CooperVision claims that its share of the global soft contact lens market, estimated at $3.4 billion annually, has doubled from 5 to over 10 percent over the last 3 years, thanks to organic growth and to the company's takeover of Biocompatibles in March of 2002. In the USA, which represents half of CVI's total business, it has risen from 4.5 to 13 percent, making it the third-largest supplier. CVI is also a the third-largest player in Europe and its next challenge is to acquire a more important presence in Asia, where its sales are expected to grow by at least 35 percent this year.

Judging also from the sales of the company's 4 major competitors, which grew less rapidly, the global contact lens market rose by 14 percent last year, with a growth in local currencies of 8 percent.

In the financial year ended last Oct. 31, CVI's total revenues grew much faster than the market. They were up by 35 percent on a pro-forma basis in dollars to $329.6 million for the year, with a 21 percent increase in the final quarter. The growth in constant currencies was 28 percent for the full year and 15 percent for the quarter. The management is forecasting that they will reach $375-385 million in the current year.

European revenues grew last year by 19 percent in dollars and about half as much in local currencies. Its US sales instead jumped by 20 percent, including a 22 percent gain in the last quarter, and sales in Asia jumped by 89 percent.

CVI has accelerated its plans to introduce Proclear multi-focal lenses, starting first in Europe within the next 6 months. Sales of specialty lenses now account for over 60 percent of CVI's revenues. Its sales of toric lenses increased by 21 percent in the past year, with disposable torics going up by 45 percent to represent 61 percent of total toric sales. Sales of disposable spherical lenses rose by 37 percent, with many patients shifting from commodity 2-week items to monthly replacement products, which offer Biocompatible's Proclear technology.

CVI's operating margin increased from 25 to 27 percent in the past year. Including its surgical operations, the parent company, Cooper, recorded net income of $68,770,000 on sales of $411.8 million, and generated cash flow of $77 million