Pro-Laser, the small Israeli high-tech company that bought a few weeks ago Weco and Rodenstock Instrumente, is moving its operational headquarters to Weco's main office in Düsseldorf to help speed up its own transformation into a global eye care company, focused on providing specific and turnkey lens manufacturing solutions and diagnostic instrumentation to the international ophthalmic community. R&D and manufacturing remain in Israel.
Pro-Laser's president and CEO, Ronnie Jaegermann, has already moved to Düsseldorf, overseeing a worldwide staff of 250 employees following the elimination of 42 jobs at Rodenstock Instrumente, which is also moving its operations to Düsseldorf. Jaegermann has appointed a new chief financial officer, Matthias Taflinski. Asi Metser, former vice president of marketing and business development, has left the company and will not be replaced.
Pro-Laser is delaying mass production of its new Verifier-Pro lens inspection system to add new software features and to connect it to Weco's edging and trading equipment. Targeting opticians, the new system will be delivered under the better-known Weco brand name, using mostly Weco's own international distribution network, starting in the first half of 2000.
Rodenstock has been paid 45,186,000 DM (e23,101,000) in cash and has acquired a shareholding of just below 5 percent in Pro-Laser in exchange for the sale of Weco and Rodenstock Instrumente, including Weco's French subsidiary. Pro-Laser has paid an additional $440,000 for Weco's operations in the USA and Canada. The Israeli firm has an option to purchase Weco's and Rodenstock Instrumente's sales subsidiaries in England, Italy, Holland, Norway, Austria, Chile and Australia. They remain under Rodenstock's ownership for now.
Pro-Laser is using Weco's network to distribute its systems directly in Germany, Austria, France, Italy, the UK and the USA. It's using distributors elsewhere. The focus is Europe for the moment, but the company is also paying a lot of attention to the US market.
The Rodenstock group has granted Pro-Laser a 2-year loan of 13.8 million DM (e7.1m). Pro-Laser completed the partial takeover on Oct. 15 and the new assets will be incorporated into its own accounts for the 4th quarter. Merger costs and losses at Rodenstock Instrumente will cause Pro-Laser to incur a loss in 1999, but profits are expected as of 2000. In the first 9 months of 1999, prior to the acquisition, Pro-Laser posted a net loss of only $4,000, down from $445,000 in the year-ago period, in spite of R&D expenses of $481,000. Sales revenues grew over the same period to $2,039,000 from only $380,000 as the company began to experience the first repeat orders for its Lenspector system.