Essilor Announces Eight Strategic Acquisitions, Including Two U.S. Labs

CHARENTON-LE-PONT, France— Essilor International (Reuters: ESSI.PA) announced that it has signed eight transactions to acquire operations in the U.S., Brazil, South Africa, India and Asia representing combined annual revenue of around €30 million. Essilor said these local partnerships are key growth strategy drivers for a still largely under-penetrated eyecare market, and that it is committed to delivering better visual health to people around the world.

In the U.S., the world’s largest ophthalmic optics market, Essilor has acquired a majority interest in two prescription lens laboratories, Prodigy Optical in Minnesota, with annual revenue of around $3.5 million, and e.magine Optical in Oklahoma, with annual revenue of around $3 million. E.magine Optical ranked 25th among Vision Monday’s Top U.S. Wholesale Labs in 2013.

In Brazil, the company is extending its geographic coverage with the first series of partnerships in the state of Minais Gerais through the acquisition of a majority interest in two prescription laboratories based in Belo Horizonte, PSA Nilo and Optiminas, with annual revenue of €6.7 million and €3.7 million respectively. Essilor’s Brazilian network now comprises 13 partner laboratories and a stock house, which offer a strong fit with its own manufacturing facilities.

In the sun lenses segment, Essilor has acquired a majority stake in Onbitt, a South Korean manufacturer of polarized films for ophthalmic lenses, whose technological expertise will boost the company’s innovation capabilities and enhance its polarized lens lineup. The current management team will continue to develop the business, which generates annual revenue of €5 million.

The acquisition emphasizes Essilor’s ongoing interest in this fast-growing lens category. In addition to Xperio, its flagship polarized lens brand, the company recently acquired from Safilo the exclusive license to manufacture and distribute the Polaroid brand, enabling it to develop a range of high-quality, mid-range polarized lenses in the U.S., Europe and the world’s main growth markets.

In Taiwan, Essilor has acquired a majority share in Shih Heng, a leading local lens distributor that has its own prescription laboratory and generates €6.5 million in annual revenue. Shih Heng will be in charge of developing the Kodak and BBGR brands in Taiwan, thereby enabling the company to strengthen its positions in the mid-range segment of this very active market. Shih Heng is the fourth distribution network operated by Essilor in the country.

In India, Essilor has acquired a majority stake in Deepak Optic, a wholesaler with annual revenue of around €1 million. Based in Surat, Deepak Optic is a well recognized player in the state of Gujarat, where it is Essilor’s long-time distributor.

Lastly, in South Africa, Essilor has acquired a majority interest in Spherical Optics, a prescription laboratory based in Johannesburg with around €2 million in annual revenue.

In addition, Essilor has completed the previously announced acquisitions of Servi Optica in Colombia (annual revenue: €29 million) and Isbir in Turkey (annual revenue: €15 million). The leading ophthalmic lens distributors in their markets, these companies have been consolidated since April 18 and May 14 respectively.