Multi-million pound deal for yacht firm

TOP UK yacht builder Oyster Marine has been sold to UK-based private equity fund Balmoral Capital for an undisclosed sum, understood to be in the region of £70million.

TOP UK yacht builder Oyster Marine has been sold to UK-based private equity fund Balmoral Capital for an undisclosed sum, understood to be in the region of £70million.

The company, based at Fox's Marina in Ipswich, was founded in 1973 by current chairman Richard Matthews, who will remain with the business under its new ownership.

There are almost 1,200 Oyster yachts in commission world-wide and the company, which has twice received the Queen's Award for Enterprise, has annual sales of more than £50million.

It has a strong forward order book, having reported a “very active” London Boat Show last month, with its current yacht range starting at 46 feet and including 12 designs. These include two new “superyacht” models, the Oyster 100 and 125, which will be launched in 2010 and 2011.


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Although Oyster is primarily known for comfortable live aboard cruising yachts, many of which have completed circumnavigations of the globe, Oyster yachts were last year class winners in both the Fastnet and Sydney Hobart races.

Richard Matthews said yesterday: “I will be staying on as chairman and CEO and it will be business as usual for Oyster's staff.

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“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".

Richard Winckles, managing partner at Balmoral, said: “As investors we are delighted with the acquisition of Oyster and have every confidence in the existing management team to take the business forward.”

The transaction includes Oyster Marine Ltd, which also has an office in Newport, Rhode Island, USA, and the associated businesses of Oyster Brokerage and Southampton Yacht Services.

Balmoral Capital, co-founded by Richard Winckles and Alec D'Janoeff, specialises in controlling investments in companies which have potential to grow and create value in the European mid-market. Businesses acquired by Balmoral typically have an enterprise value of between 30 million to 350 million Euros. It also owns Canados, the Italian manufacturer of luxury, 70 foot to 110 foot fly-bridge and sports motor yachts.

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