Essilor signs five new partnership agreements in North Africa, Latin America

Essilor (Paris:EI) has further expanded its presence in fast-growing markets by signing five new partnership agreements in North Africa and Latin America.

After entering Morocco in 2011 through an equity interest in L'N Optic, Essilor has widened its national coverage by acquiring a 65% interest in Optiben, a major player in ophthalmic lens distribution, and a 65% stake in prescription laboratory VST Lab. With combined revenue of around €4 million and a network of 14 local branches, this base will manufacture and distribute BBGR®-brand products. These acquisitions will allow the Company to deploy its multi-network strategy in a market with a population of 30 million shaped by low penetration of corrective lenses and a particularly vibrant presbyopia segment.

In Tunisia, Essilor has signed an agreement to acquire a majority interest in prescription laboratory SIVO and its marketing subsidiary SICOM, both located in the central port city of Sfax. Tunisia's market leader, SIVO also operates in other North and West African markets through subsidiaries in Algeria, Morocco, Côte d'Ivoire, Togo and Cameroon. SIVO, which generated revenue of around €7 million in 2011, will continue to manufacture and distribute high value-added products in Tunisia under the Essilor®, Varilux® and Crizal® brand names, and sell products under its own brand name in its export markets.

In Latin America, where Essilor is pursuing a very active partnership strategy with independent laboratories, the Company has considerably strengthened its presence in equipment with Satisloh's acquisition of a majority stake in CM Equipamentos Ópticos de Precisão. Based in Petropolis, Brazil, CM is active in the manufacture of ophthalmic lens surfacing machines, has nearly 90 employees and generates around €8 million in annual revenue. Combining Satisloh's technological expertise with CM's customer base will enable the Company to offer a wide range of machines, consumables and services to independent prescription laboratories throughout the region and to speed the spread of digital surfacing and coating technologies.

Essilor has also entered the Dominican Republic by acquiring a majority interest in Opti Express, a prescription laboratory with revenue of around €2.5 million that operates primarily in the Santo Domingo area.

In addition to these two new partnerships, Essilor in late 2011 set up a sales subsidiary in Colombia, Latin America's third-largest market with a population of 47 million. Essilor Colombia will be responsible for directly distributing products sold under various Essilor brands in this fast-growing market.

These various transactions, which represent aggregate annual revenue of around €21 million, give Essilor a foothold in three new countries and significantly increase the Company's exposure in these high-growth regions.

In the United States, Essilor has acquired a majority stake in CSC Laboratories, a large prescription laboratory based in Watsonville, California. Backed by leading-edge technologies, CSC has around 170 employees and generates annual revenue of close to $32 million. It is also a distributor of the industry's major brands. This partnership will allow Essilor to enhance its positions in the San Francisco area.

Lastly, Essilor has also acquired Professional Ophthalmic Laboratories, a company based in Roanoke, Virginia with revenue of around $3 million.




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