December 2013

BGF invested in one of Scotland’s largest independent optical chains, Duncan & Todd (Group) Limited, in December 2013. BGF invested £5.6m to fund store acquisitions, increase manufacturing capability and support sales growth. Since our investment, the company has strengthened its management team, increased its retail footprint and invested circa £1m in its manufacturing facility. In February 2015, BGF provided an additional £3.5m of follow-on funding to support the acquisition of 20:20 Opticians, a six branch retail chain, which marks the company’s move into the Central Belt.

Duncan & Todd was established in 1973 and is one of Scotland’s largest independent optical chains with a turnover of over £10m and employing over 200 staff. It was the subject of a management buy-out in 2007 led by the current Managing Director Frances Duncan, who has been with the business for fast approaching 30 years. Duncan is a qualified dispensing optician with a deep understanding of the sector and has been instrumental in the successful growth of the chain.

The business operates in three divisions: Retail – offering the full patient journey from professional eye exams to eyewear purchases; Corporate – providing DSE compliance and safety eye care services for corporate customers; and Manufacturing – where the Group manufactures and coats spectacle lenses in its state-of-the-art manufacturing facility.

The chain currently has 30 retail stores spread across cities and market towns in Scotland from St Andrews in Fife to Wick in Caithness, and is actively on the look-out for further acquisition opportunities.

At the time of our initial investment Bob Brannan joined the board as Chairman. Bob brings a wealth of experience in the consumer goods and service sectors. He is the current Chairman of Vets Now and the William Jackson Food Group. His former roles include being Chairman of Ben Sherman and group Managing Director of Whyte & Mackay. BGF Senior Investment Manager Patrick Graham was also appointed to the board. Since BGF’s initial investment, the management team has been further strengthened with the appointment of a Commercial Director and new Finance Director.