Portfolio News

Duncan & Todd hits acquisition trail following LDC investment

The Duncan & Todd Group (“Duncan & Todd” or “the Group”), Scotland’s leading optical provider, has acquired Peebles-based Dempster Opticians as part of its national rollout of optician and hearing care services.

The deal, which follows a £15million investment from private equity firm LDC at the end of March 2018, will strengthen Duncan & Todd’s presence in the Central Belt. It will also enable it to roll out its new audiology service, ensuring local communities have access to high-quality hearing care throughout Scotland.

Located in Peebles for more than 40 years, Dempster Opticians is a well-established optometrists with a loyal patient base. This is the first acquisition of Duncan & Todd’s new chapter, marking the next stage of the optical service providers' continued commitment to grow local services and sustain local employment, a key priority for the business as it looks to make further acquisitions across Scotland.

David Davidson, dispensing optician, who has been with Demspter Opticians since 2002, said: “Since my initial meeting with the management team at Duncan & Todd, I have been impressed with their welcoming and professional attitude and I am looking forward to an exciting future working alongside an innovative and forward-thinking organisation.”

Founded in 1972, Duncan & Todd operates through three divisions – retail, manufacturing and corporate – and employs more than 250 people across its national branch network and at its state-of-the-art ophthalmic lens laboratory, Caledonian Optical in Aberdeen. It also provides outsourced corporate eye care services to more than 200 public and private sector customers, through its Smart Employee Eyecare brand.

Frances Rus, CEO at Duncan & Todd, added: "Dempster Opticians is a well-regarded optometrists in Peebles, having established a loyal customer base and reputation for high-quality customer service. Welcoming it into the Group is an exciting opportunity for us as we look to extend our footprint and bring our market-leading services to new communities across Scotland.

"On partnering with LDC, the objective was to hit the ground running and identify quality practices that would fit well with the Duncan & Todd ethos of community-driven primary optical care. This has been a significant step for the business as we enter the next phase of our growth ambitions. With an investment partner on board, we are now well placed to make further acquisitions and roll out complementary healthcare services."

Colin Bennett, investment director in Scotland at LDC, said: "Duncan & Todd’s first acquisition marks the management team’s intent and ability to pursue an active buy-and-build strategy, as they look to cement the business’ position as Scotland’s primary optometry service. With this immediate momentum, we look forward to continuing to support the business’ expansion."

Article Footnotes

Notes to Editors

  1. LDC is part of the Lloyds Banking Group and is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority
  2. LDC back ambitious management teams from UK-based companies seeking between £2m and £100m of equity for management buy-outs, institutional buy-outs or development capital transactions.
  3. LDC invests in a broad range of sectors and has particular experience in Construction & Property, Financial Services, Healthcare, Industrials, Retail & Consumer, TMT, Travel & Leisure and Support Services.
  4. LDC has a UK regional network of 9 offices.