Essilor Expands Worldwide Lab/Distributor Partnerships, With Six Acquisitions in U.S., Including McLeod in Venture With VSP By Staff Tuesday, July 07, 2009 8:00 AM CHARENTON LE-PONT, France—Essilor [ISIN: FR 0000121667] announced late last night a series of lab and distributor partnerships around the world consisting of one supplier and five lab acquisitions in the U.S. including its first partnership with Vision Service Plan (VSP), the nation’s largest managed vision care provider, in the acquisition of Rhode Island-based McLeod Optical in the U.S. In the U.S., Essilor is continuing to expand its network with the acquisition of Barnet & Ramel Optical ($10.8 million in revenue), Apex Optical ($2.7 million), ABBA Optical ($2.2 million) and Vision Pointe Optical ($1.1 million). The four prescription laboratories are located respectively in Nebraska, Florida, Georgia and Idaho. Essilor has also acquired a majority stake in OptiSource International ($5.3 million in revenue), a manufacturer and distributor of optical supplies and consumables for opticians and laboratories. Essilor has joined with Vision Service Plan (VSP) to acquire McLeod Optical, a prescription laboratory based in Rhode Island with 2008 revenue of $10 million. VSP is the largest not-for-profit vision benefits provider in the U.S. with 55 million members and a network of 26,000 private practice eye doctors. Essilor will have a majority interest and VSP and the principals of McLeod will each own a minority interest in the company. VSP has further expanded its lab network over the past two years. The company acquired the Legends 4.0 lab in 2007. That year, it was a partner with Carl Zeiss Vision in the acquisition of Perfect Optics in Vista, Calif. and also worked in 2008 with Zeiss on the acquisition of Tri-City Optical in Clearwater, Fla. VSP purchased another Florida lab, Ultra Lens, in 2008 and operates its own VSP labs in Columbus, Ohio and Sacramento, Calif. In Europe, Essilor has acquired all outstanding shares in De Ceunynck, a major player in the Belgian market where the company is BBGR’s long-time distributor. De Ceunynck, which has a prescription laboratory near Antwerp and 92 employees, generated €17 million in 2008 revenue. The current management team will remain in place. In the Middle East, Essilor and its partner Amico, the local market-leading distributor of ophthalmic optics products, have signed a contract to set up a 50/50 joint venture that would operate Amico’s prescription laboratory in Dubai. The laboratory, which serves the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Qatar and Kuwait, generated 2008 revenue of €3.5 million. With the current management team remaining in place, the joint venture will have exclusive distribution rights for the Varilux and Crizal brands in the region and will provide Essilor with a foothold in the Middle East, a market of 265 million people that has significant growth potential. Lastly, Nikon Optical Canada, a subsidiary of Nikon-Essilor, has signed an agreement to increase from 50 percent to 100 percent its stake in TechCite, a prescription laboratory located in Calgary, Alberta. TechCite generated 2008 revenue of approximately $6.8 million.