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Nat Rothschild’s Super Yacht Dispute

10th Apr 2013

Swallowfalls Ltd v Monaco Yachting & Technologies and another

References: [2012] EWHC 2057 (Comm), [2012] EWHC 3616 (Comm) and [2013] EWHC 236 (Comm)

This is the “Nat Rothschild Super Yacht Dispute”, referred to in a Sunday Times report dated 28 October 2012 as follows:

“The billionaire financier Nat Rothschild is at the centre of a fierce legal battle after sacking the builder of his new [€35m] superyacht. The 240 ft luxury vessel, codenamed Project Nato, was commissioned by Rothschild in 2007 to add to his collection of luxury ‘toys’ which includes his private jet.  The yacht boasts an owner’s suite of 150 square metres, complete with marble bath. It also has two bars and a sophisticated helicopter pad linked to a hydraulic lift system which can lower the aircraft to a hangar below the deck.

Nato was due to have its first sea trials three years ago but Rothschild and Peter Landers, a Monaco-based boat builder, are at loggerheads over contract payments and alleged delays in the yacht’s construction. …Rothschild said last week he had sacked Landers and MYT and had stepped in to run the contract himself.

The two men are due to lock horns in the High Court next month when a judge will rule on Rothschild’s bid to recover [€13m] of the [€30m] that he claims to have advanced to Landers to work on the project. …” [Sunday Times 28.10.12.

In two judgments handed down in 2012, Walker J set out the Court’s conclusions on issues of construction arising out of a loan agreement made between Swallowfalls and Monaco Yachting Technologies, guaranteed by Landers, and gave case management directions.  The judgments are reported at [2012] EWHC 2057 (Comm) and [2012 EWHC 3616 (Comm).

In February 2013 Walker J gave judgment on applications by Swallowfalls for summary judgment or an interim payment and by MTY and Landers for a stay of the proceedings pending the arbitration of issues arising under the yacht construction agreement.   He dismissed Rothschild’s applications and granted the applications of MYT and Landers, staying the proceedings pending the conclusion of the arbitration of claims brought by MYT against Swallowfalls.  The judgment is reported at [2013] EWHC 236 (Comm).

Stephen Hofmeyr QC and Michael Holmes appeared for Monaco Yacht Technologies and Mr Landers.

To view the loan agreement judgment click here; and to view the summary judgment/interim payment/stay judgment click here.