Since the beginning of this year, Essilor has formed 22 partnerships with independent laboratories and similar players around the world. These so-called “bolt-on acquisitions” will generate extra annual revenues of about €94 million in the company's books.

These acquisitions have allowed the French company to enter four emerging markets – Kenya, Turkey, Sri Lanka and Tunisia – with a combined population of more than 200 million inhabitants. The biggest one of them is Turkey, where the company recently completed its acquisition of Opak, which has a laboratory in Izmir. Combined with its recent purchase of Ipek Optik, another laboratory in Istanbul, it will give a major share of the Turkish market, complementing the local operations of Shamir.

In Sri Lanka, which has a population of 20 million people, Essilor bought a controlling stake earlier this month in Global Vision, a distributor and a prescription laboratory with annual revenues of around $1 million.

Essilor has already announced its acquisition of two Latin American laboratories during the third quarter: Riachuelo in Brazil and Optovision in Argentina. During the same period, Essilor also acquired 100 percent control of Balester Optical, a big independent wholesale laboratory based in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, with annual sales of $13.7 million. The laboratory's day-to-day operations will continue to be managed by Heather Balester, president, and Dale Pamenteri, vice president. It has 75 employees and produces about 830 prescription jobs per day.

Since Oct. 1, the company has made other transactions including the establishment of two partnerships in the U.S. with Hirsch Optical, a laboratory in New York with annual sales of $8.3 million, and Carskadden Optical Company in Ohio, with sales of $1.7 million. It also bought majority stakes in Movision in Morocco and Evolution Optical in South Africa.

With almost $1 million in annual sales, Movisia is the exclusive distributor of Kodak and Nikon lenses in Morocco. Evolution Optical, which has sales of €1.2 million a year, stems from the merger of two laboratories in Cape Town and Johannesburg. It is now an exclusive agent of BBGR in a market of 50 million people, only 20 percent of whom wear corrective lenses.