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CooperVision to buy British contact lens maker for $1.2 billion

Rochester Business Journal
July 1, 2014

Cooper Cos. Inc.’s contact lens division CooperVision Inc. plans a $1.2 billion acquisition of a British contact lens firm, Cooper Cos. officials said.

The Pleasanton, Calif.-based Cooper Cos.’ CooperVision unit employs some 1,200—roughly 80 percent of the contact lens division’s U.S. workforce—in a Henrietta distribution center, Fairport offices and a Scottsville manufacturing facility.

The acquisition of U.K.-based Sauflon Pharmaceuticals Ltd. will add 1,000 British and European workers, plus some $210 million in annual revenues, two British plants and a manufacturing facility in Hungary to CooperVision.

The addition of Sauflon’s contact lens lines would significantly boost CooperVision’s share of the worldwide lens market, Cooper Cos. president and CEO Robert Weiss predicted.   

“On a global basis this will increase our market share from 19 percent to 21 percent, strengthening our number three position versus Alcon (Inc.) and J&J. In Europe, this will move our market share from 24 percent to 30 percent making us a solid number two player behind Alcon,” Weiss told analysts in a Monday evening conference call.
Much of the CooperVision’s future growth would come in Europe, making the Sauflon acquisition timely for the contact lens company, he added.  

“I have always said that since 95 percent of the wearer potential is outside of the United States and only percent is inside the U.S. that we should be able to continue to grow our business very handsomely outside the US for decades to come. This is the perfect example of that opportunity,” Weiss told analysts.

CooperVision accounted for some $1.3 billion, or 82 percent, of the Cooper Cos.’ $1.6 billion in net sales in the company’s 2013 fiscal year, ended Oct. 31. CooperVision’s U.S. operations accounted for $972.5 million of Cooper Cos.’ net sales.

Cooper Cos. shares (NYSE: COO) on Tuesday were trading at $145.18, up $9.65 or 7 percent. 
(c) 2014 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or e-mail

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