The Cooper Companies, which controls CooperVision (CVI), is selling $100 million worth of convertible senior debentures to reduce amounts drawn under its revolving credit facility and for other purposes, including possible future acquisitions. An additional $15 million may be offered if the demand is high. Carrying interest of 2.625 percent, the bonds will mature on July 1, 2023 but may be redeemed in 5 years' time and converted into shares at an initial price of about $44.40 per share.

CVI's acquisition of Biocompatibles early last year contributed to boost the group's total sales, which were up 34 percent to $96.4 million in the 3rd quarter ended Apr. 30. CVI's sales grew by 39 percent to $78.1 million in the period, with an organic pro-forma increase of 27 percent, or about 20 percent in constant currencies. Revenues from Proclear products more than doubled to represent over 60 percent of Biocompatibles' total business, and the related technology will be used in CVI's next generation of contact lenses.

The strength of the global contact lens market helped CVI to reach these sales results. According to the company, it grew by about 10 percent in local currencies during the first 3 months of 2003, with an increase of 7 percent in North America. Outside the USA, the 5 major competitors in the market have reported increases of between 18 and 29 percent for that period, CVI points out.

In Europe, CVI's sales were up by 25 percent in the latest quarter to represent about 35 percent of its total revenues, but the increase in local currencies was more like 19 percent. In the USA, they rose by 24 percent to 52 percent of turnover. The company's launch in Japan helped to boost CVI's revenues in the Asia/Pacific region by 55 percent.

In terms of products, CVI reports sales increases of 23 percent for toric lenses and 43 percent for disposable spherics. Sales of multifocal lenses are ahead of expectations and should reach $6-8 million for the full year, with the Frequency Multifocal line being launched outside the USA in the 3rd quarter.

CVI raised its R&D expenses by 31 percent in the latest quarter, but its operating profit improved from 22 to 26 percent of sales as the reorganization of the production and the shift to higher-margin Proclear products offset the effect of the stronger pound sterling and of doing more business with distributors in the Far East. Group net income increased to $15,211,000 from $9,918,000 in the quarter.