Alcon's sales fell 3 percent in 2016.

The CEO of Novartis said the company continues to mull the possibility of spinning off its Alcon eyecare unit.

Such a move would likely "create a big opportunity for our shareholders," CEO Joe Jimenez said, according to MarketWatch.

The company anticipates having a decision by the end of the year, the website reports.

Joerg Reinhardt, chairman of Novartis, said in November 2016 that it was possible the pharmaceutical company would sell Alcon. A planned turnaround at Alcon hasn't progressed as quickly as Novartis officials had hoped.

Bloomberg reports that a spinoff and an initial public offering are among the options being considered for Alcon.

Jimenez told Bloomberg: "Now is the time for us to take a look at what’s in the best interests of Novartis shareholders for that unit. This is going to include all options, including retaining the business to exiting the business."

Alcon, whose U.S. headquarters are in Texas, makes items including contact care products, ophthalmic pharmaceuticals, dry eye products and ocular vitamins. Novartis took ownership of the company through several deals totaling $51 billion.

According to Bloomberg,  Alcon's sales fell 3 percent in 2016 to just over $5.8 billion.

Read more at MarketWatch and Bloomberg

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