Optician firm Duncan and Todd looks ahead with latest acquisition

An independent optician says it has become the largest firm of its kind in Scotland following the acquisition of nine branches from Black & Lizars.

MD Frances Rus said the deal was an ideal fit in services provided and the branch network. Picture: contributed.
MD Frances Rus said the deal was an ideal fit in services provided and the branch network. Picture: contributed.

The acquisition – completed for an undisclosed sum – is the sixth by Duncan and Todd since it secured investment about a year ago of £15 million from LDC, the private equity arm of Lloyds Banking Group.

A total of 56 Black & Lizars staff have transferred to Duncan and Todd as part of the deal, which will see the group move into seven new towns and cities across Scotland and increase its headcount to 405.

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Additionally, Black & Lizars’ two stores in Aberdeen are being rebranded to Duncan and Todd Opticians.

A further seven branches in Perth, Stirling, Dalkeith, Haddington, Helensburgh, Ayr and Troon are being renamed under the group’s 20 20 Opticians and Hearing Care brand.

Duncan and Todd MD Frances Rus said the deal was “an ideal fit for us in terms of the services provided and the branch network”, adding that the location of the stores “allows us to offer our integrated hearing and eye care services across a much wider expanse of Scotland, particularly in Perth and Stirling and around the west coast, which are all new locations for Duncan and Todd”.

Colin Bennett, investment director at LDC in Edinburgh, added: “Expanding the group’s retail footprint in Aberdeen and the Central Belt was quickly identified as a key growth objective for the business when we partnered with Frances and her team last year.

“Since then, we have supported Duncan and Todd to realise this ambition through an acquisitive growth strategy. The business has now added 15 branches to its network since the start of our partnership. It’s very rewarding to see the firm make its most significant acquisition to date and confirm its position as the largest independently owned optical group in Scotland.”