DUNCAN and Todd has declared it is now the largest independent optical provider in Scotland after acquiring nine branches from peer Black & Lizars.

It is the sixth deal Aberdeen-based Duncan and Todd has concluded since LDC, the private equity arm of Lloyds Banking Group, paid £15 million for a majority stake in the group, fuelling its expansion plans. Fifteen branches have been added to the group since the LDC deal was struck in March 2018.

While the acquisition means Duncan and Todd now has nearly 40 practices across Scotland, taking it into seven towns and cities for the first time, Black & Lizars has retrenched to a portfolio of 13, based in Glasgow and Edinburgh and their suburbs.

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Duncan and Todd said that all 56 staff have transferred to its operation as a result of the deal, taking its own headcount to 405.

The company noted that two Black & Lizars stores in Aberdeen will be rebranded as Duncan and Todd Opticians, while seven – in Perth, Stirling, Dalkeith, Haddington, Helensburgh, Ayr and Troon – will be relaunched under the 20 20 Opticians and Hearing Care brands.

Frances Rus, managing director of Duncan and Todd, said: “We are delighted to welcome our new colleagues from Black and Lizars to the Duncan and Todd Group. As long-established independent opticians of a similar size and offering, this was an ideal fit for us in terms of the services provided and the branch network.

“For patients, it will be business as usual and they will continue to be welcomed by the same teams they are familiar with but the location of the stores allows us to offer our integrated hearing and eye care services across a much wider expanse of Scotland, particularly in Perth and Stirling and around the west coast, which are all new locations for Duncan and Todd.”

Colin Bennett of LDC said it is “very rewarding to see the firm make its most significant acquisition to date.”