What a year 2017 has been already. CES, the Essilor national sales meeting, The Vision Council Executive Summit, Transitions Academy and the announcement about the merger of Essilor and Luxottica . . . all in the month of January. The new year is heating up to be an eventful one indeed.

A couple of issues ago we wrote in this space about the unique positions that Costa and Maui Jim put themselves in by adding ophthalmics to their already popular sunwear lines. By offering frames, finished lenses (both sun and clear) and putting them together into a finished pair of eyewear in their own labs, these companies are among the few uniquely vertically integrated eyewear companies.

Traditionally, frames come from one source, lenses from another, and finally a third company that operates a lab brings them both together to create a finished pair of eyeglasses.

Now, with the merger of the world’s largest frame company with the world’s largest lens company, the new EssilorLuxottica entity represents integration on a much larger, global scale. The new company will have combined revenue of $16 billion, more than 140,000 employees and sales in more than 150 countries. The deal is worth $49 billion.

Even with many in the optical field grumbling about the market dominance this new company will have, an outside observer might wonder why it has not always been the case in the eyewear business that one company is not typically responsible for both frames and lenses and putting them together into a finished pair of eyewear.

The founder of Luxottica, Leonardo Del Vecchio, said it himself when the merger was announced: “With this agreement my dream to create a major global player in the eyewear industry, fully integrated and excellent in all its parts, comes finally true. Finally, after 50 years, two products which are naturally complementary, namely frames and lenses, will be designed, manufactured and distributed under the same roof.”

It shouldn’t be much of a surprise after all.

email me at JS@VisionCareProducts.com


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