Essilor sees another year of growth

Sales up over 7% in 2016, with new lenses and sunglasses expected to boost profitability in 2017

17 Feb 2017 by Robina Moss

Essilor has confirmed that 2016 was another year of growth for the company, with full-year revenue of €304m.

The results follow the news in January of a €46bn merger between Essilor and Luxottica to create a global eyewear giant. 

Sales growth of 7.6%, excluding currency effects, was revealed in Essilor’s annual results published today (17 February). The report said this growth “reflected healthy performance in both fast-growing markets and Europe, mixed fortunes in North America and the completion of 18 new partnerships and acquisitions.”

Revenue in Europe was up 3.4% on a like-for-like basis. Marketing campaigns early in 2016 generated momentum for existing value-added lenses and the new Eyezen lens, according to the company.

However, in the second half of the year the momentum translated to more modest growth “due to high prior-year comparatives.” The optical instruments business and online sales made a highly positive contribution to growth over the year.

Analysed by country, sales trends were favourable in Eastern Europe and Russia. Varilux and Transitions lenses drove increased business in Italy and Spain, while the new Eyezen lens was “very well received” in France and Spain. Turning to Nordic countries, sales rose for key accounts and online sales. However, performance was more mixed in the UK and central Europe.

The 2016 fiscal year was characterised by further highlights for the company, including the global rollout of the new Eyezen category of lenses for users of digital devices.

Essilor also emphasised the launch in Europe and the US of the Eye Protect System, a new “leading lens in the field of protection against UV rays and harmful blue-violet light.”  

Strong growth of online retail activities was bolstered by two acquisitions, Vision Direct and MyOptique.

However, the results revealed that there was a subdued full year performance by Essilor’s sunglasses and readers division, despite improved momentum during the second half of 2016.  

Robust performance by the company’s equipment division was reported throughout the year, which was said to reflect the appetite of many optical industry players for the latest lens manufacturing technologies.

Essilor International chairman and chief executive, Hubert Sagnières, said: “In 2016, Essilor achieved another year of earnings growth, continued its mission to improve vision care around the world and expanded its operational and geographic reach.”

Turning to 2017, the report states that, following the announcement on January 16, Essilor has started the process intended to create a combined group with the Luxottica Group. The combination aims “to create an integrated global player to answer the growing needs in visual health.”

Mr Sagnières emphasised: “We are beginning 2017 with a strengthened leadership team and operational structure in order to even more effectively capture the growth opportunities offered by the vast eye care market.”

He added: “Multiple initiatives are already underway in terms of innovation, product and service offerings. As a result, we expect a progressive acceleration in growth over the course of the year. Furthermore, the proposed combination with the Luxottica group will enable the integration of lenses, frames and distribution to open up particularly exciting new prospects.”

Over the next 18 months Essilor is planning to launch several major products under its three leading brands of corrective lenses, Varilux, Crizal and Transitions. In addition, the company will step up the development of its Sunwear activities and online sales of eye care products.


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