Alcon Debuts as a Public Company as Shares Begin Trading on New York and Swiss Exchanges

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GENEVA, Switzerland—Alcon announced Tuesday that it has completed its separation from former parent company Novartis and has debuted as an independent, publicly traded company. Alcon’s shares began trading Tuesday on the SIX Swiss Exchange and New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) under the symbol “ALC.” On its first day, and with more than 10 million shares changing hands, Alcon closed at $58.33. That price is above the $40 to $50 range some analysts had expected, and it would place a value on the company of about $29 billion, according to Barrons.com.

“For more than 70 years, Alcon has been dedicated to helping people see brilliantly and now, as an independent company, we are pursuing even more opportunities to further that mission,” chief executive officer David Endicott said in the announcement.

“We are poised to achieve sustainable growth and create long-term shareholder value as a standalone company. We have a long history of industry firsts and, as a nimble medical device company, we are sharply focused on providing innovative products that meet the needs of our customers, patients and consumers.”

Last year, Alcon had sales of $7.1 billion, including $4.0 billion in its surgical business segment (which grew 7 percent from the prior year) and $3.1 billion in its vision care business (which grew 3 percent). Novartis initially announced its plan to divest Alcon in January 2017, as VMAIL reported

Alcon will be headquartered in Geneva, and the company has maintained a presence in Switzerland for more than 40 years (this is where Alcon was incorporated prior to its acquisition by Novartis). However, the Alcon facilities in Fort Worth, Texas, will “remain a major operational center and innovation hub with a large base of employees,” the announcement noted.

In a separate note sent to ECPs and business partners, North America region president Sergio Duplan and vice president of professional affairs Rick Weisbarth, OD, FAAO, acknowledged that while the spinoff represents “a new step in our journey, Alcon’s heritage of more than 70 years in eyecare remains strong [and] we continue to bring an unwavering commitment to partnering with eyecare professionals (ECPs) to shape the future of eyecare, serving customers and helping people see brilliantly.”

Their letter also noted that the new Alcon, by virtue of being an independent company, will have several benefits, including the ability to effectively pursue distinct priorities in eyecare as a nimble medical device company and to concentrate financial resources on its own operations.

Alcon has updated its “brand” to better reflect the spirit of the enterprise and commitment to helping people see brilliantly, and will shortly roll out a new logo and branding on corporate materials, the letter added.

In the corporate announcement from Geneva, Alcon said it is “the largest eyecare device company in the world, with complementary businesses in surgical and vision care,” and that it has a presence in 74 countries while serving patients in more than 140 countries. In addition, Alcon said it believes that eyecare is an approximately $23 billion a year market, growing at roughly 4 percent annually.

Alcon also noted in its announcement that as an independent company it will have “more focus and flexibility in pursuing its own growth strategy driven by rapid iterative innovation.” The company will have a distinct investment identity with a more efficient capital structure that will allow it to expand markets, enter promising adjacencies and introduce new business models.

Under the terms of the separation, each Novartis shareholder or ADR (American Depositary Receipt) holder received one Alcon share for every five Novartis shares or ADRs they held at the close of business April 1, 2019, the record date for the distribution.