Optical Express founder comes to the rescue

Press Release   •   Jul 22, 2013 10:38 BST

Laser eye surgery firm Optical Express has been saved from collapse by its founder, preventing the loss of 1,600 jobs in the UK and Ireland.

David Moulsdale is today expected to take on the firm's debts to Royal Bank of Scotland, and has also agreed to "inject significant working capital" to ensure the company's survival.

The intervention by Mr Moulsdale, who founded the firm in 1991, has saved Optical Express from being another High Street retail casualty, following the high-profile deaths of Comet, Jessops, Clinton Cards and others in recent years.

Reports said that last week the company, which has 93 stores and 54 consultation centres, as well as operations in the US and mainland Europe, asked for a multi-million pound loan to pay staff.

However, the business owed RBS more than £30 million, and it is understood the bank threatened to call in its debt and sell the business on to new investors.

"We anticipate completing the transaction by Monday morning, however it is business as usual in all of our stores and clinics as we work through the final documentation," said a spokesperson for Moulsdale yesterday.

In its most recent accounts, Optical Express blamed "the significant economy slowdown on the high street and in consumer confidence" for a six per cent drop in revenues to £17.1m and pre-tax profits down by half to £1.2m in 2011.

In October last year, the company closed 40 of its stores after it put one of its subsidiaries into administration.

As well as laser eye surgery, Optical Express offers other healthcare services including dentistry and cosmetic surgery. It also operates in the US and the Netherlands.

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