Optical Express deal saves jobs

EyeAround 1,800 jobs have been safeguarded after the founder of Optical Express agreed a multimillion-pound rescue deal to save the chain from collapse.

Chairman David Moulsdale, who launched Optical Express in 1991, has stepped in to buy the group's outstanding debts after lender Royal Bank of Scotland reportedly threatened to pull the plug on its loans.
It is understood the Glasgow-headquartered retailer, which has 93 stores and 54 consultation centres, had asked RBS for a further loan to pay staff, on top of more than £30 million already owed, prompting the bank to threaten to call in its debts.

But a spokesman for Mr Moulsdale said: "We have been in positive discussions for some time with RBS and have reached an amicable agreement on a deal that will secure the long-term future and expansion of the Optical Express Group.

"David has agreed to acquire the entire debt owed to RBS by Optical Express and will inject significant working capital into the group, positioning it in a highly secure position for continued growth."

Mr Moulsdale hopes to finalise the deal by the end of the weekend and the group added that it was "business as usual" across its stores and clinics.

Since being founded more than 20 years ago, Optical Express has grown rapidly, expanding into laser eye surgery, as well as dentistry and cosmetic surgery.

It also operates overseas, across the United States, Croatia, Germany, France and The Netherlands.

The group declined to reveal how much Mr Moulsdale had agreed to pump in under the rescue deal, but said it was a "substantial" multimillion-pound investment that would provide both working capital and fund further expansion.

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Optical Express deal saves jobs

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