The marriage between the champion, tri-coloured glasses, and the leader alpine the frames creates a group of about 15 billion euros of sales.
The operation was called ” Cirrus “, a code name inspired by the clouds of fine weather. After six months of secret talks, the proposed merger between Essilor and Luxottica has resulted on Sunday the 15th of January. The contracts have been signed, at Paris, in the late afternoon. If everything goes as planned, the world leader in corrective lenses and the leader of the frames will be merged by the end of 2017. This is one of the largest mergers and acquisitions undertaken in Europe for years.
The project, and formalized Monday, January 16, has been immediately acclaimed by the investors. In the early exchanges, the action Essilor is soaring to 15 % and the title Luxottica has taken more than 13 %.
This alliance in the optical, the first of its kind, should enable us to be the world champion sunglasses, a group with strong staining French, which would be 140 000 employees, and whose weight in the stock Exchange is expected to increase to 50 billion euros. Which would, today, the 7e market capitalization of Paris.
” It is a natural movement “
Its sales would reach 15 billion euros, “is 15% of the global market,” according to Hubert Sagnières, CEO of Essilor.
” It is a natural movement and, yet, since that the glasses exist, manufacturers and designers of mounts have always worked separately. “
Together, the two groups wish to provide pairs of glasses complete and expand on the promising market of connected products.
Judging by their two complementary businesses and taking advantage of their comparable size, the leaders of the French and italians had already begun discussions on a possible reconciliation, there is a little more than two years. Without success. Leonardo Del Vecchio, the patriarch, who founded Luxottica in 1961 in a small village of the Veneto region, was not yet ready to let go of his group, its prestigious brands such as Ray-Ban and Oakley, and its 7 800 points of sale across the world.
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No doubt the difficulties encountered in the search for a successor, combined with the disappearance of several major Italian leaders, including the boss of Ferrero, in 2015, and that of the distribution chain Esselunga, in 2016, have they brought the billionaire 81 years, one of the largest fortunes in the country, to take the issue to arm-the-body. And to find the terms and conditions of a merger with Essilor, its principal supplier of lenses fixes.
” The same powers “
Legally, it is Essilor who buys Luxottica through a public exchange offer, and not vice versa, insists there, on the French side, to defuse criticism that the new set passes under the Italian flag. the ” This will be a French-law company, listed in Paris and which will have its headquarters in Charenton, Val-de-Marne “, said Mr. Sagnières, the future vice-CEO. The choice of Paris rather than Milan has been by mutual agreement with its Italian counterpart.
The weight of the Italians will be important nonetheless. At the end of the operation, EssilorLuxottica will first shareholder M. Del Vecchio. It will hold from 31% to 38% of the capital, very far in front of the employees of Essilor (4 %). The remainder is dispersed into the public. With such participation, the founder of Luxottica must, moreover, get it from the stock market authorities for a waiver of the obligation to launch a public offer on Essilor.
Mr. Del Vecchio will also be appointed CEO of the new group. This businessman, francophile, who spends part of the year at Beaulieu, in the Alpes-Maritimes, already has other assets in the Hexagon, as the Land regions. the ” [M. Del Vecchio and me] will have the same powers, and the board of directors will be composed on a parity of administrators from the two groups “, specifies the CEO of Essilor, aged 61 years. Below, the two companies Essilor and Luxottica will remain autonomous and directed by Mr. Del Vecchio, the other by Mr. Sagnières.
” A new world champion “
Everything has been done to limit the power of the shareholder in Italian in the future, says one in Paris.
” The voting rights of Mr. Del Vecchio are limited to 31 % regardless of the evolution of its participation, it is written black on white, emphasizes the boss of Essilor. He will not be able to associate and consider action in concert, which limit its powers in the general assembly. “
These restrictions will also apply to his heirs.
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The operation is sensitive. In Paris, spirits were especially warned that, in recent months, several companies iconic have been absorbed by foreign groups, be it Alcatel by the Finnish Nokia or Lafarge by the swiss Holcim. Soon it will be, in principle, to the tour of the shipyards of Saint-Nazaire to pass under the control of Fincantieri, a group installed in Trieste, Italy.
The officers were warned as early as Sunday evening, the Elysee, Matignon, the ministry of economy and the Italian government. A marriage welcomed by Christophe Sirugue, the secretary of State in charge of industry, which has seen the creation of” a new world champion, with a strong european identity “.
A” true big bang “
If the expected savings are valued at between 400 million and 600 million euros, this approximation will not, according to its promoters, no impact on employment.
” We are not in an industrial project with plants that should be streamlined, specifies Mr. Sagnières. in We have two companies with complementary activities, one made of glass, the other of the frames. “
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there is No question of going too far too fast. The phase-in period, a holding controlling the two companies will last four years.
” We have no particular interest to speed up a movement for economic reasons or industrial use, considers the pattern of Essilor. This is a project of growth, we will improve the quality of the products and services provided in the world. “
Thus, an optician could get her glasses and frames for twenty-four hours instead of eight days, ” a true competitive advantage “.
one of The priorities will be to develop the glasses connected. “ We can’t design such a product that if the frame and the lenses reflect all “, explains Mr. Sagnières. It is one of the reasons, according to him, the difficulties of Google, which only occurs on the frames.
” This is a real big bang for the sector, which could encourage other players in the sector to get closer “, expects of those who have followed the discussions. The operation might also be worrying about the opticians. These could be face to face with a giant capable of imposing its conditions. The reconciliation will be submitted to the green light from the competition authorities in Europe, the United States, Brazil and China.
61 000 employees worldwide, 10 of 613 in Europe.
32 factories, of which 4 in France.
Sales : 6.7 billion euros in 2015.
net Income : 757 million euros in 2015.
79 000 employees in the world.
12 plants, 7 800 stores.
Sales : 8.8 billion euros in 2015.
net Income : 804 million euro in 2015.