Buchmann Optical Holding of Belgium now has 100 percent control of Weco Optik GmbH, a new German firm in Düsseldorf that has taken over for an undisclosed sum the manufacturing facilities, patents, distribution rights and other assets of the former Pro-Laser Weco, including its Rodenstock Instrumente equipment operations, but not its debt. Based on the same premises, Pro-Laser Weco had gone into receivership last Feb. 27 as its other shareholders rejected Buchmann's plans to accelerate its merger with its own highly profitable Briot subsidiary in France.

Buchmann had acquired last summer a 51 percent stake in Weco's parent company in Israel, Pro-Laser, which went into receivership last March 8. That company has since been liquidated along with its bankrupt medical systems operations, in which Buchmann had no interest. Instead, Briot took over Pro-Laser's and Weco's distribution operations in the USA, Canada and Australia, merging them with its own sales activities in those countries, as well as others in France, Italy and the UK.

Weco's general manager in Düsseldorf, Frieder Lohrer, is leaving the company. On the other hand, Buchmann has pledged an immediate infusion of cash into Weco's German state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in order to boost the production of parts and machinery, and to respond to strong demand which had been hard to satisfy lately because of its tight financial situation.

Briot and Weco will continue to be marketed as separate brands with distinct product lines for different segments of the optical market, but they will capitalize on synergies in R&D and back-office operations.

Meanwhile, Briot introduced at the Mido fair in Milan earlier this month a new optical pattern recognition system that enables opticians to trade the shape and the axis for rimless frames through a sophisticated and accurate imagin system, without using a tracer. It's described as a user-friendly and time-saving device that represents a further evolution of Briot's innovative Axcel system.