The shareholders of the American companies have decided against selling the company or floating it on the stock exchange after a major increase in its turnover last year to about $150 million, compared with less than $115 million in 2005, with operating profit before amortization and depreciation (EBITDA) hitting a level of around $20 million and likely to go up further.
The main growth factor was the launch in 2005 of its new LifeRx series of photochromic lenses, whose patented technology allows the photochromic dye to be optimized by placing it between two layers of polycarbonate. LensCrafters has an exclusive contract for the technology. Wal-Mart joined the ranks and Sears became a customer more recently.
In October 2006, Vision-Ease applied to the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission for an initial public offering, but it did not go further with the process. Soon after, Transitions apparently made an offer to buy the company, but the negotiations fell apart last summer over the purchase price.
The rich Hunt family, which controls Vision-Ease through a Texas-based equity fund, has now indicated that it is prepared to back up financially one or more acquisitions that will give greater economies of scale to the company. Besides laboratories, Vision-Ease is particularly interested in buying a lens company that will give it greater exposure outside the USA, especially in emerging markets.
Vision-Ease recently entered China and India. Its sales outside the USA have grown from 10 to 20 percent, but the potential for further development is huge.