Hoya Corp. announced a definitive agreement to acquire Performance Optics from Wind Point Partners. The business includes Vision Ease, a large player in the U.S. market for polycarbonate eyeglasses, and Daemyung Optical (DMO), the second-largest Korean supplier of optical lenses, which is particularly strong in high-index cast lenses.

With manufacturing facilities in the U.S., Korea, China, Thailand and Indonesia, Performance Optics employs more than 2,000 people around the world. Its turnover could not be determined at the time of going to press. Vision Ease had sales of about $130 million in 2014, when it was acquired by Wind Point Partners. 

Many details of the transaction were not disclosed, but a document supplied by Hoya indicates that the Japanese company has agreed on a purchase price equal to 16 times the operating earnings of Performance Optics before amortization (Ebitda).

Hoya, which acquired Seiko's optical business four years ago, has publicly stated that it wants to play a stronger role in the so-called Life Care segment, which includes optical glasses. The takeover of Performance Optics adds new lines of polycarbonate, photochromic, polarized and high-index ophthalmic lenses. Few of its products overlap with those of Hoya.

Hiroshi Suzuki, chief executive of Hoya, said he wants to integrate Performance Optics' operations quickly to generate synergies. In particular, Performance Optics is strong in American retail chains where Hoya's presence is weaker. Hoya will also add Performance Products to its own channels in the rest of the world.

Girts Cimermans, chief executive of Hoya Vision Care, said that the acquisition will reinforce its position as a global technology leader in lens manufacturing, while creating a new technology center of excellence outside Japan.

It could not be determined at press time whether Performance Optics will keep its managers and offices after the acquisition is completed. The company is run by John Weber, who became chief executive of Vision-Ease at the end of 2014, after spending six years as president of CooperVision. The group has European offices in Germany and the U.K., led by Guntram Mehl, who has been with Vision Ease since 2004.

Wind Point Partners is the private equity investment firm that supported a management buyout of Bushnell in 1999 and controlled that company until 2007. It acquired Vision Ease in 2014 from another investment company, Insight Equity, and recapitalized it. At that time, Wind Point wanted to build up a global lens business with an annual turnover of $500 million.

Vision Ease acquired DMO at the end of 2015, after a takeover bid by Essilor was rejected by South Korea's Fair Trade Commission on the grounds that it would have hindered competition in the market because of its previous acquisition of Chemiglas.  Reportedly, DMO had a market share of 12.8 percent at the time in the Korean market, estimated at between 600 million won (€0.48m-$0.52m) and 700 million won (€0.56m-$0.61m).

Vision Ease said the acquisition of DMO would double the size of its global staff, while giving it greater access to high-growth markets throughout Asia. The company also said it was planning to introduce DMO's products in the American market. The combined business was then renamed Performance Optics.