Luxottica has agreed to buy a 67 percent stake in a Japanese manufacturer, Fukui Megane, specialized in the production of titanium and solid gold eyewear frames. The acquisition will give the Italian group an industrial presence in the Fukui district of Japan, which is a international center of excellence in this type of metal frames.

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No financial details were released about the deal, which is subject to the customary conditions for its closing, or about the timeframe for its completion. Luxottica is buying its shares from the family that set up the company in 1969, which will continue to hold a 33 percent interest in the company.

Fukui Megane comes with a workforce of about 100 employees, and annual revenues of about €15 million reportedly. Luxottica plans to develop the site, located in the town of Sabae, as a hub for the production of “made in Japan” frames, which are renowned for their high craftsmanship, design and use of fine materials.

The Japanese firm has been a supplier of frames for Oliver Peoples and other brands in Luxottica's portfolio. The company also produces frames for other clients and its own range of brands, which are sold locally. Luxottica still has to gauge how to integrate this part of the business.

Japan has very specific consumer habits in eyewear, with a strong focus on quality and less impulsive buying. The average purchase frequency is estimated at 4.4 years for optical glasses and 4.7 years for sunglasses, according to GfK's latest OMO Optical Monitor survey (see the related article in this issue). The main purchase drivers for optical eyewear are health aspects, the weight of the frame and a “cool look” and design.

According to GfK, 11 percent of the optical frames owned by Japanese consumers and 3 percent of their sunglasses are made with titanium. The corresponding ratios are higher for both kinds of products in China, though, at 12 percent and 10 percent, respectively.