Inspecs admitted to the London Stock Exchange AIM market

Inspecs CEO and founder, Robin Totterman, on entering the London Stock Exchange

Inspecs group
Designer, manufacturer and distributor of eyewear frames, Inspecs has been welcomed to the London Stock Exchange Alternative Investment Market (AIM).  

The move marks the next stage of the company’s growth plans. Inspecs has operations around the globe, offices in the UK, Portugal, US, Scandinavia and China, as well as manufacturing facilities in Vietnam, China, London and, more recently, Italy.

The company expects this step will support the organic growth of the company, while enabling it to undertake further acquisitions and extend the group’s manufacturing capacity.

CEO of Inspecs, Robin Totterman, shares with OT the details below.

What contributed to the decision to float Inspecs on the London Stock Exchange?

Listing on the London Stock Exchange was the obvious choice for us as a proudly British company. In terms of the reason for the float, we felt the timing was right as the next step of the Inspecs journey. This started with the 2017 acquisition of Killine, a Franco-Asian specialist frame manufacturer with large-scale facilities in Vietnam and China. By joining the private label manufacturing company to Inspecs’ licensing and design capability, the resulting company is a unique and strong addition to the global eyewear market and an excellent alternative to the largest player in the industry.

The eyewear sector is highly polarised between the largest companies, which control an overwhelming majority of the industry and focus on well-known branded product, and the lesser-known and more artisanal niche players, which service specialist independent opticians. Our aim is to bridge the gap with the addition of the private label/Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) offering, enabling us to compete with the top tier on every front.

What has the move achieved and what does this mean for the company?

Our admission to AIM represents a landmark moment for Inspecs. It will enable the business to grow and develop, both organically and through accretive acquisitions, as we build our market share in the globally expanding eyewear market.

It is fair to say that the eyewear industry, like other service and retail industries, will be affected by the coronavirus.

 

Following Inspecs’ admission to the London Stock Exchange, what is next for the company in the year ahead?

Whilst the timing of our listing was not ideal due to the economic downturn which started at the time we went to market, the strength of the brand was recognised.

We were delighted to have received a positive reception from the crème de la crème of investment funds, all of whom recognised our strong track record, differentiated proposition and competitive strength of the business, being only one of the few companies providing a one-stop shop to global retail chains. Despite the current wider market backdrop, Inspecs’ stock price has held steady since launching on the AIM market on 27 February.

Our focus as a listed company is to engage constructively with our stakeholders, as well as our customers and broader stakeholders. Having to answer to other stakeholders is somewhat new to me as I founded and have run the company from its inception in 1988 without having to answer to anyone else. It’s a challenge but I am excited about the future and look forward to growing the company.

What are some of the key challenges or opportunities for the eyewear industry?

It is fair to say that the eyewear industry, like other service and retail industries, will be affected by the coronavirus. Major trade shows like Mido and Vision Expo NY have been delayed or cancelled, making for unprecedented challenges.

Despite that, we have put as many safeguards in place as possible in order to weather the storm and remain well placed thanks to our supply chain expertise, strong customer relationships and global distribution network. Moreover, we are doubling our output from Vietnam following a desire from key accounts to de-risk their China exposure.

More broadly, we are seeing a trend towards a greater consolidation within the industry, which will offer opportunities for innovative and entrepreneurial eye care professionals to stand out and provides Inspecs with opportunities to add value.

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