Ipswich: Luxury yacht builder Oyster Marine acquired by Dutch investors

NEW Dutch owners at Ipswich-based luxury yacht firm Oyster Marine have said their acquisition will be a long term investment.

The yacht builder, which employs around 400 people in the UK including 100 at its Fox’s Marina site in Ipswich, was sold yesterday to partners at HTP Investments for an undisclosed sum.

Oyster, which was founded in 1973 and also employs 160 people at three yards in Norfolk, Windboats, EC Landmore and Bridgland Moulders, was acquired using the “exclusive funds” of partners Wim de Pundert and Klaas Meertens.

The firm, which has twice been awarded the Queen’s Award for Enterprise, was bought from London-based private equity firm Balmoral Capital, which bought out founder Richard Matthews in 2008.

Mr Meertens, managing partner of HTP Investments, said: “As investors, we are delighted to have the opportunity to add such a strong and prestigious British brand to our select portfolio of companies and have every confidence in Oyster’s CEO, David Tydeman and the existing management team to take the business forward.

“For myself and Wim, this is a personal acquisition and a long term investment. We look forward to working with David and the team to develop Oyster’s strategy for the future and build on the success the whole team at Oyster has achieved over the last three years.”

Oyster chief executive David Tydeman said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for Oyster, our team of loyal staff and suppliers. HTP Investment’s acquisition is funded by the private funds of its two partners and means that Oyster can look forward to a period of long term stability, doing what we do best – building great sailing yachts.”

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The acquisition includes the Oyster Group companies Oyster Marine Ltd, Oyster Brokerage Ltd and Southampton Yacht Services Ltd.

The current Oyster fleet includes twelve modern designs ranging from the Oyster 46 to the superyachts, the Oyster 100 and Oyster 125 by Dubois.

The Oyster 625 recently won the Best Luxury Cruiser category in the 2012 European Yacht of the Year awards, whilst the Oyster 100 is shortlisted in the World Superyacht Awards.

The company, which signed around �10million of contracts in January, will celebrate its 40th Anniversary in 2013 when a fleet of 30 Oysters will depart the Caribbean on the first ever, exclusive world rally for Oyster owners.