The recently restructured Michael Pachleitner Group (MPG) is open for new investments and strategic alliances, following a rather unique development model that has turned it from a small family enterprise, called Uniopt, to a significant global player in the areas of sunglasses, frames, lenses and jewelry.

In the areas of sunglasses and prescription frames, MPG is looking for new licensing contracts after threading new territories with the Red Bull Racing deal. Currently, its portfolio of licensed brands also includes Robert La Roche, H.I.S., Daniel Hechter, Jill, Ruud van Dyke and Vienna Design. Sourcing in Italy and the Far East, the company is also involved in private label.

In the area of lenses, MPG supplies opticians all over the German-speaking area of Europe from its laboratories in Austria, Germany and Switzerland. One of its future plans is to set up a fully automatic lens edging and mounting workshop to supply opticians all over Central Europe. It's part of a wider project to become an integrated service provider for the optical sector, supported by strong marketing and IT resources.

MPG reached a turnover of about €75 million in 2011, up from €70 million in 2010. The Austrian group has a rather unique structure, with integrated logistics and an ancillary graphics and advertising agency. It employs around 300 people at its newly constructed head office in Graz, at its international distribution center near Nuremberg and at its other offices in Austria, Germany, Italy, France and Hong Kong. It has sales partners in 70 countries including Croatia, Denmark, Finland, Greece, the Netherlands, Portugal, Russia, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, the U.K. and the U.S.

The group is named after its chief executive, Michael Pachleitner, a very busy man who owns it and also acts as its chief operating officer. It got its new name and a new structure in 2009, when he decided to amalgamate the diverse companies in Austria, Germany and other countries that he and his family had acquired through strategic alliances and investments over the years. The new group can be best described as a rather flexible cluster of independent business units, each with its own management and focus, that share common services and a common customer-oriented philosophy.

The Pachleitner family has been involved in the design, production and distribution of optical products for more than 50 years. Michael Pachleitner and his sister Sabine Ksela took over the family enterprise in 1984 from their father, Erich, who had started off in the sector in 1949 as a wholesaler of spectacle frames and jewelry. In 1987, Michael took over a company called Uniopt. He began to set up an international distribution network in 1990, and soon after he started buying up other firms.

He bought Pavé, an Austrian jewelry designer and goldsmith, in 1998. One year later he acquired Robert La Roche, a premium Austrian brand of eyewear, worn by film and music stars, that had been in business since 1973. He followed up in 2001 with the takeover of Optic GmbH, the biggest Austrian lens producer in terms of volume, subsequently renamed Austrian Optic Technologies. Also in 2001, he set up sales subsidiaries for the group in Germany, France and Italy.

Other acquisitions followed – notably those of two German lens companies, Trans Optik Express in 2005 and Schulz Optische Fabrik in 2008. Like Austrian Optic Technologies, both of these companies have lens production laboratories. Trans Optik Express changed its name first to Uniopt Trans Optik in 2006, and it changed it again this month to Swiss Optic to emphasize the precision of its work.

The logistic facilities in Germany were improved in 2009, and the newly named Michael Pachleitner Group inaugurated a new and futuristic headquarters in Graz in 2010, with a surface of 10,000 square meters. In the summer of 2010, it boosted its management with the appointment of a new experienced international sales manager, Mauro Schena, who acted most recently as European director of REM Eyewear.

While Michael takes care of the optical side of the family business, Sabine takes care of the Pachleitner family's jewelry store in Graz, called Schmuck Pachleitner, which has been in business since 1953. In 2010, as a unique concept on the Austrian market, it began to offer selected gemstones, diamonds and other fashionable jewelry in combination with the whole line of Robert La Roche glasses. More stores of this kind may be opened in the future.