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Essilor, Luxottica to combine, creating eyewear giant worth $49 billion

The transaction should generate cost savings and increased revenue of 400 million euros to 600 million euros a year within about three to four years, Sagnieres said. Luxottica's Executive Chairman Leonardo Del Vecchio will serve as executive chairman and chief executive, while Essilor Chairman and Chief Executive Hubert Sagnières will be appointed executive vice-chairman and deputy chief executive of the new entity.

According to Euromonitor, Luxottica has a global market share of 14% in eyewear and Essilor has 13%, putting them far ahead of other competitors.

The combined company will be called EssilorLuxottica and its shares will trade in Paris.

It has agreed to merge with French visual health company Essilor in a deal worth €50 billion, meaning it will now be making glasses and lenses for those with eyesight issues. The French lens maker, a long-time supplier to the Italian group, will launch a mandatory exchange offer on all remaining Luxottica shares at the same ratio, with the aim of delisting Luxottica's shares.

Jefferies analysts estimate that the market is growing at between 2 percent and 4 percent a year, while Luxottica and Essilor say that at least 2.5 billion people in the world still suffer from uncorrected vision problems.

"By bringing together Essilor and Luxottica, the new group would be in an outstanding position to propose a comprehensive offering combining a strong brand portfolio, global distribution capabilities and complementary expertise in ophthalmic lenses, prescription frames and sunglasses", Sagnieres said.

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Chairman of Delfin and executive chairman of the Luxottica Group, Mr Del Vecchio, said: "With this agreement, my dream to create a major global player in the eyewear industry, fully integrated and excellent in all its parts, finally comes true".

Del Vecchio, Italy's second-richest person, will be the single largest shareholder, controlling a stake of between 31 and 38 per cent.

A source close to the deal said no arrangements had been made at this stage for when Del Vecchio will retire. Meanwhile, Essilor is a market-leading designer and manufacturer of lenses, amassing a revenue of more than €6.7bn ($7.1bn) in 2015.

Mediobanca advised Delfin on the merger, with Essilor advised by Rothschild and Citi.

Luxottica and Essilor, which have a market value of around €24bn and €22bn respectively, had already explored a possible tie-up a few years ago.

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