Essilor Acquires Technologies Humanware, Expanding its Low Vision Portfolio

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CHARENTON-LE-PONT, France— Essilor International (Reuters: ESSI.PA) has acquired a majority interest in Technologies Humanware a leading designer and distributor of electronic aids for the blind and vision impaired. Details of the transaction were not announced.

“Helping the vision impaired to gain greater autonomy is the natural extension of Essilor’s mission of enabling more than 4.2 billion individuals to enjoy a better life through better sight. Thanks to the partnership with Humanware, Essilor has taken a major step in the development of its offering of high-performance, affordable and widely distributed equipment,” commented Hubert Sagnières, Essilor chairman and CEO.

“We are very pleased to join Essilor, whose expertise in terms of optics and access to eyecare professionals distribution networks will speed the innovation process for the benefit of the vision impaired,” said Gilles Pepin, chief executive officer of Humanware, said “Together, we will help to develop this notoriously underpenetrated market around the world.”

Founded in 1988 and based in Drummondville, Quebec (Canada), Humanware offers a wide array of equipment that is marketed mainly in visual rehabilitation clinic networks. The company’s latest offering, Prodigi was awarded a Silmo d’Or gold medal at the Silmo international optics show in Paris last month. Humanware’s devices will extend the range of lens filters, magnifying glasses and other optical products and assistants that Essilor already sells to eyecare professionals. In the future, research teams from the two companies will combine their expertise in the area of portable optics and electronics solutions to design and develop new ergonomic, highly mobile equipment, according to Essilor.

With 150 employees, Humanware markets its products throughout North America and in a number of European countries, as well as in Australia and certain parts of Asia. Generating revenue of around $35 million, the company will continue to be led by the current management team.