Gem Lunetterie, a French eyewear manufacturer located at Bellignat, near Oyonnax, has been taken over by one of its clients, Mondottica, the fast-growing international eyewear group led by Michael Jardine, along with its four employees and its general manager, Betrand Viboud.

A local court accepted the offer made by Mondottica for the company, which was placed in receivership last September, and then in liquidation. “Gem was a value supplier and we liked the people,” commented Jardine, adding that its acquisition fits in with Mondottica's plans to expand production capabilities and sales in France.

At the beginning of 2017, Mondottica had taken over another French eyewear manufacturer in the Jura region, Yves Cogan. It was its first acquisition of a manufacturing firm, and it was intended to support its expansion in the luxury eyewear segment through Brando Eyewear (see EWI Vol. 18 N° 2+3 of Feb. 24, 2017).

Meanwhile, Mondottica has announced a new £15 million (€16.9m-$20.0m) financing program with a U.K. subsidiary of Banco Santander intended to support the company's expansion in the U.K. and other countries, including the development of Brando. It is intended to help the group create up to 45 new jobs in the U.K. and elsewhere in the areas of sales, distribution, systems and infrastructure.

Mondottica previously worked with HSBC. The new funding from Santander Corporate & Commercial includes a growth capital loan. The bank says it is aimed at the fastest-growing and most dynamic businesses that have demonstrated high growth in turnover, profit or employment.