Essilor Positions Suntech Optics Acquisition as Part of Broad Health and Wellness Strategy

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CHARENTON-LE-PONT, France—Last week’s announcement that Essilor’s (Reuters: ESSI.PA) FGX International subsidiary had acquired Suntech Optics, a leading Canadian distributor of sunglasses and reading glasses with annual revenue of around $15 million, is the latest in a series of recent moves intended to expand Essilor’s footprint in the sunwear market.

Earlier this week, Eric Thoreux, corporate senior vice president, Strategic Marketing, in charge of the Readers and Sun Lens strategy, commented what the transaction means to the Essilor Group and FGX. “By expanding the Group’s brand portfolio, this acquisition has strengthened FGX’s leadership in the reading glasses and sunglasses market, particularly in Canada. More generally, it attests to our commitment to bringing innovative, affordable visual health and comfort solutions to the broader market,” Thoreux said in a statement.

In the statement, Essilor also noted, “In the future, Suntech will be able to leverage the Group’s technological expertise to develop its offering in the prescription and non-prescription reading glasses and sunglasses segments, both of which remain largely untapped.”

Based in Vancouver, British Columbia, Suntech markets a range of reading glasses and sunglasses, in particular under the proprietary Infokus and Solair brands, to more than 2,800 retail outlets in the drug, grocery and mass channels of distribution in Canada.

FGX’s acquisition of Suntech included the purchase of Naked Eye Enterprises and Bugaboos Eyewear Corp. Through Bugaboos, Suntech Optics owns and distributes Ryders Eyewear, the Canadian performance sunglasses brand that enjoys a reputation for excellence among mountain bike enthusiasts. Essilor said Ryders represents “a new offering of standard-setting sunglass frames for Essilor.”

In November, Essilor announced that it had acquired a 50 percent stake in Xiamen Yarui Optical Company, China's leading supplier of mid-range sunglasses, which it sells under the Bolon brand. Earlier in November, Essilor announced that it had agreed to acquire Costa, which it called “the fastest growing performance sunglass brand in the United States.”