US retail giant Walmart in purchase talks with Humana health insurer

United States retail giant Walmart is in the early stages of talks to buy health insurer Humana, according to reports in The Wall Street Journal and other news media on 30 March.

An acquisition would be the latest in a series of high-profile deals that could reshape the health care industry in the US, including CVS Health’s planned acquisition of Aetna.

The acquisition of Aetna was overwhelmingly approved by Aetna shareholders last month, but may face opposition from federal regulators over anti-trust and consumer-protection issues.

Walmart’s market capitalization is $US263 billion ($A341 billion) and the retailer posted $13.6 billion in net income in 2017 on revenue of $485.1 billion.

The company is the third-largest US optical retailer, with its optical business generating sales of $1.7 billion in 2016. It operates 3,575 units, including 3,000 Walmart Vision Centers and 575 Sam’s Optical Club outlets; National Vision operates additional Walmart Vision Centers.

Humana’s market value is $37 billion. In 2017, the company reported net income of $2.4 billion on revenue of $53.8 billion. Its vision-care-insurance business generated $2.2 billion in revenue in 2017.


By | April 18th, 2018|Business|

Hoya to close its Sydney Rx surfacing laboratory

Hoya Lens Australia Pty Ltd is to close down its prescription lens surfacing laboratory in Sydney at the end of this month.

The company’s purpose-built headquarters and lens laboratory is due to be demolished, following the sale of the property in Bourke Road, Alexandria, to make way for a road extension to be built by City of Sydney Council.

More than 80 staff (employees and contractors) in lens grinding and fitting, lens coating and warehouse have been given notice, and machinery and equipment will be packed up and shipped to Tokyo-based Hoya Corporation’s massive laboratory in Bangkok, Thailand.

Hoya Lens Australia will be sourcing coated prescription lenses from the laboratory in Bangkok, in common with some other Australian-based companies sourcing from Asian laboratories.

Lens fitting, largely through outside contractors, will continue to be provided in Sydney in nearby premises at Botany where the greatly-reduced company will re-establish.

When Hoya Lens Australia arrived in Australia in 1976, it brought high-tech lenses, including those with multi-coatings and a wide range of designs, before long developing a strong reputation for its products.

In its heyday, Hoya Lens Australia had 100 staff at its Alexandria laboratory and was producing about 2,000 high-dollar-value lenses per day.

By | March 19th, 2018|Business|

Safilo reports 2017 full-year sales down 18.5%

Italy-based Safilo Group has reported net sales for the financial year ended 31 December were Euro 1,047.0 million, down by Euro 194 million at constant currency compared to 2016.

According to the company, the reduction in sales was caused both by the change of the Gucci licence into a supply agreement, representing Euro 155 million (-12%), and by the implementation of the new Order-to-Cash IT system in the Padua Distribution Centre early in the year.

That event negatively affected deliveries, and while operationally recovered from mid-year, affected order taking and thus reduced sales and profit up to including the fourth quarter.

Exceptional external costs

In addition, it caused exceptional external costs of approximately Euro 4 million.

Dior collections experienced a decline after several years of extraordinarily strong growth. The total of all other licences, as well as the own core brands, grew single digits. The net sales of the going forward brand portfolio decreased by 3.9% at constant exchange rates.

In the fourth quarter of 2017, Safilo’s preliminary total net sales equalled Euro 249.2 million, contracting by Euro 53 million at constant currency compared to 2016.

Loss of Gucci accounted for Euro 44m

The net effect of exiting the Gucci licence and entering the supply agreement accounted for Euro 44 million of the decrease, while net sales of the going

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By | March 19th, 2018|Business|

Essilor-Luxottica merger gets OK In United States and Europe


Essilor and Luxottica have announced that their proposed merger has received the approval of authorities in both the United States and Europe.

The deal has been approved by the US Federal Trade Commission and the European Commission without conditions.

To date, the transaction has also been unconditionally approved in 13 other countries: Australia, Canada, Chile, Colombia, India, Japan, Mexico, Morocco, New Zealand, Russia, South Africa, South Korea and Taiwan.

The merger is expected to be finalised in the first part of this year. One major remaining step is securing approval from anti-trust regulators in China.

Mila, Italy-based Luxottica’s proposed deal with Essilor. France-based manufacturers of lenses as well as instruments and equipment, is valued at 48 billion euros (A$76 billion}.

It is planned the combined company will be called EssilorLuxottica.


By | March 4th, 2018|Business|

Luxottica’s record financial results in fiscal 2017

Italy based Luxottica Group on 26 February reported record net profit and free-cash flow in fiscal year 2017.

Net sales rose 2.2% at constant exchange to €9,157 ($A14,370) million, while net income increased 24.7% at constant exchange to €1,038 ($A1,630) million, according to the company’s earnings announcement.

Adjusted net income increased 12.2% at constant exchange to €970 million, producing a net margin of 10.6%. Net profit and free-cash flow generation exceeded €1 ($A1,57) billion for the first time in the company’s history.

The last three months of 2017 were “the best of the year for the wholesale business, comparable-store sales, Sunglass Hut in the main geographies … and e-commerce,” Luxottica reported in its earnings announcement.

The company also cited its “most significant initiatives of 2017,” which included the launch of Ray-Ban ophthalmic lenses, “price harmonization across sales channels, greater segmentation and attention to wholesale distribution,” and the continuous development of the company’s proprietary brands’ e-commerce platforms.


By | February 28th, 2018|Business|

Incomplete sentence


Th first line of the first item in yesterday’s ‘Today’s Ophthalmic News’ was incomplete. It should have been:

“Real estate big noise John McGrath on 9 February resigned as a director of optical retail group George & Matilda’s owner IPIC Pty Ltd, leaving the company’s other directorships in place.”

By | February 19th, 2018|Business|