Rapid-growth Bath spectacle firm ‘eyes £170m stock market listing’

June 21, 2019

Fast-growing Bath eyewear design house INSPECS could float on the London Stock Exchange with a value of around £170m, according to reports.

The firm, recently named as the ‘number 1 business to watch in a ranking of the UK’s best-performing private companies, has appointed broker Peel Hunt to advise it on a potential listing this autumn. 

Such a move could raise around £60m for the firm to fund further expansion, industry observers are suggesting. Two years ago it acquired Hong Kong-based spectacles manufacturer Killine for £23.3m. The company has yet to comment on media reports linking it to a listing.

INSPECS, whose chairman is former Tesco boss and City grandee Lord MacLaurin, last year made underlying profits of £6.2m on sales of £45m.

It produces 8m frames annually from six factories in London, China and Vietnam under license for clients such as Superdry, HYPE, O’Neill, Radley, CATERPILLAR and Farah, and supplies private label and house brands factory-direct from the Killine arm of the business.

INSPECS was founded in 1988 by former bond trader Robin Totterman, after he failed to find a pair of glasses he liked.

Reports suggest a float would raise £102m for Robin Totterman, 58, and his family, who own 60% of the firm. 

The firm, based in Bath’s old Gas Light and Coke building on Upper Bristol Road, recently won the Sunday Times Fast Track Profit 100 ‘Ones to Watch’ title. The league table ranks Britain’s private companies with the fastest-growing operating profits.

The Profit Track 100 ‘Ones to Watch’ award, sponsored by BDO, was presented by David Buttress, chairman of the judges and UK co-founder and former chief executive of JUST EAT, to Robin Totterman and Lord MacLaurin.

Robin Totterman said: “This award is an incredible honour for INSPECS. At the start of the process, we were pleased to be selected as one of the ‘ones to watch’ in the Times FastTrack 100. 

“We were then further delighted to have been chosen as one of the Top 10 to watch and featured in The Times last month. That was remarkable enough, but to win the award outright is a testament to the hard work and exceptional quality of our team, who have kept the faith in our ability to compete in the world arena.

“Our factories in Vietnam, China and the East End of London make us one of the few competitors to the all-powerful Italian conglomerates. Brexit-proofing the company two years ago by establishing a second European HQ in Lisbon was an important strategic move for us, ensuring we will be able to carry on even in case of a ‘no deal’ Brexit scenario.”

The guests at the dinner included founders and senior directors from 103 companies, such as bet365, Gymshark, Princess Yachts and River Island.


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