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Infringement proceedings against France for obstructing online sales of optical products and glasses PDF
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International News
Monday, 22 September 2008
The European Commission will formally request France to amend its national legislation on the sale of optical products and glasses. This formal request will take the form of a ‘reasoned opinion’, the second stage of infringement proceedings under Article 226 of the EC Treaty. If there is no satisfactory response within two months, the Commission may refer the matter to the European Court of Justice.

The Commission has decided to send a reasoned opinion to France under Article 226 of the EC Treaty on account of Articles L4211-4, L4362-1, L4362-9, L4363-1 and L4363-4 of the Public Health Code (code de la santé publique), which govern the sale of optical products and glasses.

By banning distance sales of optical products and glasses by qualified dispensing opticians and requiring all qualified operators to register their diploma with the French departmental authorities, the current legislation restricts freedom of establishment (Article 43 of the EC Treaty) and free movement of services (Article 49 of the EC Treaty), in particular free movement of information society services (as provided for in Directive 2000/31/EC on electronic commerce).
 
Vision Group's Board confident of future PDF
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Australian News
Monday, 22 September 2008
Following on from recent announcements concerning key executive positions Vision Group Chairman, Mr Shane Tanner has issued a statement on late last Friday reassuring investors with regard to the group’s ongoing performance and success.

Mr Tanner said “The board of directors of Vision Group has complete confidence in the future of the company and believes the drop in its share price is completely unwarranted. The directors are concerned over the fall in the group’s share price which they believe is completely at odds with the strong business performance of the company over the past financial year.

The directors are confident in the ongoing performance of the business. Our core non discretionary areas of cataract and retina continue to experience a steady growth in demand and we have added and continue to add more Doctor Partners to benefit from this. The refractive business is as we have previously flagged a discretionary consumer confidence business and accordingly its volumes are likely to be lower this year. We are confident in our ability to continue to develop and grow all areas of the business.

As announced recently, current Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Neil Rodaway will leave the business at the end of December this year. We have commenced a search for a high calibre replacement CEO and are confident an appropriate appointment will be made as soon as is practicable.”

Mr Tanner highlighted the fact that the development of new doctor-remuneration contracts is well advanced and will be finalised by the end of November. The Company will then be well placed to sit down and work through the new contracts one on one with each doctor. The doctors on the Vision Group board have been instrumental in framing the new contract, which is designed to reward growth and profitability. They will also play a key part in the negotiations with the rest of our Doctor Partners. Whilst we are keen to complete the new contracts and gain acceptance of its structure it is important to note that the first major tranche of contract rollovers is not until 2010.

The Chairman also advised that a number of Doctor Partners had requested the opportunity to purchase additional Vision Group shares. The Company has complied with its continuous disclosure obligations and the market is fully informed. As such the board has resolved to open a “Special” Trading Window for a period of two weeks commencing Monday, 22 September 2008 to permit all persons subject to the Company’s Securities Trading Policy to purchase the Company’s shares (VGH) during that period. The "Special" Trading Window will close at the end of trade on ASX on Friday, 3 October 2008 and will operate in the same way a Trading Window under the Company’s Securities Trading Policy.

“Vision is a robust company, delivering steady organic growth, strong cashflow and stable profitability from a large and committed Doctor Partner base working together under one consistent brand,” Mr Tanner said.

“Our Doctor Partners have expressed a firm commitment to Vision Group and have confidence in the company moving forward.”
 
Sightsavers partner with New Star PDF
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Companies
Monday, 22 September 2008
Sightsavers has started an innovative new partnership with the asset management company New Star, which should generate funds for their work in Africa. Investments accepted into the New Star Heart of Africa Fund using a special Sightsavers International application form will generate a contribution from New Star for Sightsavers’ work in Africa, at no additional cost to investors.

After decades of political unrest and economic instability in Africa there are signs that the economic opportunities there are changing. This has led to increased interest from investors and in 2007 New Star launched the Heart of Africa Fund, which invests in sub-Saharan African companies.

There are many reasons why Africa’s economy is changing, such as the increasing demand from Asia for natural resources, improvements in infrastructure, increased political stability and a reduced debt burden. Countries such as Nigeria, Kenya and Ghana are some of the key beneficiaries of the increased demand for resources.

For investments accepted in New Star’s Heart of Africa Fund, New Star will donate all of the initial charge, half of the annual charge and half of any performance fees that would have been paid to the company. Investors should not treat these charitable contributions as a reason for investing and are encouraged to consult a financial adviser.
 
Vision Group Holding to seek new CEO PDF
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Australian News
Friday, 19 September 2008
Vision Group Chairman, Mr Shane Tanner, yesterday announced that the company would be seeking to appoint a new Chief Executive Officer as the current CEO, Mr Neil Rodaway, will be leaving the group at the end of December 2008.

Mr Tanner said, “Neil joined us at a time when a number of questions were being asked about Vision’s ability to grow organically and maintain strong margins. Neil has in a short period of only 18 months helped us deliver improved profitability at a continued high margin. He has overseen the addition of 16 new Doctor Partners and has brought about an improvement in the level of management, discipline and rigour appropriate for a public company,” he said.

“Vision is now a more robust organisation with our practices delivering steady organic growth, strong cashflow and stable profitability from a larger Doctor Partner base working together under one consistent brand.

The Board, however, concluded that for Vision to realise its next growth phase – both within ophthalmology and potentially other medical specialities – alternate leadership is required. As a result we have reached an agreement with Neil that he step down from his position as CEO and Managing Director of Vision Group. All parties agree this change is in the best long-term interests of the company.

Neil will continue to provide his services to the company while we undertake the search for a new CEO.”
 
Children still bullied for wearing specs PDF
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International News
Friday, 19 September 2008
Research commissioned by Specsavers to mark the inaugural National Glasses Day in UK on Friday 19 September reveals that, despite role models like Johnny Depp and David Tennant making wearing glasses more fashionable, a quarter of children were sad when they were told that they had to wear specs.

Iconic specs wearer, Gok Wan, presenter of C4’s How to Look Good Naked, has joined forces with Specsavers and anti-bullying charity Kidscape to encourage all specs wearers to wear their glasses with pride and draw attention to bullies who ridicule people for the way they look.

The style guru, who was himself a victim of school bullies, wants to raise awareness of the long-term damage classroom taunts can have, not only on a child’s self-esteem but on their education generally, and says that there is no place in today’s classrooms for kids who taunt their schoolmates for wearing specs.
 
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