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Oyster Yachts staff ‘sent home after company runs out of cash’

PUBLISHED: 11:10 06 February 2018 | UPDATED: 08:25 07 February 2018

Oyster Yachts in Hoveton.  Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Oyster Yachts in Hoveton. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2014

Workers at a boat-building yard in Norfolk have been sent home after being told their employer “has run out of cash”.

Oyster Yachts, which has a site at Wroxham, told staff on Monday that all operations had been stopped to prevent further losses, and that it was on the brink of insolvency.

A statement posted on the company’s website this afternoon, from chief executive David Tydeman, said: “It is with sincere regret that we advise that the company has been unable to secure financial support to enable it to continue to trade at this time and it is looking at all opportunities available. Further information will be issued as soon as we can.”

A letter sent to staff on Monday, seen by this newspaper, says the company “has been unable to secure financial support to enable it to continue to trade at this time and it is now facing entering into an insolvency procedure imminently”.

It adds: “After considering all possible options, the company has concluded that there is a risk that it will be unable to continue to provide work for all its employees at all locations and that it is likely that it will have to make all of its employees redundant. The company has run out of cash and is unable to pay employees for work.

“The company has decided to close all operations today (and for the immediate future) to prevent or minimise all loss to employees and all other creditors.”

Oyster Yachts’ head office and yard is in Southampton, but it also has sites at Ipswich, Palma in Mallorca, and Newport, Rhode Island.

The letter, signed by Ben Collett on behalf of Oyster Marine Limited, says the company will examine how it may be able to continue trading over the next 24 or 48 hours.

But it says that will require “third-party financial support” and that any continuation at this stage would be for only 14 days and “with only skeleton personnel”.

Employee representatives will be elected to keep workers up-to-date with the situation.

The letter ends: “I would like to thank you for all of your hard work to date and your support during this difficult period.”

Oyster had been seen to be trading well, having launched just last month a new Oyster 745 model at the Dusseldorf boat show, and claiming a “record” order book of £80m on its website.

In its latest filed accounts, in the year to December 31 2016, Oyster Marine Holdings reported turnover of £42.02m, with a pre-tax profit of £104,000.

The company made headlines in 2015 when the Oyster yacht Polina Star III lost her keel and sank off the coast of Spain in early July.

At the time, the company said it was reviewing the design and construction of the Oyster 825 model, which it said used a technique not employed anywhere else in its range.

Do you work at Oyster Yachts? Email mark.shields@archant.co.uk or call 01603 772426.

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