Leicestershire optometrist sold in MBO

A Leicestershire optometrist has been sold in a management buy-out following a funding deal from Ashby de la Zouch alternative finance firm ThinCats.

Twelve years after buying a partnership share in Edmonds & Slatter, dispensing optician Tim Cole and Saggar Hirani have bought out the shareholding of Karyn Slatter, who had been looking to exit the business, using funding sourced from ThinCats.

Simon Brook, head of credit at ThinCats, said: “The asset cover ratio needed for the MBO was 20-times – not something high street lenders are comfortable with.”

“Tim and Saagar initially approached the business’ bank, which first offered them less than they required and subsequently dropped the offer further. Another bank offered them significantly less so that didn’t work either, as the vendor wanted the full amount up front.”

Thee firm’s accountant then contacted East Midlands-based brokers, Reservoir Finance.

Stuart Milton from the Reservoir Finance said: “Most businesses really don’t seem to be aware of ways of raising capital other than through high street lenders.”

Reservoir, however, did. The broker contacted ThinCats and another alternative lender.

“Within a couple of days of contacting ThinCats, we had an agreement in principle for the facility,” said Milton.

The local ThinCats business development manager, Matthew Lawrence, met the management, saw the premises and labs, spoke to his credit committee and was able to quickly agree the full sum.

After the MBO, the business will be run through a limited company, with Tim Cole and Saagar Hirani as joint owners.

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