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Essilor Reports Strong Growth for 1H2014 and Appoints New COO PDF
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Friday, 29 August 2014

EssilorEssilor reports revenue amounted to €2,780.1 million in the first six months of 2014, an increase of 7.9% as reported and of 9.4% like-for-like including partnerships and acquisitions. 

Revenue growth in China reflected the solid performance by the Essilor network, healthy advances in anti-UV product sales by Essilor's partners, strong demand for Kodak® brand products and a recovery in exports. In India, the Varilux® and Crizal® brands raised their profiles and benefitted from new product launches. Essilor enjoyed sustained growth in Southeast Asia, led by strong demand in Thailand. Revenue in the region’s developed markets was slightly higher, with sales in Australia continuing to benefit from dynamic performances among independent eye care professionals.

Essilor also announced the appointment of Jean Carrier as Chief Operating Officer alongside Paul du Saillant and Laurent Vacherot, effective September, 1, 2014. In his new role, Jean Carrier will continue to oversee Essilor of America and will also be responsible for Research and Development, Intellectual property, Strategic marketing and for the Group's E-business activity.

Valeant Extends Offer To Acquire Allergan PDF
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Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Valeant Pharmaceuticals International, Inc. last Friday announced that it has extended the expiration of its exchange offer to acquire all of the outstanding shares of Allergan, Inc. to 5:00 p.m., New York City time, on December 31, 2014. The exchange offer was previously scheduled to expire at 5:00 p.m., New York City time today, Friday, August 15, 2014. All other terms and conditions of the exchange offer remain unchanged.

The depositary of the exchange offer has advised that, as of 9:00 a.m., New York City time, on August 15, 2014, a total of approximately 12,509,606 shares of Allergan common stock were validly tendered and not properly withdrawn in the exchange offer.

In the meantime, Allergan has appointed a new CFO and acquired the LiRIS Program from TARIS Biomedica. The LiRIS Program is currently in Phase 2 trials for the treatment of interstitial cystitis / bladder pain syndrome (IC/BPS). Allergan paid US$67.5 million in cash upfront, subject to certain adjustments and holdbacks.

Coopervision Unveils CL e-Commerce Service For Independent Practitioners PDF
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Monday, 18 August 2014

LensFerryAiming to provide independent eye care practitioners (ECP) with an easy-to-implement method to more effectively enhance the ECP-wearer relationship, as well as drive contact lens category growth, CooperVision, Inc. unveiled its LensFerry™ service. Now in its U.S. beta release, LensFerry allows wearers to quickly and conveniently order replacement contact lenses from any manufacturer via their mobile device, tablet or computer for fast shipment to their homes. Not only does the prescribing practice receive the sales revenue as if the lenses had been ordered in-office, but it also enhances its relationship with the wearer, since all LensFerry communications are customised with the practice’s name and/or logo.

The service, which will be part of WebSystem3's EyeCare Prime suite later this year, includes contact lenses from all manufacturers at ECPs' specified prices. Online ordering and fulfillment is easy for subscribing practices and their wearers:

  1. In conjunction with an in-office visit and the selecting and prescribing of contacts by the ECP, a practice enrolls a wearer in just a few steps and verifies the prescription.
  2. The wearer selects from buying options, using available insurance benefits and qualifying for any applicable manufacturers’ rebates.
  3. The contact lenses are shipped directly to the wearer’s home or business through LensFerry’s partnership with ABB Optical, the leading U.S. contact lens distributor.
  4. The ECP can send the wearer custom-branded email and/or text reorder reminders via LensFerry.

If a wearer is not immediately interested in placing a lens order following an in-office appointment, LensFerry can send ECP-customised follow-up messages to encourage enrollment and online ordering, build wearer loyalty and maintain relationships.

LensFerry was developed with hands-on input from a group of U.S. optometrists representing a range of practice sizes and locations. The service's beta launch period is anticipated to take place over the next 90 days, accounting for testing and final design. LensFerry is then expected to roll out to other U.S. practices, with the potential for select international availability in 2015.

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ZEISS' Freeform Progressive Technology Patents Granted PDF
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Friday, 08 August 2014

Zeiss FreeformThe Japanese Patent Office granted ZEISS two patents covering certain types of back-surface freeform progressive lenses and processes by which they are made. These include types of progressive lenses whose front surfaces are rotationally symmetric with the back-surface progressive design determined by the individual prescriptions alone or in combination with other customization options. The technology is also covered by patents in Europe, US and Australia.

"The back surface freeform lens technology covered by our patents has been an important innovation with implications for the manufacture of quality ophthalmic lenses and the delivery of superior visual solutions to the market", said Rolf Beyersdoerfer, President of Carl Zeiss Japan. "This proprietary freeform technology has been changing industry standards for years now, is patented in many major markets and also licensed to major lens companies.

"ZEISS has been providing freeform solutions to its customers for many years", said Dr Raymund Heinen, President and CEO of ZEISS Vision Care, "through our Customer Enablement Business. We partner with each customer to develop personalized enablement solutions encompassing equipment, process, lens products and designs, dispensing solutions, services, training and ongoing support. Our offer includes ZEISS branded, non-branded and private label solutions." The back-surface freeform progressive technology covered by ZEISS patents is a key enabler of the customized progressive lens revolution. In 2012 and 2013 ZEISS licensed the Essilor Group, Hoya, Rodenstock and other major lens companies to practice the innovative proprietary Freeform Progressive Lens Technology. ZEISS is open to discussing further licensing of these patents for parties that are interested in taking a license to this technology.

Freeform technology allows the production of complex lens designs on a lens-by-lens basis. Sophisticated equipment can surface directly onto the back side of a lens blank. Previously, progressive lenses could only be manufactured in a complex, high volume production environment. "The advancement and ready availability of freeform technology made production of progressive lenses at the prescription laboratory level a reality and thus transformed the way progressive lenses are made as well as the way they are individually custom designed", says Dr Heinen. "ZEISS has been a leader in driving this technology and innovating related business models for nearly twenty years."

Allergan Files Lawsuit Against Valeant PDF
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Monday, 04 August 2014

Law SuitAllergan, Inc. last week filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Central District of California against Valeant Pharmaceuticals International, Inc. ("Valeant"), Pershing Square Capital Management, L.P. ("Pershing Square") and its principal, William A. Ackman, alleging that Valeant, Pershing Square and Mr. Ackman violated federal securities laws prohibiting insider trading, engaged in other fraudulent practices, and failed to disclose legally required information.

According to Allergan: "After careful consideration, Allergan decided to file the lawsuit in order to ensure that all of its stockholders have the opportunity to make decisions regarding their investment in the Company based on compliant, full and fair disclosures, and to ensure that any stockholders voting on corporate matters acquired their shares in accordance with the law. The Allergan Board of Directors is strongly committed to protecting the stockholder franchise and believes it is important that the rights of the Company's stockholders not be infringed by the actions of one hedge fund that significantly profited (to the detriment of other stockholders and the market) by trading in Allergan securities while in possession of material non-public information regarding Allergan. Specifically, as the complaint alleges, between February 2014 and April 2014, Pershing Square purchased Allergan stock and securities then valued at over US$3.2 billion from unknowing Company stockholders while fully aware of Valeant's nonpublic takeover intentions, thereby securing for itself and depriving the selling stockholders of value appreciation worth approximately US$1.2 billion upon Valeant's announcement of its initial offer on April 22, 2014."

In its complaint, Allergan is seeking, among other remedies, a declaration from the court that Pershing Square and Valeant violated insider trading and disclosure laws, and an order rescinding Pershing Square's purchase of the Allergan shares it acquired illegally. Allergan reserves the right to seek additional remedies against all appropriate parties.

Valeant Pharmaceuticals International, Inc. and Pershing Square Capital Management, L.P. responded the same day to the filing of a federal lawsuit by Allergan, Inc. in California. According to Valeant: "The complaint makes baseless claims about Valeant and Pershing Square regarding the tender offer rules. Allergan's true purpose in bringing the litigation is an attempt to interfere with shareholders' efforts to call a special meeting. That purpose is made clear in a separate letter Allergan sent today to the Delaware Court of Chancery. In that letter, Allergan noted that its bylaws "provide that the Corporate Secretary 'shall consider ineffective' any Special Meeting Requests that are 'made in a manner that involved a violation of Regulation 14A under the Exchange Act, or other applicable law.'" Pershing Square is targeting the middle of August for delivering shareholder requests to call a special meeting. Pershing Square and Valeant are confident that this desperate attempt to delay or avoid the special meeting will not succeed. The independent proxy advisory firms are expected to issue their recommendations on this matter in the near future, and this lawsuit also seeks to distract from those forthcoming recommendations."

Safilo Renews Tommy Hilfiger License and Reports Increased Sales in 2Q2014 PDF
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Friday, 01 August 2014

Safilo Group and the Tommy Hilfiger Group have announced a five-year renewal of their global eyewear licensing agreement for the exclusive design, development, production and distribution of the Tommy Hilfiger ophthalmic and sunglass collections. The agreement will run until December 31, 2020, with an optional five-year extension thereafter.

Since establishing the global eyewear licensing agreement in Fall 2010, Safilo and the Tommy Hilfiger Group have partnered to consolidate and grow the Tommy Hilfiger brand’s global eyewear distribution business. During the forthcoming five-year term, the partnership will focus on expanding distribution in Asia and Latin America – both key markets with significant potential for expansion and category growth.

In financial news, Safilo registered in the second quarter of 2014 an increase in sales at constant exchange rates of 7.4%, taking the first six months to 4.7%. In terms of economic results, the first half saw an improvement in the gross profit margin, which exceeded 63% for the period, whilst the gross profit margin for the quarter was confirmed at the highest levels achieved by the Group. A slight reduction in the adjusted EBITDA was accompanied by an improvement in the adjusted Group net profit, which was up approximately 23% both in the second quarter and the first half.

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