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Essilor and Luxottica Iron Out Leadership Struggles

A new agreement ‘settles any existing dispute.’

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CHARENTON-LE-PONT, FRANCE – A new settlement agreement addresses governance issues and sets the basis for a “renewed start of profound collaboration” between Essilor and Luxottica.

The agreement “settles any existing dispute among the parties,” which completed a merger in October to form EssilorLuxottica, according to a press release. The organization has since been plagued by infighting among its leadership.

The agreement is between EssilorLuxottica and Delfin, holding company of Leonardo Del Vecchio, the top shareholder of EssilorLuxottica. It is “aimed at immediately making the Group’s structure more efficient and effective from an operational standpoint.”

According to the agreement:

  • Del Vecchio and Hubert Sagnières, who serves as vice chairman of the merged organization, empowered Francesco Milleri (deputy chairman – CEO of Luxottica Group) and Laurent Vacherot (CEO of Essilor International) to “develop and implement the EssilorLuxottica strategy and integration process, accelerating the simplification of the new Group by integrating the two operating companies within the next 12 to 24 months.”
  • Milleri and Vacherot approved the appointment of key executives for the group’s central functions.
  • Vacherot has been appointed as a director of EssilorLuxottica, replacing Bernard Hours, who has asked to be relieved of his office. He will also become a member of the board’s strategy committee.
  • The board confirmed the search for a new CEO. Milleri and Vacherot have informed the board that they are not candidates for the position.

As a result of the agreement, all existing claims will be waived and legal proceedings will be terminated, including the request for arbitration filed by Delfin before the International Court of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce on March 27.

In light of this agreement, Valoptec decided that it will withdraw the proposal submitted on April 18 for the appointment of one additional director of EssilorLuxottica. It will vote against the proposals submitted by certain institutional investors for the appointment of two additional directors, according to the release.

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“The representative of Valoptec at the Board of EssilorLuxottica will integrate the Strategic and the Integration Committees of the Company,” according to the release.

“I’m very pleased of this outcome. The industrial rationale of the combination is even stronger when looking at all the opportunities raised during the meetings of the Integration Committee,” said Del Vecchio, executive chairman of EssilorLuxottica. “Today, respecting the equal power and the Combination Agreement, we have found a solution to better execute such strategic combination.”

Sagnières said, “With these decisions driving to a more unified company, EssilorLuxottica is well positioned to accelerate its growth in order to achieve its mission: to help people around the world to see more, be more and live life to its fullest by addressing their evolving vision needs and personal style aspirations.”

Since launching in 2014, INVISION has won 23 international journalism awards for its publication and website. Contact INVISION's editors at editor@invisionmag.com.

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Optical Product Firm Looks North to a Whole New Market

It will distribute contact lenses in Canada.

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CORAL SPRINGS, FL – ABB Optical Group, a provider of optical products and business solutions in the eyecare industry, announced its expansion into the Canadian market.

Beginning in 2020, ABB Optical will distribute contact lenses in Canada, starting with servicing FYidoctors, Canada’s largest doctor-owned provider of eyecare and ophthalmic products and services, and Independent Alliance clinics.

The company stated in a press release: “According to ABB OPTICAL’s market intelligence, eye care professionals in Canada have not had the opportunity to benefit from contact lens consolidation and business management best practices with one distributor – a common model in the United States which provides efficiency, cost savings, and better, faster service for practices and patients.”

“We are excited about our expansion into the Canadian market and look forward to serving the country’s eye care professionals,” said ABB Optical CEO Tom Burke. “We have seen time and time again that efficient contact lens supply chain management can help improve patient care. Benefits to a practice include lowered costs, administrative time savings and improved turn-around time for patients to receive their lenses.”

Burke added that ABB Optical’s expansion into Canada also benefits the Canadian economy, stating, “In addition to servicing eye care professionals, we’re excited to be making a substantial economic investment in Canada. ABB OPTICAL will operate its own Canadian distribution center which will house inventory, and our expanded business will provide job opportunities for Canadians.”

FYidoctors’ CEO and Chairman Dr. Alan Ulsifer said, “ABB’s entrance into Canada will bring incredible benefits to Canadian optometrists. The company’s proven systems of single source ordering, direct to patient delivery, and business solutions and services will help Canadian optometrists thrive in a market that continues to be challenging. We are very excited and proud to be their first customers.”

ABB Optical noted that it “also offers other business solutions for the optical industry that could benefit Canadian eye care professionals in the future, such as lens fabrication, ophthalmic lens distribution, frames distribution, practice development strategies, a data and analytics platform, and gas permeable contact lens manufacturing.”

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89-Location Optometry Network Acquired

It operates in Arizona and Florida.

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ST. LOUIS – EyeCare Partners LLC, a network of medical optometry and ophthalmology practices, announced that it has completed the acquisition of Nationwide Vision, a full-service vision care provider.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The acquisition “continues to strengthen ECP’s network of free-standing optometric offices in fast-growing regional markets,” according to a press release.

Nationwide, headquartered in Chandler, AZ, operates 89 optometry offices throughout Arizona and Florida offering eyecare services and eyewear products. The company has over 780 employees, including full-time optometrists who perform more than 250,000 comprehensive exams annually.

“Nationwide is exceptionally well respected in Arizona and Florida, where its premier eye health services, consistent value and broad assortment of fashionable eyewear are experiencing strong demand from existing and new customers,” said Kelly McCrann, CEO of ECP. “We are thrilled Nationwide’s entire team, and especially its leader Al Bernstein, has joined ECP. We look forward to leveraging Nationwide’s deep experience with managed vision plans to help expand ECP into new markets.”

Bernstein said, “All of us at Nationwide Vision are excited about our opportunity to partner with EyeCare Partners. ECP has a reputation for being a superb business partner and we are eager to leverage its capabilities to pursue expansive growth in Arizona and Florida, two of the fastest-growing markets in the U.S.”
With 12 optometric and ophthalmic acquisitions in 2019, ECP now operates across 12 states throughout the Midwest, Southeast and Mid-Atlantic regions, as well as the Southwest with the addition of Nationwide. ECP supports the growth of its practices with revenue cycle management, purchasing, marketing, human resources, recruiting, training, IT and other business functions.

“With the Nationwide team, we look forward to providing patients with the ultimate in eye care in
Arizona and Florida,“ said Dr. James J. Wachter, chief professional officer of ECP.

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Optical Distributor Acquired

Hilco is the second investment in Windjammer’s $870 million Senior Equity Fund V, L.P.

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Windjammer Capital Investors has announced the acquisition of Hilco Vision in partnership with management.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. As a result of the transaction, Blue Point Capital Partners has exited Hilco Vision, PE Hub Network noted.

Based in Plainville, MA, Hilco is a distributor of optical products and accessories to opticians, optometrists and ophthalmologists.

“Windjammer is an ideal partner for Hilco,” said Hilco CEO Ross Brownlee. “The combination of their successful track record investing in specialty distribution businesses like ours, the value-added resources they bring, and our shared objective to deliver even greater value to our customers and investors makes us confident that we will be able to execute our growth plan during this next stage of the Company’s development.”

Matt Anderson, managing director at Windjammer, said, “The breadth of Hilco’s product offerings and value-added services represent a differentiated value proposition for its customers, which is clearly reflected in the Company’s leading market position and its long-tenured customer relationships.”

Hilco is the second investment in Windjammer’s $870 million Senior Equity Fund V, L.P.

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