Synsam is the Nordic leader in Eye Fashion. Synsam offers a unique range of glasses, sunglasses, lenses and accessories for the customer's own style and needs. Synsam also offers service- and knowledge in eye health of the highest quality.

Company Description

Synsam was founded in 1968 as a voluntary member organization with a common brand and collaborations in certain areas such as marketing and purchasing.

Between 2007 – 2014, Nalka, in partnership with Synsam and Profil Optik opticians, consolidated the Nordic optics sector and converted Synsam in Sweden and Norway and Profile Optics in Denmark from a voluntary franchise network to the leading integrated optical chain in the Nordic region.

Synsam is owned by CVC Capital Partners since 2014, and today Synsam Group operates in seven countries, has a revenue of approximately SEK 3 billion and has 2,500 employees in over 500 stores. The stores are operated under the brands Synsam and Profile Optik.

Investment Information

Year of Entry 2007
Year of Exit 2014
Acquisitions under Nalka’s owensership 295
Stores established under Nalkas ownership 25
Stores in 2014 415 (105 franchise store’s included)
Market position 1
Revenue 2013 SEK 2.3 Billion
Buyer CVC Capital Partners

Investment Rationale

Market

In 2007, the Nordic optics market was very fragmented and only c. 20% of the market consisted of fully-integrated capital chains. The remaining part of the market consisted of hundreds of smaller privately owned optical shops, often included in a voluntary franchise organization.

The underlying market showed signs of growth, while the professional integrated chains grew their market share. The local franchise chains became increasingly vulnerable to takeovers and competition from the fully-owned international chains. Despite this, the profitability of the optics industry was generally good.

Nalka’s ambition

Nalka, together with Synsam’s franchise management saw an opportunity to, in partnership with store owners, acquire Synsam stores in the Nordic countries, to create the leading integrated capital chain on the optical market. Through this consolidation, significant opportunities to simultaneously create significant synergies in areas such purchasing, marketing, product range, sales, administration etc., were identified.

Implementation

Between 2007-2009, Nalka, in partnership with store owners, acquired hundreds of franchise stores from Profil Optik in Scandinavia. Local country organizations were created and management teams were recruited for each country. Central administration and finance functions were established and all purchases were centralized, resulting in significant synergies.

In 2010, the Nordic region’s leading optical chain was created. The individual store owners sold of their business, while still managing it, and became partners in the new Synsam Nordic Group.

Synsam and Profile Optik’s strong concepts and brands were maintained and further strengthened, while the company’s new profitability and capital base enabled further expansion through acquisitions and start-ups.

The shop owners who chose not to sell their shops remained partners as franchisee’s to Synsam Nordic.

Value Added

Hundreds of Store Acquisitions

Hundreds of optical stores were acquired in Sweden, Norway and Denmark by shopkeepers in the Synsam- and Profile Optics chains. Shop owners reinvested a portion of the purchase price and became a partner with Nalka’s new in the newly formed Synsam Nordic Group.

United identity

The acquired stores were incorporated into the newly created Synsam Nordic in order to create a fully-owned chain with a common identity, culture and business plan.

Operational efficiency

The creation of Synsam Nordic enabled the consolidation of financial functions, administration, purchasing, etc. For example, a central finance department and a central purchasing teams manage hundreds of stores - before the creation of Synsam Nordic each store had its own finance and procurement function.

Continued Consolidation

Increased profitability and access to capital allowed for continued expansion through further acquisitions and new stores in existing markets. Nalka's initiated the expansion to the market in Finland, which was completed by the new owners, CVC Capital Partners.

Increased Sales Growth

Joint selling strategy, a coordinated range of work, coordinated marketing and pricing in addition to structured and well planned sales processes enabled the strong sales growth.

New Management

Key personnel from the Nordic retail industry could be recruited to Synsam after the creation of the chain, and the store acquisitions. This resulted in a Nordic management team with a CEO, local country organizations with individual country managers, as well as a board of representatives from the optics industry.

Nalka added advanced financial knowledge enabling Synsam to better coordinate, rationalize its operations, ultimately leading to improved profitability

Gunnar Harbom
Former CEO, Synsam Sweden

Nalka contributed with active long term business development, strong strategic planning and financial expertise

Joakim Forsell
Former CEO, Synsam Nordic
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