The stock was trading up 3.9 percent to 112.05 euros in midafternoon trading, after the group revealed it controls 93.31 percent of Luxottica’s shares.
As reported, Luxottica executive chairman Leonardo Del Vecchio‘s family holding Delfin in early October submitted its shares in the giant Italian eyewear group, or 62.42 percent of the total, at a ratio of one share in Luxottica for each 0.461 Essilor share. A mandatory exchange offer for all remaining shares at the same ratio was launched by EssilorLuxottica, with the view of delisting Luxottica’s shares in Milan.
Essilor chief financial officer Hilary Halper told the company’s first annual shareholder meeting in Paris on Thursday that the process was expected to be completed before the end of the first quarter of next year. The sellout procedure will take place from Dec. 19 to Jan. 18 via a second tender period, a company spokeswoman confirmed.
The 83-year-old Del Vecchio said the 46-billion-euro merger left him sensing “the same energy and enthusiasm I felt among Agordo’s mountains when I founded Luxottica 60 years ago.”
“Talking for the first time to this assembly, I invite each of you to look to EssilorLuxottica’s future with trust, to believe in this wonderful project and to support it, as the managers and each of our 150,000 employees are doing,” he said.
“From the merger of these two companies, a reality taking the best from the two experiences, without one taking over the other, has originated. The difference between our company cultures represents the real wealth on which [we] build our new shared identity,” Del Vecchio added.
But questions have already arisen over the future leadership of the eyewear behemoth, whose formation is expected to transform the sector’s global landscape and spark further technological innovation and deals.
Del Vecchio, who in the new entity serves as executive chairman, is pushing for Francesco Milleri, deputy chairman of Luxottica, to be named ceo of the group made up of the combined Essilor International and Delfin Sarl subsidiaries.
According to answers given to shareholders’ written questions at the meeting provided by the company spokeswoman, an agreement was signed by both parties to begin the executive search in January.
The appointment will be made by the EssilorLuxottica board by end of 2020, based on the recommendation of the nomination and compensation committee and the joint recommendation of the executive chairman and executive vice chairman of EssilorLuxottica, it said.
Also detailed in the meeting was the governance of the new entity agreed to by Essilor International and Delfin, allowing for the “operational autonomy” of the subsidiaries “to be managed separately in their ordinary course of business by Mr. Laurent Vacherot, as ceo of Essilor International, and Mr. Francesco Milleri, as ceo of Luxottica.”
This operational structure, it said, “is similar to the one that was existing within each of the companies prior to the combination, with the exception that some specific decisions contemplated by the management of Essilor International or Luxottica, which are considered to be significant for the whole combined group, or for which coherence must be ensured at the group level, are now subject to prior approval at the level of EssilorLuxottica.”
Hubert Sagnières, Essilor’s chairman and ceo, will serve as executive vice chairman, as reported.
Billed as the world leader in ophthalmic optics and a key player in visual health, Essilor, which is active across prescription glasses, sunglasses and reading glasses, and in ophthalmic optics equipment, counts in its portfolio the brands Varilux, Crizal, Eyezen, Xperio, Transitions, Bolon, Foster Grant and Costa, according to the Essilor web site.
The company has 67,000 employees in 70 countries, 55 percent of whom are Essilor shareholders; 34 plants; 481 prescription laboratories and edging facilities, and 14 distribution centers.
Luxottica produces eyewear under license for names including the Giorgio Armani Group, Bulgari, Burberry, Chanel, Coach, Prada and Versace, and has a number of owned brands, such as Ray-Ban, Oakley and Persol. It and Essilor, the leading maker of lenses worldwide, form an eyewear powerhouse with annual sales of more than 15 billion euros.
Luxottica and Essilor combined count more than 140,000 employees and sales in more than 150 countries.
The announcement of the proposed merger was made in January 2017. In March, the European Commission and the U.S. Federal Trade Commission cleared the project without conditions. The transaction has since been unconditionally approved by a host of countries worldwide.