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Nikon, Japan and Essilor, France agree to establish a joint company

May 24, 1999

Nikon Corporation (YOSHIDA, Shoichiro ; President) in Japan (nippon) and Essilor International S.A. (Xavier FONTANET, Chairman and CEO) in France said today that they have signed a Memorandum of understanding to form a global strategic alliance in corrective lenses by forming a 50 / 50 joint venture in Japan to be called Nikon-Essilor Co. Ltd.
The Nikon-Essilor joint venture will begin operations after the summer of 1999, subsequent to the execution of definitive agreements.

The main purpose of the joint venture is to further strengthen the corrective lens business of both companies.
This will be achieved through the integrated strengths of Nikon's strong brand backed up by advanced optical technology and strong sales network in Japanese market, coupled with the high productivity and worldwide marketing and sales network of Essilor, the world leader in this industry.

Advantages of the joint venture

By using both companies' Japan and overseas based manufacturing plants and their optical technologies, the new company will attain the most effective synergy in all areas.
This joint effort will realize reduced production costs and provide a wider lineup of products including ultra high index lenses to meet the diversified requirements of the market.
The new company will also benefit from Nikon's brand recognition and Essilor's global sales network.
Moreover, remarkable improvements in new corrective lens technology can be expected through the integration of Nikon's extensive optical technology with that of Essilor, the company which developed the world's first progressive lenses.

Outline of the company

Name of company Nikon-Essilor Co., Ltd.
Head office Tokyo
Start of operation After the summer of 1999

In addition to the transfer of Ophthalmic Products Division from Head Quarters, Nikon will gather, in principle, all sales and production subsidiaries relating to corrective lens business, such as Nikon Optical Co., Ltd., to the new company, and will try to further strengthen its corrective lens business.

Nikon will establish a separate wholly owned subsidiary company to expand its eyeglass frames and sunglasses business on a global scale.

Outline of Essilor International

In 1972, France's two leading eyeglass companies, ESSEL and SILOR, merged.
The company is now the largest corrective lens manufacturer in the world. Its business includes the production and sales of corrective lenses, contact lenses, frames, ophthalmic instrument for lens processing.

Total sales for 1998 were 10.2 billion French Francs. Corrective lens business made 88 % of the sales.
The company has 18 plants in France, Ireland, the U.S.A., Mexico, Brazil, Puerto Rico, the Philippines, Thailand, China and so on, and there are some 140 prescription laboratories worldwide.
The total annual production capacity is 150 million lenses.
The company, including local subsidiaries, employs approximately 20,000 people in 40 countries.

In 1958, the company developed the world's first progressive lens, VARILUX(R).

  • The information is current as of the date of publication. It is subject to change without notice.