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Essilor: Essilor Forges New Strategic Partnerships Around the World

PARIS, France, July 7 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Essilor is pursuing its external growth strategy through a number of recent transactions in Europe, North America and the Middle East.

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 EUR17 million in 2008 revenue. The current management team will remain in place.

In the United States, 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 United States 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.

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 EUR3.5 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% to 100% its stake in TechCite, a prescription laboratory located in Calgary, Alberta. TechCite generated 2008 revenue of approximately C$6.8 million.

Essilor International is the world leader in ophthalmic optical products, offering a wide range of lenses under the flagship Varilux(R), Crizal(R), Essilor(R) and Definity(R) brands to correct myopia, hyperopia, presbyopia and astigmatism. Essilor operates worldwide through 15 production sites, 293 lens finishing laboratories and local distribution networks. The Essilor share trades on the Euronext Paris market and is included in the CAC 40 index. Codes and symbols: ISIN: FR 0000121667; Reuters: ESSI.PA; Bloomberg: EI:FP.

    Investor Relations and Financial Communications
    Veronique Gillet - Sebastien Leroy
    Phone: +33(0)1-49-77-42-16

SOURCE Essilor
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