Growth in Europe was dampened by the decline in instrument sales and the very challenging economic conditions in the United Kingdom, Spain, Italy and certain Eastern European countries. By leveraging the multi-network strategy, operations in France and Germany held business firm during the period, while market share gains drove very strong growth in Russia.
In the United States, sales from the prescription laboratory network to independent eyecare professionals held up well during the quarter, but business with certain optical chains was more difficult.
Emerging markets in Asia continued to enjoy very strong growth in revenue, especially in India. Operations in Australia also reported sustained momentum. On the other hand, sales in Japan declined in a persistently difficult market.
Lastly, Essilor maintained its robust expansion in Latin America, led by operations in Brazil and Mexico.
In the optical equipment business, Satisloh is facing weaker demand from prescription laboratories in the machines segment, primarily in Europe.
Essilor raised its stake in JZO, the ophthalmic optics market leader in Poland and a BBGR distributor, to 51% from 10% previously. JZO reported EUR15.5 million in revenue in 2008 and has more than 300 employees. The increased stake will enable Essilor to leverage the fast growth in progressive lenses in Poland, the Ukraine and Lithuania, where JZO has distribution subsidiaries.
In India, Essilor raised its interest in GKB Rx Lens Private Ltd from 50%
to 60%. Based in Kolkata, GKB Rx Lens Private Ltd oper
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