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Jobs saved after Oyster Yachts bought by gaming entrepreneur

PUBLISHED: 17:31 20 March 2018 | UPDATED: 12:23 21 March 2018

Oyster Yachts has been saved by entrepreneur Richard Hadida. Picture: Mike Jones / Waterline Media

Oyster Yachts has been saved by entrepreneur Richard Hadida. Picture: Mike Jones / Waterline Media

Mike Jones / Waterline Media

More than 100 jobs have been saved after a yacht builder was bought out of administration by a technology entrepreneur.

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

Oyster Yachts, which employed 180 staff at its Hoveton boatyards before its collapse last month, has been bought by Richard Hadida in a move expected to secure the future of 400 jobs across the UK.

The firm has headquarters in Southampton as well as its Norfolk yards and also traded from Wherstead in Suffolk.

Mr Hadida, who made his fortune in the gaming software industry as founder and creative director of Evolution Gaming, has said his first priority is to re-build the “highly skilled” workforce and has said he is committed to the Norfolk site.

He will act as interim chief executive of the firm and has built a new executive team to lead the company.

Mr Hadida, a long time fan of the brand, said there was considerable work to be done to turnaround the company but was confident the team could achieve it.

He said: “It has been my privilege to sail an Oyster Yachts for some years.

“I fell in love with Oyster, the yachts, the events and more importantly the Oyster family.

“My passion for the brand has driven my decision to acquire the business. The Oyster brand is central to the yachting world.

“I firmly believe that we must save this prestigious British yacht builder and continue to nurture and grow the Oyster Group for the long term.

“My investment in Oyster is not merely a hobby. Oyster needs to be a sustainable business. Hard, quick decisions need to be taken.”

Administrators from KPMG Restructuring were called into parent company Oyster Marine Holdings on February 8 after 180 staff at the Hoveton yard were sent home.

Although Oyster had boasted an £80m order book the group had run into difficulties due to the sinking of one of the firm’s yachts in Spain in 2015.

North Norfolk District Council (NNDC), which organised a day to support redundant staff into new jobs, said it was positive news for the area.

A NNDC spokesman said: “From a Norfolk and North Norfolk perspective, the Hoveton part of the business is crucial to the local economy and we look forward to hearing confirmation that this part of the business will have a viable future.”

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