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Nestlé and Novartis to buy 77% of Alcon for $US39 billion PDF
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Wednesday, 09 April 2008
Nestlé and and Novartis announced on 7 April that they have reached an agreement through which Novartis will acquire, in a two-phase deal, a majority stake in Alcon from Nestlé for a total of approximately $US39 billion ($A42 billion).

Initially, Novartis plans to buy an initial stake of 25 per cent in Alcon in the second half of 2008 for about $11 billion, and to acquire Nestlé’s remaining 52 per cent stake for about $28 billion between January 2010 and July 2011.

Novartis doesn’t plan to buy the roughly 23 per cent of Alcon that is publicly traded.
British supermarket group to double in-store practices PDF
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International News
Tuesday, 08 April 2008
British supermarket group Tesco celebrated its 10th anniversary of optometrical and dispensing services by announcing that it is to double the number of in-store practices from 70 to 140 over the next year.

Around 500 new jobs will be created by the roll out including posts for 70 full-time optometrists, 70 full-time practice managers and 350 full-time optical assistants.

Existing in-store practices have proved popular with customers, attracted by Tesco’s low prices and flexible opening hours. Since Tesco entered the optical market it has continued to driving down the price of eye care. In 1998, complete prescription glasses cost from £24.95 while today the starting price is £20.

In five of the existing in-store practices Tesco is piloting a new service called Optomap.

Source: Tesco
Essilor strengthens its positions in Italy and 3 new acquisitions in the US PDF
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Monday, 07 April 2008
Essilor is pursuing its external growth strategy in Italy and the United States.

The Group has stepped up its development in Italy with the acquisition of Galileo, a major player in the Italian market. The company sells prescription and stock lenses under its own brand, which is widely recognized in the optics industry and among Italian consumers. Galileo operates a prescription laboratory in Milan and generates €13 million in annual revenue.

Essilor of America, a subsidiary of Essilor International, has strengthened its prescription laboratory network in the United States with the acquisition of a majority stake in Empire Optical of California, Inc., located in North Hollywood. A distributor of Varilux® lenses, the company has 168 employees and $23 million in full-year revenue. Empire has major potential for developing Essilor lenses and enables the Group to increase its market share in the nation’s most populous state.

Lastly, Essilor of America has also acquired a majority stake in two prescription laboratories: Advance Optical Sales Co., Inc. in Rochester, New York, with revenue of $6.1 million, and Future Optics Inc. in Jackson, Tennessee, with revenue of $3.3 million.

Source: Essilor
Eye Surgeons Journey to Vietnam to Perform Sight-Saving Surgery PDF
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International News
Friday, 04 April 2008
Three leading California eye surgeons will travel to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, to participate in a sight-saving mission April 14 - 18 on board the ORBIS Flying Eye Hospital -- a state-of-the-art medical and teaching facility housed inside a DC-10 aircraft. Invited by ORBIS International, a nonprofit global development organization whose mission is to preserve and restore sight by strengthening the capacity of local partners in their efforts to prevent and treat blindness, each surgeon will work alongside Vietnamese ophthalmologists to provide advanced training in their areas of ophthalmic expertise.

Like many emerging nations, Vietnam has a high rate of avoidable blindness and is working hard to provide quality eye care service to its entire population. There are half a million blind people nationwide, with the majority living in rural areas. Access to quality eye care is limited, as most ophthalmologists practice in the major urban centers. In the rural areas, health workers are usually nurses, who have minimal instruction in eye care and possess scant resources for blindness prevention and treatment.

Source: Orbis
Finnish Kesko sells Tähti Optikko chain to Specsavers PDF
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International News
Thursday, 03 April 2008
Finnish Kesko Corporation has sold all Tähti Optikko Group Oy shares to Specsavers. The debt-free selling price is about 15 million euros. The disposal will contribute a non-recurring gain of about 8 million euros to the Kesko Group's profit from discontinued operations.

Tähti Optikko is a chain of speciality stores in the optical trade. The chain consists of 129 stores, of which 98 are run by entrepreneurs and 31 are owned by Tähti Optikko Group. In 2007, Tähti Optikko Group's net sales totalled 21 million euros, showing an increase of 7.3%. Tähti Optikko chain's retail sales were 48 million euros, up 0.6%.

Kesko pursues a strategy of focused growth, which allows for the disposal of non-core product lines on economically viable terms.

The parties of the transaction also agreed on store site cooperation and on continuing the Plussa customer loyalty programme.

Source: Kesko
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