Gloucester optical manufacturer bought out of administration by Bath business


Optical manufacturer, The Norville Group, which is based in Gloucester, has been bought out from administration by Bath-based Inspecs Group plc, a designer, manufacturer and distributor of eyewear frames.

Inspec completed the acquisition  from the Administrator, BDO LLP, for £2.4 million. The acquisition includes £1.2 million of freehold property for Norville’s Gloucester site and the remainder for stock, plant, IP and contracts. 

Norville is a long-established manufacturer of optically advanced spectacle lenses, supplying optical retailers with complete spectacles, including well-known brands, and is considered to have the most advanced portfolio of spectacle lenses in the UK. The manufacturing operations are undertaken primarily from the business’ headquarters in Gloucester, with smaller operations in Bolton, Seaham and Livingston. Inspecs intends to retain part of Norville’s management team and employees as part of the acquisition.  

Earlier this month we reported that Gloucester-based Norville’s opticians had been bought by Lancashire-based Hakim Group opticians. The manufacturing laboratory was not included in the sale.

Norville’s management accounts for the year to 31 December 2019 show unaudited revenue of £11.8 million, a loss before tax of £0.79 million and EBITDA of £0.39 million. The net book value of the assets acquired was £4.9 million including the freehold property. 

 Robin Totterman, CEO of Inspecs, said: “I am delighted to announce our first acquisition as a plc, in line with our stated strategy at IPO, and there is no doubt that Norville is an excellent fit for the Group. With Savile Row (Algha) and Norville, we have combined the two oldest and most respected British optical brands – frame maker with lens maker. With Inspecs’ global frame manufacturing, marketing and sale capabilities, we are continuing to grow our vertically integrated business model. 

“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 licenced brands with high quality bespoke lens packages.

“The acquisition cements Inspecs’ position as the only vertically integrated designer, manufacturer and distributor of eyewear frames and lenses in the UK and provides the Group with a full lens offering domestically and globally. 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.”