The Cayman community is still coming to terms with the sudden and unexpected death of Andreas Ove Ugland, the 64-year-old Norwegian shipping magnate and investment banker who contributed so much to his second home. Although an extremely rich man, worth hundreds of millions, he contributed immensely to local charities and good causes. He was a patron of various charities and institutions in Cayman, including the National Gallery.
Andreas’ passing on Friday came after a short illness, two days before his 65th birthday. It was a shock to friends and family. “This came very suddenly. Last week, we talked about how to celebrate his birthday. Then he sounded settled and happy. Now he's gone. It is incredibly sad,” said his cousin Herman Bergshaven, who also resides in Grand Cayman.
Flags were flying at half-mast on Saturday at Queensgate House, the home of his bank and trust company, as a sign of respect. There was an outpouring of sadness on social media as the news broke as many Caymanians appreciated his contribution to many community projects.
His father Andreas KL Ugland died less than a year ago, aged 93. Andreas Ove was one of his three sons.
As well as his private businesses and real estate investing, Andreas was well renowned as a classic car collector, world-class power boat racer, great supporter of local arts and culture and creator of the Cayman Motor Museum in West Bay.
Andreas owned 80 rare, exotic classic cars and motorbikes, displayed in the Cayman Motor Museum from 2010, including a yellow Rolls-Royce from the 1964 film of the same title, starring Ingrid Bergman, Elton John’s old Bentley, and Peter Sellers’s Ferrari and the Batmobile, built for the 1960s television series. The museum also features a collection of paintings, photographs, local artefacts with one of Ugland’s race boats outside.
He owned his own power-boat racing team and brought that passion to Cayman when he founded the ‘Million Dollar Run’ offshore race. He raced in the UIM Class One and ProVee classes and won both the Beaverbrook and Needles trophies in a successful career.
Andreas was born in Grimstad, Norway on 8 March 1955. He had three children with his first wife Inger, a former Miss Norway, and later married Natalie, a businesswoman who owned and operated over 200 stores across Canada under her brand name Natalie Bishop.
In the mid-1990s, the legacy of Andreas KL Ugland was left to Andreas Ove and his brothers, Johan Benad and Knut Axel, under the name Andreas Ugland & Sons. The Andreas Ugland & Sons fleet consisted of more than 70 ships, in addition to substantial real estate investments, industrial activities and car imports.
Andreas served on the board of Nordic American Tankers since 1997, but according to the annual report, he was not among the major shareholders. The report for 2018 states that he owned less than 1 percent of the shares in the company.
Previously, he was chairman of the board of Ugland International Holding plc, which during his time was listed on the London Stock Exchange. He also served on the board of directors of the Hoegh Ugland Autoliners car fleet and Buld Associates Inc in Bermuda.
Andreas moved to the Cayman Islands while his brothers remained in Norway where they run the companies JB Ugland and Knut Axel Ugland Holding, both based in Grimstad.
Andreas and Natalie organised fundraisers for local arts and culture projects such as ‘Fashion for Art’ and functions have been held at their residence, notably the private art auction evening where all proceeds were donated to the National Gallery. The National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba played in the garden, creating an afternoon of music and art.
The couple prided themselves on their own impressive collection of pieces by local artists which are displayed in their home and the Cayman Motor Museum, so that visitors to the museum can enjoy the diversity of local artistic talent. They commissioned works from such recognised names as Bendel Hydes and John Broad for specific exhibits and consistently contributed annual non-profit fundraising events to ensure that institutions such as the National Gallery of the Cayman Islands can continue to operate.