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EssilorLuxottica makes play for eyeglass cases and packaging business

As it took 100% control of GrandVision and offloaded 177 stores this month, EssilorLuxottica announced a leadership reshuffle for the optical retail giant, including a new CEO.

In a separate deal, the Franco-Italian company also revealed its intention to enter the packaging and eyeglass cases market, with plans to acquire a 91% stake in the Italian firm Fedon.

After almost three years, EssilorLuxottica reached the final hurdle in its GrandVision takeover this month that will see it drastically increase its retail footprint by around 7,000 stores across 40 countries, and an additional 37,000 staff.

On 4 April, EssilorLuxottica, GrandVision and the Optic Retail International Group BENE, a member of MPG Austria (ORIG/MPG), completed a deal for ORIG/MPG to acquire 142 EyeWish stores in the Netherlands and 35 GrandOptical stores in Belgium.

The sale of these GrandVision stores was a key condition set out by the European Commission in March 2021, when it approved EssilorLuxottica’s GrandVision acquisition.

Ten days later, on 14 April, the company announced it had completed a statutory buy-out of GrandVision shareholders, seeing it take full control of the retailer.

The next day, EssilorLuxottica announced a major leadership overhaul of GrandVision, with Mr Stephan Borchert and Mr Willem Eelman deciding to step down from their respective roles as CEO and chief financial officer, effective 22 April.

They will be replaced by Mr Massimiliano Mutinelli as the new president of optical retail for EMEA at EssilorLuxottica and head of Amsterdam corporate offices at GrandVision, and Mr Niccolò Bencivenni as the chief financial officer. They will be supported by Mr Frederic Dauche as chief operating officer.

“I would like to express our most sincere thanks to Stephan and Willem for their strong leadership and significant contributions over the years. Today, we have a solid foundation to build on,” said Mr Francesco Milleri, CEO of EssilorLuxottica.

Play for optical accessories market

Meanwhile, in the Fedon deal on 11 April, EssilorLuxottica said it would represent a step towards its vertical integration strategy.

Fedon’s business groups comprise eyeglass cases and optical accessories including reading glasses, microfibre cloths, shopping bags and lens cleaning sprays that can be customised for individual stores.

“Thanks to cutting-edge technologies and dedicated innovations, the acquisition will allow to better fit eyewear and spectacles with the cases and packaging to ensure maximum protection and integrity of the product, for the benefit of the final consumer,” EssilorLuxottica stated.

“Furthermore, EssilorLuxottica will also leverage on the company to pursue its sustainability strategy, investing in the recyclability and circularity of the packaging materials.”

The Fedon deal may be completed by the end of June 2022.

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