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A glimmer of opportunity?

In the past week we have seen three acquisitions announced in the eyewear industry and in eye care service provision

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Pexels/Ann H

In spite of the challenges of the past year, and the stumbling blocks that remain in the path ahead for us, it would seem that companies have been seeking opportunities for development and growth.

While I personally default to the ‘head-down’ approach to pushing through difficult times, business and market analysts, such as GfK (Growth from Knowledge), suggest that the companies that “continue to innovate throughout a crisis… can thrive in even the most disruptive environments.”

Though mergers and acquisitions stalled earlier this year as the world ground to a halt in an attempt to weather the storm of the COVID-19 outbreak, analysts anticipate a recovery in this area before the end of the year, and already observed a resurgence over the summer. PwC suggested it anticipated business will seek to engage in acquisitions and mergers “with a value creation focus” as they reconfigure and look ahead.

Good things come in threes – or so the saying goes, and in the past week we have seen a series of acquisitions across the optics sector, in both product and service fields. A common theme expressed between them all has been an apparent push for growth, expansion and development.

First, Inspecs announced it had conditionally agreed to the acquisition of the eyewear supplier Eschenbach in an agreement that Inspecs CEO Robin Totterman said would “propel” the company to become one of the largest eyewear companies in the world.

As well as supporting the company in its growth ambitions, the acquisition is set to present new business model opportunities, broadening its product offering and global network, particularly with Eschenbach’s presence in Germany and the USA.

In a statement, Dr Jörg Zobel, CEO of Eschenbach, shared: “We found in Inspecs the right strategic partner for our new five-year growth vision. We have ambitious goals that we can achieve together in the new group.”

This follows Inspecs’ acquisition earlier this year of the manufacturing operations of Norville – an agreement that is set to create opportunities for the business as a combined frame and lens maker.

This week, we also saw new UK healthcare investment company, Optimism Health Group, announce the acquisition of domiciliary service provider OutsideClinic. 

The company emphasised that the acquisition would support further growth, with chairman of the Optimism Health Group, Henry Pitman, commenting that the business has the potential to expand “rapidly.”

Finally, the ophthalmology group Optegra introduced its new investors as H2 Equity Partners, in an acquisition that it suggested would deliver its “ambitious growth strategy.”

Speaking to OT, Dr Peter Byloos, CEO for Optegra, shared: “The investment is the start of an exciting next chapter for Optegra and we look forward to working in partnership with H2 to further grow the business and explore new opportunities.”

Observing these forward-looking plans for growth offers a glimpse of optimism for better times ahead in the sector, and it would seem there are opportunities for those able to take them.

At a High Street level, we have heard from practices who have evolved and taken on new endeavours over the past few months – whether through the necessity of adapting, or taking hold of opportunities that have arisen. You can read more about the various ways the High Street and practices have been adapting in our upcoming December/January issue.

But of course, for many the focus for now will be on recovery and maintenance, particularly as we learn of a bleak outlook for the wider economy of the UK, with forecasts predicting a record economic decline. As the Chancellor of the Exchequer this week shared, the “economic emergency has only just begun.

As we look to the end of the second lockdown in England and the return to a tiered system, the hope for a vaccine and end of year festivities, we hold out hope for brighter times ahead.

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