NEW YORK—Although the Top 5 supplier-owned U.S. lab networks collectively grew their sales in both dollars and units in 2009, three lab groups in particular—Essilor, Carl Zeiss Vision Laboratories and VSP Optical Laboratories, stood out.

Essilor reported Rx sales of $880.1 million, up 9.5 percent from 2008. Carl Zeiss posted Rx sales of 142.5 million, up 7.4 percent from year ago. VSP Optical Laboratories experienced an 18.2 percent rise in Rx jobs per day, although Rx sales were flat.

Hoya Vision Care reported a 16.9 percent decrease in Rx sales; Rx jobs per day were down 13.5 percent. At Nassau Vision Group Laboratories, both Rx sales and Rx jobs per day were flat compared with a year ago.

On the mergers and acquisitions front, Essilor led the group, adding 12 U.S. labs to its roster. In February, Essilor reported that it acquired at least a majority interest in Pech Optical in Iowa ($37 million in revenue); SouthWest Lens in Texas ($5 million); and Collard Rose Optical Laboratory in California ($7.5 million), Next Generation Ophthalmics in Minnesota ($3.5 million in revenue), Dependable Optics in New York State (about $2 million), and Hi-Tech Optical and Pinnacle, two Nebraska-based labs with a combined revenue of $3 million. The acquisitions represented an aggregate full-year revenue of some $60 million, according to Essilor.

In March, Carl Zeiss Vision opened Carl Zeiss Vision—Texas, a full-service, VSP-approved laboratory co-located within the Legends VSP laboratory based in Lewisville, Texas. The lab offers the full range of Carl Zeiss Vision products, including Zeiss Individual and Zeiss GT2 3D customized progressive lenses, Teflon Clear Coat Lenses and Zeiss AR coatings.

In July, Essilor joined for the first time with Vision Service Plan (VSP) to acquire a lab, McLeod Optical, a Rhode Island-based wholesaler with 2008 revenue of $10 million. Essilor has a majority interest and VSP and the principals of McLeod each own a minority interest in the company. At the same time, Essilor announced that it had also acquired 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.


In a related move, Essilor also acquired a majority stake in OptiSource International ($5.3 million in revenue), which manufactures and distributes optical supplies and consumables for opticians and laboratories.