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Essilor and Luxottica to create global eyewear powerhouse

France’s Essilor and Italy’s Luxottica have agreed to terms of a 46 billion euro (US$49 billion) merger, creating a global eyewear powerhouse with annual sales of  more than 15 billion euros.

Essilor and Luxottica said they will be focusing on boosting sales in Asia and Latin America as well as building their eCommerce presence.

Essilor is the world’s largest lens maker and Luxottica the world’s largest frame maker and vendor which owns extensive retail chains, such as Sunglass Hut, Australia’s OPSM and brands including Ray-Ban, Oakley and Persol.

“Finally, two products which are naturally complementary – frames and lenses – will be designed, manufactured and distributed under the same roof,” said Luxottica’s founder Leonardo Del Vecchio, 81, in a statement.

The two companies are battling slowing growth internationally, but believe there is massive potential in the market with an estimated 2.5 billion of the world’s population suffering from uncorrected eyesight issues.

Once complete, the merger of the two companies could add as much as 600 million euros to their combined bottom line.

The new entity will be headquartered and listed in Paris and have a staff of more than 140,000 across the globe.

It will be jointly headed by Del Vecchio and Essilor CEO and chairman Hubert Sagnieres. Del Vecchio will be CEO and executive chairman and Sagnieres, 61, executive vice-chairman and deputy CEO – but the pair will have equal powers.

“We have and share the same values, we have and share the same vision, we have and share the same interest in the product…,” Sagnieres said in a conference call to discuss the merger. “If we really want to provide consumers with the best product, Leonardo and I will have to co-manage.”

“This marriage will take place and will work,” Del Vecchio added.

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