Business Growth Fund backs Duncan & Todd to close eighth Scottish deal

Scottish optical business Duncan & Todd has secured the capital it needs to fund acquisitive-led growth by becoming a Business Growth Fund portfolio company.

Scottish optical business Duncan & Todd has secured the capital it needs to fund acquisitive-led growth by becoming a Business Growth Fund portfolio company.

The bank-backed Business Growth Fund (BGF) has invested in independent optical chain Duncan & Todd through a £5.6 million transaction.

The 40 year-old business has a turnover of £10 million and previously went through a management buy-out, led by current managing director Frances Duncan, in 2007.

The investment has been made so that the Aberdeen-based business can expand in the north east and finance further acquisitions in Scotland and the rest of the UK.

Duncan & Todd now has 23 retail locations as part of its sales division. The business also operates a DSE compliance division, as well as a safety eye care services for corporate customers offering.

Duncan comments, ‘We have a clear vision that will see improvements across all divisions in the business. As well as acquisitions in new territories, we are committed to enhancing our existing retail units to cater for our growing customer base.

‘It was important to find a long-term investor of the right quality. The team at BGF share the same values and goals as the Duncan & Todd team and we look forward to working together to generate further success for the business.’

The BGF has now invested £42 million from its £2.5 billion pot into Scottish companies, with other commitments including Arran Aromatics and M Squared Lasers.

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As part of the deal, the BGF is installing Bob Brannan as chairman of the board. Brannan is the current chairman of Vets Now and the William Jackson Food Group, and has held previous roles at Ben Sherman and Whyte & Mackay.

Patrick Graham, senior investment manager at BGF and fellow new board member at Duncan & Todd, says, ‘Frances and her team have created a profitable business with significant growth potential.

‘Much of the chain’s success has come from strategically locating its retail units in market towns, providing a strong local service and offering a broad range of eye wear at competitive prices.’

Graham adds that discussions are already under way regarding the acquisition of ‘a number of additional retail units’.

See also: Our exclusive Business Growth Fund roundtable:

Hunter Ruthven

Bernard Williamson

Hunter was the Editor for GrowthBusiness.co.uk from 2012 to 2014, before moving on to Caspian Media Ltd to be Editor of Real Business.

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