SOUTH WINDSOR, Conn.—Gerber Scientific (NYSE: GRB) announced that it has entered into an agreement to sell its ophthalmic lens processing business, Gerber Coburn, to Coburn Technologies, Inc. for $21.0 million. Coburn Technologies is a newly formed company controlled by Edward Jepsen, a former Gerber Scientific board member, along with Alex Incera, president of Gerber Coburn and Wayne Labrecque, vice president of sales. Under the new ownership structure, Jepsen will serve as chief executive officer of Coburn Technologies. Incera and Labrecque will have an ownership interest through the acquisition and will remain in their current positions with the company.

Commenting on the pending acquisition, Gerber Scientific CEO Marc Giles said, “As we’ve stated, a key element of our strategy is to review our portfolio of businesses against a set of strict strategic criteria. After an extensive review, we concluded that we were not in a position to maximize the potential of the ophthalmic lens processing business. This sale will allow us to further reduce our debt and better positions us to invest in our core Apparel and Industrial segment where we are a market leader, with solid margins and strong positions in high growth market segments. As we have discussed previously, this segment is one where we will actively pursue growth, both organically and through acquisitions."

Jepsen said, “I am very pleased with the acquisition. Our new strategic ownership structure as an independent, privately held company will ensure our team remains focused on our core markets and it will help facilitate growth and the development of new business opportunities through invigorated research and development efforts, and outstanding customer service and technical support,” said Jepsen.

Incera added, "We are excited about the acquisition and the opportunity to build upon Gerber Coburn's successful record of innovation in lens processing technology and reputation for unmatched customer service. We have a great management team and organization and we intend to capitalize on the many opportunities for growth within the industry through new product development, strategic partnerships and complementary acquisitions, as well as growing in the expanding international markets."

Gerber Scientific said it expects to use the net proceeds of approximately $19 million, after fees and expenses, to reduce its outstanding debt and for general corporate purposes. The company also announced that based on the results of the sales process and interim goodwill impairment tests, it anticipates recording a non-cash goodwill impairment charge of approximately $16.9 million in its fiscal 2011 second quarter ended Oct. 31, 2010. Gerber Scientific said it anticipates that the transaction, which is not subject to regulatory review, but is subject to certain customary closing conditions, will close on Dec. 31, 2010. Upon completion of the sale, the ophthalmic lens processing business will be presented as a discontinued operation.