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Administrators appointed at holding company of troubled boat builder Oyster

PUBLISHED: 15:29 08 February 2018 | UPDATED: 11:47 09 February 2018

The Oyster Yachts premises at Hoveton. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The Oyster Yachts premises at Hoveton. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

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Administrators have been appointed at Oyster Marine Holdings Ltd, the holding company of the Oyster Yacht group of boat builders.

The Oyster Yachts premises at Hoveton. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYThe Oyster Yachts premises at Hoveton. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

It follows 180 staff at Oyster’s yards in Hoveton in Norfolk being sent home earlier this week after being told that the company had run out of cash, despite a bulging £80m order book.

Oyster Yachts, the main trading business of the holding company, is currently “considering its options” after being unable to secure sufficient funding to be able to continue to trade.

Oyster Marine Holdings employs two people and is headquartered in Southampton, though it also trades from Wherstead in Suffolk.

Administrators from KPMG Restructuring said no other companies within the group form part of the administration. The group includes Oyster Marine, Oyster Marine Events, Oyster Brokerage and Oyster Palma.

The holding company owns the Oyster Group’s interest in the intellectual property rights to all of the technical drawings and moulds used in the production of the yachts in the Oyster range, said KPMG.

Joint administrator Neil Gostelow said: “Late last week, the company directors confirmed that they had been unable to secure the financial support they needed to continue to trade the business. Our immediate priority will be to seek a buyer for the business and its assets and would encourage any interested parties to contact us as soon as possible.”

Management at Oyster Yachts are continuing to explore ways in which the company may be able to continue trading, despite having sent staff redundancy notices “to prevent or minimise all loss to employees and all other creditors”.

Industry sources had pointed to the financial impact of dealing with structural problems identified following the sinking of the Polina Star III, an Oyster yacht which lost her keel and sank off the coast of Spain in July 2015.

In its 2015 accounts, Oyster Marine Holdings booked exceptional administrative expenses of £5.882m for a claim related to the vessel’s loss and the knock-on disruption to production schedule, though the figure also included the cost of relocating head office from Ipswich to Southampton.

It added in its latest filed accounts, to the end of December 2016, that it continued to pursue a counterclaim for £6.8m against a subcontractor involved in relation to the Polina Star III’s sinking.

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