Boatbuilder Rival Bowman’s Assets Sold

The assets of failed U.K. boatbuilder Rival Bowman have been sold , and the purchasers are operating from the existing Rival Bowman site, the joint administrative receiver said. Stephen Hall, of the Bristol office of PricewaterhouseCoopers, confirmed in mid-December, that it had sold the assets of Rival Bowman Yachts Ltd. "We weren’t able to sell the business as a going concern," he said. "We sold all the assets last Thursday, 6 December."

PricewaterhouseCoopers was appointed joint administrative receiver of Rival Bowman Yachts Ltd. early last November. Its task was to realize assets with a view to repaying, where possible, the appointer, other parties with charges that rank ahead of the appointer, and the preferential creditors. Preferential creditors include government agencies, such as the Inland Revenue and Department of Social Security, together with employee claims for wages, holiday pay and pension arrears. Hall was not allowed to say who had bought the assets, although he confirmed "at the moment they are operating from the same site."

The Rival Bowman company will now be gradually wound up. "There are certain statutory things we have to do," said Hall. "After that the company will probably be struck off."

According to Hall, that process will take about six months, after which the company, originally founded in 1965 on the banks of the River Itchen in Southampton, will be no more. The yard originally built the Peter Brett-designed Rival range of boats, producing more than 500 over the years. The tie-up with Bowman came in the early 1980s and saw the range expand up to the Bowman 84. Ten years later, Sadler International was added to the Bowman group, with the two Sadlers alongside the Stephen Jones-designed Starlight 35 and 29.

When the firm went into administrative receivership on November 6, the yard’s range included the Chuck Paine-designed Bowman 42, 45, and 48, plus the Stephen Jones-designed Starlight 35, 39 and 46.

The company’s turnover in the last financial year, which ended April 20, 2001, totaled GBP3.7 million, and it recently employed 40 people, officials said. This is the second time PricewaterhouseCoopers has dealt with receivership at Bowman. On April 20, 1998, the company went into voluntary receivership, with the then-director and major shareholder, Tony Davies, citing "trading difficulties" as the cause of that crash. Davies singled out the strong pound as the major problem.

Rival Bowman’s Ocean Quay site today did not return calls by press time. For more of the latest news, log on to Boating Industry International’s website at www.boating-industry.com.