Bacou-Dalloz, the large personal protection and safety specialist in which Essilor has a minority stake, has sold its subsidiary Christian Dalloz Sunoptics to Hervé Meillat, a former company executive who has been working as a consultant in the USA recently.

Based in the Jura region of France, the operation generates about €10 million in sales annually, designing and manufacturing high-end solar lenses at two factories for various sunglass manufacturers in the fashion and sports sectors. Its profitability is said to be lower than that of other operations of Bacou-Dalloz in the personal protection segment.

Meillat joined the group in 1986 as industrial director of Christian Dalloz Sunoptics, which he subsequently ran as chief executive and then as chairman. He became in 1995 senior vice president of the Bacou-Dalloz group in charge of all its eye protection activities, including work and safety eyewear. He was also a member of the group's executive committee until his departure in 2004.

No major changes are going to take place following this transaction, as Christian Dalloz Sunoptics has been working autonomously from the rest of the group, employing around 100 people, but the company is expected to take a more entrepreneurial approach, working more closely with key customers, stressing innovation. Bruno Favaletto will continue to run the company, at least for the time being, in combination with Meillat.