Essilor International has entered a binding agreement to acquire the Canadian-based Coastal Contacts (www.coastal.com).
Founded in 2000, Coastal Contacts operates www.clearlycontacts.com.au in Australia. It designs and distributes one of the widest online selections of optical products in the world, including contact lenses, prescription and non-prescription eyeglasses, sunglasses and various accessories. It has more than five million customers and reported revenue of CA$218 million for the fiscal year ending October 2013. The Essilor transaction, which is expected to be completed by the end of this month (April), represents a net equity value of approximately CA$430 million.
Online sales account for roughly 4 per cent of the global vision care market, which is estimated at more than US$100 billion (based on retail prices).
Tony Gray, Chief Executive Officer of Essilor Australia and New Zealand said once the acquisition is approved, “the opportunity… will be to leverage online technology to create additional value for the wider market, including independent optometrists.
“At the forefront of Essilor’s strategy is to support optometry in its endeavour to provide the highest quality vision care. It is with this priority in mind that Essilor will assess Coastal’s market plans at the appropriate time. Our view is that the specific retail needs related to optics, such as advice on complex and innovative lens options, are best channelled first and foremost through the traditional bricks and mortar channel.”