The Cooper Companies, which is in line to complete the acquisition of Ocular Sciences on Nov. 1, budgets total revenues of $387-390 million for CooperVision (CVI) during the present fiscal year ending on Oct. 31, thanks to continued strong worldwide growth for specialty contact lenses.

For the 3rd quarter ended July 31, Cooper has reported net income of $24.05 million, up from $18.66 million in the same period a year ago, on 19 percent higher revenues of $129.1 million. CVI's revenues grew by 17 percent to $102.8 million, with a 13 percent increase in local currencies.

Sales of specialty lenses ? toric, cosmetic, multifocals and lenses designed to alleviate dry eye symptoms ? rose by 22 percent in dollars during the three-month period, accounting for nearly two-thirds of CVI's soft contact lens business. Toric lenses were up 23 percent and disposable sphere lenses were up 15 percent.

European revenues, which accounted for 38 percent of CVI's total turnover, rose by 19 percent in dollars during the quarter. They were up by 25 percent for the first 9 months of the financial year, as compared to a 19 percent increase worldwide, including a 13 percent increase in local currencies. US revenues rose by 15 percent in the 3rd quarter, representing 48 percent of sales. Asia-Pacific sales were up 43 percent but are still only 5 percent of sales.

Claiming that CVI continued to raise its market share, the management notes that the global contact lens market is estimated to have increased by 9 percent in local currencies during the first 6 months of 2004, with the US market rising by 11 percent. During the 3-month period ended June 30, the five major contact lens manufacturers raised their combined sales by 15 percent in dollars and by 10 percent in local currencies, with a sales increase of 13 percent in the USA.

With much of its production still based in the USA, CVI's profit margins were not affected by the weakness of the dollar. Its gross margin improved from 67 to 68.6 percent year on year, and the operating margin from 27 to 28 percent.

Cooper has scheduled a special shareholders' meeting on Nov. 16 to vote on the issuance of new shares to help finance the acquisition of Ocular Sciences. One of the conditions for the transaction to go through is the current anti-trust investigation by the US Federal Trade Commission, which has asked for additional information in order to give its approval.