oyster yacht brokerage and a chartering business.

Overall Oyster employs about 130 people and generated revenues of more than £50m last year. They outsource much of the manufacture of their yachts to suppliers, focusing mostly on design, direct sales and marketing, selling 30-40 yachts a year.

The company reports having had a 'very active London Boat show, with enquiries substantially ahead of last year for new yachts and for the expanding fleet of Oysters available for charter.” Presently the company is building two new super-yachts measuring 100ft and 125ft, which are being built by the RMK shipyard in Turkey, belonging to the Koc Group. They are expected to be ready for delivery by 2010 and 2011 respectively.

Oyster Marine website: www.oystermarine.com

Balmoral Capital website: www.balmoralcapital.com