Continued strong performance in Europe and Japan are expected to contribute to a sales increase of between 15 and 18 percent for CooperVision's core contact lens business this year, according to its parent firm, The Cooper Companies. Successful new product introductions in specialty lenses, such as its new Expressions line of opaque disposable lenses in 5 different colors, are helping the company to grow also in the increasingly tough US market.

CooperVision's total revenues rose by 15 percent in the 3rd quarter ended July 31 to $45 million, but its operating margin declined from 34 to 29 percent of sales, due in part to extraordinary expenditures for a new information system and a flatter organization. For the entire 9-month period to that date, the division raised its sales by 13 percent to $123.8 million, with an 18 percent increase in local currencies that outperformed to the total world contact lens market three times over. Additional revenues of $48-49 million are budgeted now for CooperVision in the 4th quarter.

In the 3rd quarter, CooperVision's European sales rose by 29 percent, taking the growth for the first 9 months down to 35 percent. Total non-US sales were up 24 percent to $16.3 million, or 34 percent in constant currencies, whereas its US sales rose by only 10 percent to $28.1 million. That doesn't include a small amount of low-margin OEM sales, which grew by only 2 percent. In terms of products, toric lenses, which represent now almost half of CooperVision's total sales, grew by 8 percent in the latest quarter. Sales of disposable planned replacement lenses were up 17 percent, with toric products up 12 percent.

Including other operations, The Cooper Companies had sales of $60 million in the 3rd quarter, or 18 percent more than in the year-ago period. Net income increase to $10,361,000 from $8,661,000.