Essilor Develops Its Global Low Vision Offering with the Acquisition of
CHARENTON-LE-PONT, France -- October 17, 2013
Essilor International (Paris:EI) has announced the acquisition of a majority
interest in Technologies Humanware Inc., a world leader in the design and
distribution of electronic assistance products for the blind and vision
Founded in 1988 and based in Drummondville, Quebec (Canada), Humanware offers
a wide array of equipment that is marketed mainly in visual rehabilitation
clinic networks. The company recently launched Prodigi, a two-in-one magnifier
that helps the vision impaired whether they are sitting or moving about and
which was awarded a Silmo d'Or gold medal at the Silmo international optics
show in Paris in September. This configurable personal vision assistant
combines a portable tablet and a touchscreen desktop device that automatically
adapts text size and format to each user's vision.It also includes a
Low vision concerns people whose visual acuity, after correction, is less than
3/10, meaning that the person's autonomy is limited. Due to the lack of
affordable, easily accessible solutions, only around 5% of the 140million
affected people worldwide own low-vision equipment. According to demographic
forecasts, some 400million people will suffer from low vision in 2050.
Commenting on the partnership, Hubert Sagnières, Essilor Chairman and Chief
Executive Officer, said: “Helping the vision impaired to gain greater autonomy
is the natural extension of Essilor's mission of enabling more than
4.2billion individuals to enjoy a better life through better sight. Thanks to
the partnership with Humanware, Essilor has taken a major step in the
development of its offering of high-performance, affordable and widely
Essilor is already active in the field of low vision for several years. In
cooperation with Institut de la Vision in Paris, Essilor conducted research to
better understand the aging of the visual system, which is at the heart of the
vision-impairment debate. Essilor has also developed lenses designed to
prevent the occurrence of ocular pathologies and has begun marketing to
eyecare professionals Crizal^® Prevencia, a lens that reduces the harmful
effects of blue light, which is partially responsible for age-related macular
“We are very pleased to join Essilor, whose expertise in terms of optics and
access to Eye Care Professionals distribution networks will speed the
innovation process for the benefit of the vision impaired,” said Gilles
Pepin, Chief Executive Officer of Humanware. “Together, we will help to
develop this notoriously underpenetrated market around the world.”
Humanware's devices will extend the range of filtered lenses, magnifying
glasses and other optical products and assistants that Essilor already sells
to Eye Care Professionals. In the future, research teams from the two
companies will combine their expertise in the area of portable optics and
electronics solutions to design and develop new ergonomic, highly mobile
equipment, such as devices that feature augmented reality technology.
With 150 employees, Humanware markets its products throughout North America
and in a number of European countries, as well as in Australia and certain
parts of Asia. Generating revenue of around 35 million US dollars, the company
will continue to be led by the current management team.
The world's leading ophthalmic optics company, Essilor designs, manufactures
and markets a wide range of lenses to improve and protect eyesight. Its
corporate mission is to enable everyone around the world to access lenses that
meet his or her unique vision requirements. To support this mission, the
Company allocates more than €150 million to research and innovation every
year, in a commitment to continuously bring new, more effective products to
market. Essilor's flagship brands are Varilux^®, Crizal^®, Definity^®,
Xperio^®, Optifog^TM and Foster Grant^®. It also develops and markets
equipment, instruments and services for eyecare professionals.
Essilor reported consolidated revenue of approximately €5 billion in 2012 and
employs around 50,700 people. It operates in some 100 countries with 22
plants, more than 400 prescription laboratories and edging facilities, as well
as several research and development centers around the world.
For more information, please visit www.essilor.com.
The Essilor share trades on the NYSE Euronext Paris market and is included in
the Euro Stoxx 50 and CAC 40 indices.
Codes and symbols: ISIN: FR0000121667; Reuters: ESSI.PA; Bloomberg: EI:FP.
Investor Relations and Financial Communication
Véronique Gillet – Sébastien Leroy – Ariel Bauer, +33 (0)1 49 77 42 16
Maïlis Thiercelin, +33 (0)1 49 77 45 02
Press spacebar to pause and continue. Press esc to stop.