DAVID Moulsdale has seen losses spiral at the Optical Express business he founded as it incurred a multi-million pound bill for store closures amid tough trading conditions and an overseas corporation took control of the business.

The latest accounts filed for the DCM (Optical Holdings) business last month show losses increased to £15.4m before tax in the year to 27 December 2014, from £6.3m in the preceding year. Mr Moulsdale, a former Entrepreneur of the Year, blamed the reverse on weak consumer confidence and ongoing restructuring of the business.

The accounts reflect a challenging period for the company, which amassed big debts following rapid expansion but has spent years battling the impact of the rise of online retailers and competition from giants like Boots.

People cut spending on glasses and the like during the long economic downturn.

Mr Moulsdale, 47, indicated the accounts for the latest financial year could also make grim reading.

"The impact of negative consumer confidence and ongoing restructuring of the business has resulted in significant losses in 2014, losses set to be repeated in 2015” he said in a statement.

Filed three months late, the 2014 accounts show DCM (Optical Holdings) completed a £31m debt for equity swap during the year. They list a company called Insight Global Holding as the venture’s ultimate parent company, and note the parent firm is registered out with the UK.

The accounts for the preceding year listed Mr Moulsdale as the ultimate controlling party.

However, it is believed Mr Moulsdale remains a significant shareholder in the business, which he insisted has a bright future.

“We are now seeing the positive impact of both the restructuring and returning consumer confidence hence, based on conservative forecasts, we see a return to profitability in 2016,” said Mr Moulsdale.

He added: "Given I and our new shareholder are fully supportive of the business for the long-term, we are now well positioned for 2016 and beyond to build profitability and growth in the business.”

Mr Moulsdale said he and the new shareholder were the main debt providers to the company, without naming the shareholder. The accounts show he was owed £7m by DCM at the end of the 2014 financial year.

They provide fresh evidence of the scale of the challenges faced by Optical Express, which is a fraction of its former size.

DCM saw sales fall to £134m in the year, from £143m in the preceding year.

In 2012 DCM had around £170m turnover.

The fall in turnover partly reflects the impact of store closures in recent years.

In the 2014 accounts DCM recorded an exceptional charge of £4.4m, which directors said related mainly to store closures.

The group, which diversified into other areas, sold its trading dental clinics for undisclosed sums.

But directors believe the decision to invest in offering eye surgery in addition to selling lenses will pay off.

“As the No 1 refractive surgery Group in the UK and Ireland with an extensive clinic network covering the major conurbations the business is well placed to maximise its returns as economic conditions improve and discretionary spending increases,” they wrote in the 2014 accounts.

These show the highest paid director earned £500,000 total emoluments in line with the preceding year.

The average number of employees fell around 10 per cent to 1,357 from 1,522.

Mr Moulsdale, the son of a taxi driver, set up Optical Express in 1991 with its first site in Edinburgh.

It grew rapidly across the UK through takeovers and also expanded overseas and Mr Moulsdale won the top prize in the Entrepreneurial Exchange’s awards in 1998.

The business has gone through a number of restructurings in recent years. Mr Moulsdale was reported to have bought the company’s debt from Royal Bank of Scotland in 2013 for an undisclosed sum.

The 2014 accounts state that a business called Lorena Investments exchanged £31.1m debt for 30,000 ordinary shares in DCM (optical Holdings) in November 2014.

That gave it 75 per cent of the 40,000 shares in issue.

Companies House records show Eduardo Da Silva was a director of Glasgow-registered Lorena from November 2014 to 24 December 2015. They list him as a resident of the Cayman Islands.

Mr Da Silva is reported to be managing director of a Cayman Islands business called Insight Global Holdings.

Mr Moulsdale became a director of Lorena Investments in September last year.

Frank Blin, who ran PricewaterhouseCoopers in Scotland for many years, became a director of Lorena Investments in September. He resigned from the board of DCM Optical Holdings in September last year.

Three other former directors of DCM Optical Holdings became directors of Lorena Investments in September. They stepped down from the board of DCM (Optical Holdings) the same month.

Lord McConnell of Glenscorrodale stepped down from the DCM (Optical Holdings) board last year noting he had been taking on more commitments abroad.

DCM Optical Holdings’ accounts for 2014 should have been lodged by September 30.