|This article needs additional citations for verification. (May 2013)|
|Traded as||Euronext: EI|
|Founded||1972 (Paris, France)|
|Key people||Xavier Fontanet (Chairman), Hubert Sagnières (CEO)|
|Products||Corrective lenses and ophthalmic equipment|
|Revenue||€4.99 billion (2012)|
|Operating income||€832 million (2012)|
|Profit||€584 million (2012)|
|Total assets||€6.907 billion (end 2012)|
|Total equity||€3.921 billion (end 2012)|
|Employees||52,600 (end 2012)|
Essilor International S.A. is a French company that produces ophthalmic lenses along with ophthalmic optical equipment. It is based in Paris, France, and quoted on the Euronext Paris Stock Exchange. As one of the 40 largest companies traded in Paris, it is a component of the CAC 40 share index.
Essilor is responsible for creating Varilux, the world's first progressive lens which corrects presbyopia and allows clear vision in the wearer's near, intermediate and far vision. The company formed from the merger of ophthalmic firms Essel and Silor in 1972. Essilor now operates in over 100 countries over five continents. Its activities are largely focused on research and development. It is the world's largest manufacturer of ophthalmic lenses,
- 1 History
- 2 Research and development
- 3 Corporate affairs
- 4 See also
- 5 References
- 6 External links
1849-1972: Essel and Silor
Essel was founded in 1849 (then-called L’Association Fraternelle des Ouvriers Lunetiers) as a small network of eyeglass assembly workshops in Paris. It quickly expanded in the late 19th and early 20th century through the acquisition of factories in nearby Parisian neighbourhoods and in Eastern France. Essel soon added frame design and trade to its activities. The firm launched a frame design in 1955 called Nylor which is still used today. The Nylor system introduced a thin nylon thread which embraces the lens and is fixed to the frame’s higher branch. Essel's breakthrough came in 1959 with the invention of Varilux, the first ophthalmic progressive lens.
Silor first started under the name Lissac in 1931 as a retailer of ophthalmic lenses and frames before becoming a lens manufacturer. In 1959, the same year Essel invented the progressive lens, Lissac made a discovery of its own: the Orma 1000 lens, made from a lightweight material.
1972-1979: Beginning of Essilor
After many years as rivals, Essel and Silor merged on 1 January 1972 to form Essilor, the then third-largest ophthalmic optical firm in the world.
Essilor’s first year of existence was marked by two events: the creation of Valoptec, a non-trading company composed of stock-holder managers which held half of the company’s capital stock, and the purchase of Benoist-Bethiot, a French lens manufacturer specializing in the production of progressive lenses.
In the mid 1970s, Essilor focused on becoming a true optical group specializing in the plastic progressive lens. Many subsidiary activities are first sold off, but in 1974, Essilor fused Benoist-Bethiot with Guilbert-Routit, creating a subsidiary called BBGR. In 1975, the company was listed on the stock exchange. The innovations by Essel and Silor, Essilor’s predecessors, lead to the launch of the Varilux Orma in 1976 .
The late 1970s were marked by Essilor’s change in strategy of geographical expansion. By making the acquisition of manufacturing plants in the United States, in Ireland and in the Philippines, Essilor began its transformation from being a mainly exporting company to being an international company.
1980-1989: International growth
The 1980s began with intensified competition. To cut costs and improve service, Essilor purchased four new plants in four years, in Mexico, Puerto Rico, Brazil and Thailand. In France, new instruments facilitated the automation of the manufacturing process. Many distributors were acquired or merged with Essilor in Europe (Norway, Portugal) and in Asia (Burma, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan and Vietnam).
In the United States, all subsidiaries were brought together under the Essilor of America umbrella. This global network allowed Essilor to launch a new Varilux lens called the VMD in Europe and the United States.
1990-1999: Partnerships and Varilux Comfort
To maintain its position as a world leader, Essilor gradually withdrew its frames operations to concentrate on corrective lenses. Employing a value added strategy, the company launched the Crizal coating, offering lens resistance against scratches, reflections and smudges. Essilor also formed a partnership with PPG, an American company, to offer the Transitions photochromic lens, a technology that allows a lens to become darker or lighter depending on the intensity of ambient light. Through the acquisition of Gentex, Essilor was also able to launch the Airwear polycarbonate lens, a light and unbreakable lens material. Finally, the fourth generation of the Varilux was launched under the name Varilux Comfort.
2000 - 2010
At the beginning of the 21st century, Essilor launched the Varilux Physio, a lens that derives its performance from the Twin RX Technology which combines the wavefront management system to calculate lens optics, along with a production technique called advanced digital surfacing. Finally, in 2005, Essilor entered the French CAC 40 stock market.
In 2007 Essilor launched the Essilor Vision Foundation in the USA. This organization was created in order to run vision tests in schools to detect vision problems. The follow-up care and glasses are provided by Essilor Vision Foundation for children in need.
Essilor buys Satisloh in 2008. The acquisition of the Swiss company aimed at offering a wider range of products for the consumer.
Two years later, Essilor launched a merger with Shamir Optical Industry. Essilor acquired 50% of the kibbutz-based company. Shamir Optical Industry took advantage of Essilor's worldwide distribution network, and developed its activity by launching new products.
Essilor acquired 50% of the Chinese company Wanxin Optical in 2011. The growth drivers for the Chinese market are the aging population and the increase of reimbursement for eye care.
The 40th anniversary of the merger between Essel and Silor took place in July 2012. This was the occasion to highlight their contributions and improvements on technologies.
In September 2012, Essilor involved in the Special Olympics for 10 more years. The ophtalmic lenses supplier provided almost 100,000 free eyeglasses to the athletes since 2002.
In May 2013, Safilo and Essilor agreed on a 10-year licensing deal allowing Essilor to use Safilo's Polaroid brand for the making of polarized eye lenses.
In July 2013, Essilor announced the buying of 51% of Transitions Optical's stakes from PPG Industries. Essilor will then hold 100% of Transitions Optical. The deal is to be closed in the first semester of 2014. The transaction aims at developing Essilor's leadership in lenses that adapt to changing light.
Institut de la Vision
Essilor participate in the Institut de la Vision de Paris, inaugurated in December 2008. This institute is a research center on ocular pathologies. The development of technologies improving the life of visually impaired people is the main goal of this partnership.
Vision Impact Institute
In March 2013 was launched the Vision Impact Institute, endorsed by Essilor. People from Essilor and Boston Consulting Group take part in this project. This institute aims at collecting data about impaired vision and its socio-economic impact. One of the first research results available on the website of the institute demonstrated impaired vision caused a loss of US$269 billion in productivity each year in the world.
Dioptric loop method
With the launch of 'Varilux Comfort in 1993, Essilor developed the dioptic loop method, making it possible to gauge wearer satisfaction. It involves using repetition until an effective result is achieved for the wearer. It comprises five stages:
- Collection of the wearer’s physiological data
- Optical design
- Creation of prototype lenses
- Measurement control
- Clinical tests
Essilor launched a research in partnership with the Institut de la Vision in France in order to determine the wavelength of the light, emitted by the sun, LEDs and computers or smartphones, which leads to degeneration of retina cells, and age-related macular degenaration This preventive lense was launched in 2013.
Essilor's research department particularly concentrates on the combined progress of two complementary disciplines: optics and physiology, with particular recourse to virtual reality. A simulation tool that makes it possible to perceive and interact in 3D in a multi-sensory way. 
Researchers today use a virtual visualization system, equipped with algorithms and modeling developed by Essilor to explore new optical solutions that can be tested directly on wearers. This simulator makes it possible to vary the optical properties of the lenses tested, study optical effects and immediately gauge wearer satisfaction. In order to do so, a magnetic sensor records a subject's head movements and images that show the eyes' exact viewpoint 120 times per second. After testing, the results are used to fine-tune the performance of the lenses in question. In 2008, the Varilux Ipseo New Edition was designed using Essilor's Virtual Reality system.
Sun protection factor e-SPF
Essilor’s eye sun protection factor (e-SPF) was launched in 2012. The factor, inspired by sunscreen rates, is a new system to help the consumer find the best eye protection. Moreover, the e-SPF takes into account rays reflecting on the back of the lense. Therefore, treated lenses block the UV, responsible for eye damages, such as cataracts and DMLA.
Varilux S Series
Varilux S Series was launched in 2012 by Essilor. The engineers determined how the lense could eliminate swim effect due to presbyopia. This lense also provided stability when eyeglass wearers are moving.
Board of directors
As of May 11, 2012, the firm's board of directors consists of:
- Hubert Sagnières, Chairman and CEO
- Xavier Fontanet, Former Chairman of the Board of Directors
- Philippe Alfroid, Former Chief Operating Officer
- Benoit Bazin, Former Deputy Chief Operating Officer
- Antoine Bernard de Saint Afrique, Executive Vice President of Unilever
- Yves Chevillote, Former Chief Operating Officer of Crédit Agricole
- Mireille Faugère, Chief Operating Officer of Assistance publique - Hôpitaux de Paris
- Yves Gillet, Chief Operating Officer of Essilor in Spain and representative of Valoptec Association
- Yi He, Chief Executive Officer of Essilor in China and representative of Valoptec Association
- Bernard Hours, Chief Operating Officer of Groupe Danone
- Maurice Marchand-Tonel, independent consultant
- Aïcha Mokdahi, Chief Executive Officer of Essilor Europe supply chain and President of Valoptec Association
- Olivier Pécoux, Associate Manager of Rothschild & Cie Banque
- Michel Rose, Lafarge Former Chief Operating Officer
- Louise Fréchette, Associate of Centre for International Governance Innovation
- Maureen Cavanagh, representative of employee shareholders
In May 2013, Essilor created a CSR committee within its board of Directors, to supervise Essilor International's actions and contribute to the development of the company.
As of January 1, 2011:
- Hubert Sagnières - Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
- Paul du Saillant - Chief Operating Officer
- Laurent Vacherot - Chief Operating Officer
- Tadeu Alves - President, Latin America
- Eric Bernard - Chief Operating Officer, Essilor China
- Jayanth Bhuvaraghan - Executive Director, India and South Asia Region
- Carl Bracy - Corporate Senior Vice President, Marketing and Development, Essilor of America
- Claude Brignon - Corporate Senior Vice-President, Worldwide Operations
- Jean Carrier-Guillomet - Chief Operating Officer, Essilor of America
- Patrick Cherrier - President South Asia, ASEAN, Middle East, South Africa
- Bernard Duverneuil - Corporate Senior Vice-President, Information Systems
- Marc François-Brazier - Corporate Senior Vice-President, Human Resources
- Norbert Gorny - Chief Operating Officer, Central Europe
- Réal Goulet - President of Essilor Laboratories of America
- Eric Léonard - President, Europe
- Eric Perrier - Corporate Senior Vice President, Research and Development
- Géraldine Picaud - Chief Financial Officer
- Patrick Poncin - Corporate Senior Vice President, Global Engineering
- Thierry Robin - Senior Vice President of Strategic Partnerships
- Bertrand Roy - Senior Vice President of Strategic Partnerships
- Kevin Rupp - Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President Finance & Administration, Essilor Of America
- Jean-Luc Schuppiser - Project Director, "Digital Surfacing Strategic Opportunity"
- Eric Thoreux - Corporate Senior Vice President, Strategic Marketing
- Carol Xueref - Corporate Senior Vice President, Legal Affairs and Development
- Jayanth Bhuvaraghan - Chief Corporate Mission Officer
- Lucia Dumas - Senior Vice President Corporate Communications
Jayanth Bhuvaraghan is in charge of the coordination of the initiatives aiming at improving vision.
Based on its 2012 Annual Report, 89% of Essilor's turnover comes from the sale of ophthalmic lenses and 11% is driven by other activities, such as equipment sales and readers.
31.2% of its sales are based in Europe, 34.8% in North America, 6.5% in Latin America with the remaining 16.6% based out of Asia-Oceania and Middle East-Africa.
Essilor expected more than 7% like-for-like sales growth for 2013.
- Essilor 2012 Results
- Torsoli, Albertina (17 July 2008). "Essilor Slumps as Second-Quarter Sales Miss Estimates". Bloomberg. Retrieved 2009-04-06.
- Malaval, Catherine. "Essilor 1972-1997: Mieux Voir Le Monde". Creapress Editions, 1997.
- "Kids get free glasses". Vision care venture. May 2009.
- "Essilor buys Satisloh". optician online. 20 June 2008.
- "Essilor to acquire half of Shamir Optical for $130 million". haaretz. 18 October 2010.
- "Foster Grant brand owner FGX International acquires Stylemark". the moodie report. 6 January 2012.
- "Essilor in joint venture with Wanxin Optical in China". companies and markets.
- "Essilor Celebrates 40 Years". mivision. 26 March 2012.
- "Essilor Renews Special Olympics Partnership for 10 More Years". vision monday. 26 September 2012.
- "Safilo, Essilor in 10-year licensing deal". reuters.com. 21 May 2013.
- "Essilor buys majority stake in Transitions Optical for $1.73bn". Financial Times.com. 29 July 2013.
- "Essilor buys majority stake in Transitions Optical". optometry times. 31 July 2013.
- "Essilor to Buy PPG’s Lens-Venture Stake for $1.73 Billion". Bloomberg. 29 July 2013.
- Essilor 2011 Annual Report
- Institut de la Vision Paris, Visionresearch.eu
- Bradt, George (4 March 2013). "Leading with a Clear Vision". Forbes. Retrieved 2013-03-04.
- Whittle, Thomas (19 March 2013). "Impaired vision costs 269 bln USD annually: study". NZWeek. Retrieved 2013-04-24.
- Kamen, Paddy. "Innovation Extraordinaire is Essilor". Vision Magazine. March–April 2004. July 1, 2009. 
- "Essilor announces launch of blue light blocking lenses". healio.com. 21 March 2013. Retrieved 2013-04-24.
- What is the best sunglasses lens in the world? Check the ESPF: eye-sun protection factor , See for Life, April 28, 2013
- Eye-Sun Protection Factor (E-SPF) Introduced by Essilor, Lab Talk, May-June 2013
- Essilor of America Launches New Varilux S Series Lenses, Opticalnewsdaily.com, August 21, 2012
- Board of Directors
- Executive committee
- Essilor Creates New Executive Committee Position, Visionplusmag, May 6, 2013
- Essilor 2012 Annual Report
- Europe Factors to Watch-Shares set to pause; earnings flurry in focus, Reuters, April 25, 2013