CooperVision (CVI) has invested £15 million (€22.1m-$29.6m) in a new headquarters and distribution facility located in Hampshire, the UK. The building, which has 150,000 square feet of space, will handle the administration and the logistics for more than 500 million lenses next year, with an adjoining building that will handle shipments to the UK, continental Europe and the Asia-Pacific region. About 500 employees will work at the new facility, which comes on line later this year.

At the Citigroup Healthcare conference this week, Cooper Companies provided investors with projections on the global soft lens market, estimating that it will grow at a compounded annual rate of 7 percent to $6,852 million between 2006 and 2010. This is a slight decline from projections given by the company last November, when it estimated that the contact lens market would grow by 9 percent a year to $7,020 million during the same period.

As for contact lens materials, Cooper sees the total silicone lens market rising by 20 percent a year to $2,523 million by 2010, more than doubling from the 2006 level of $1,033 million. Conventional hydrogels are estimated to increase by 3 percent annually to $4,329 million. By category and from 2006 to 2011, daily disposable spherical lenses are projected to grow by 11 percent a year to $2,505 million, outpacing but not surpassing all other spherical lenses, which are estimated to rise by 4 percent annually to $2,555 million. The company calculated annual increases of 10 percent to $1,214 million for toric lenses and of 14 percent to $294 million for multi-focal lenses. Cosmetic lenses are expected to remain flat over the 5-year period at $284 million.

The company sees its own CooperVision soft lens unit as being the #2 player in Europe and in the #3 position in the USA and worldwide for specialty lenses. In Europe, where CVI has been outpacing the market, the company trails only CIBA Vision and is ahead of Bausch & Lomb and Johnson & Johnson, according to its presentation. CVI's global market share is 16 percent. Its market shares by category are 34 percent for toric lenses, 24 percent for multi-focal lenses and 15 percent for all spherical lenses except for daily disposables. CVI has a 6 percent share of the daily disposable lens market, and a 5 percent share of the cosmetic lens market.