Inspecs acquires Norville lens business in £2.4m agreement

Inspecs has acquired Norville’s manufacturing operations from administrators in a move that CEO, Robin Totterman, suggested would combine two of the “oldest and most respected British optical brands – frame-maker with lens-maker”

Savile Row frames

Frame manufacturer and distributor, the Inspecs Group, has acquired the manufacturing operations of the Norville Group from administrators in an agreement worth £2.4 million.

The acquisition includes £1.2m of freehold property for Norville’s Gloucester site, with the remainder for stock, plant, intellectual property and contracts.

Inspecs also confirmed it intends to retain part of Norville’s management team and employees. OT reached out to Inspecs for more details on what percentage of the workforce this would cover, but this information was not available at the time of publication.

The Gloucestershire-based lens and optical manufacturer entered administration on 3 July, with accountancy and business advisory firm, BDO, appointed administrators. The business had operations in Gloucester, Bolton, Seaham and Livingston.

According to the announcement from Inspecs, Norville’s management accounts for the year to 31 December 2019, show unaudited revenue of £11.8m, loss before tax of £0.79m and EBITDA (Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation, and Amortization) of £0.39m. The net book value of the assets acquired was £4.9m including the freehold property.

Robin Totterman, CEO of Inspecs, said the Norville operations would be an “excellent fit” for the group, adding: “With Savile Row (Algha) and Norville, we have combined the two oldest and most respected British optical brands – frame-maker with lens-maker.”

Sharing Inspecs’ next steps, Mr Totterman said: “We are also taking this opportunity to integrate our two UK manufacturing sites, and soon we will offer a bespoke Savile Row lens collection to accompany the frames.”

“Our plan is to similarly offer our many licensed brands with high quality bespoke lens packages,” he added

The agreement, made in the early hours of Tuesday 14 July, marks Inspecs’ first acquisition as a public limited company (plc) and is in line with its growth strategy, Mr Totterman explained, suggesting that the acquisition would “cement Inspecs’ position as the only vertically integrated designer, manufacturer and distributor of eyewear frames and lenses in the UK and provide the group with a full lens offering domestically and globally.”

The acquisition is being funded from Inspecs’ cash resources, the company explained, adding that it expects the acquisition will be “earnings enhancing” for the Group in the financial year to 2021.

“We look forward to welcoming the Norville team into the heart of the Inspecs Group and working together to create a truly cutting-edge integrated eyewear business,” Mr Totterman concluded.