Optical Ownership: HAL Holding N.V. x Grand Vision

Over the years, you have probably heard the name Hal Holding’s. Who are they and what do they do? According to their website: HAL Investments B.V. is a private equity firm was founded in 1873 and is based in Rotterdam, Netherlands with an additional office in Amsterdam, Netherlands. HAL Investments B.V. operates as a subsidiary of HAL Holding N.V.

Hal Holdings has interest in a variety of companies including optical which include Grand Vision with over 7000 stores around the world and a minority interest in Safilo. You may know them under their Brands of: Interoptik, Optotert, Vision Center, Vision Express, Grand Vision, For Eyes (United States), Lens Store, Opti-Lux, Pearle, Opti Express, Vision Express, Apollo, Eye Wish, Grand Vision 

Established in 1891,  Grand Vision has been around for many years and qualifies as one of the Oldest Optical Companies in the World. Today, through a series of purchases, GrandVision now operates in more than 40 countries, with over 6.500 stores.

This makes Hal Holdings- Grand Vision the 2nd largest optical retailer in the world. Acquisitions started in 2007 and you may have seen headlines such as:

  • 2007: Pearle Europe parent HAL Holding bought a 60 percent stake in Turkish optical chain Fahri Kuz Optik this week. HAL plans to acquire the remaining 40 percent in 2010, an announcement said.  Istanbul-based Fahri Kuz Optik currently operates nine stores, with annual net sales of approximately €6 million, according to HAL.
  • 2007:  Fábrica de Oculos (Brazil) and Fotoptica (Brazil), plus a 30 percent interest in Swiss optical chain Visilab.
  • 2008: HAL Holding, parent of Pearle Europe, has acquired optical chains in two countries so far this month. On May 2, GrandVision, a 100 percent subsidiary of HAL Holding, acquired the 75-store G C Bateman Group, an optical retail company in the south of England. The purchase was made through GrandVision subsidiary Vision Express UK, which already operates 235 stores in the U.K. and Ireland.
  • Last week, HAL signed an agreement to acquire 88 percent of the shares of Chilean optical retail chain Rotter y Krauss. Based in Santiago, Chile, the chain has 43 company-owned stores and operates 89 optical departments within department stores throughout the country. Rotter y Krauss reported 2007 net sales of approximately €32 million.
  • HAL has acquired the Brazilian optical retail chain Fábrica de Óculos. The company is located in Salvador and owns 29 stores located in the states of Bahia and Sergipe. The 2006 net sales amounted to approximately € 14 million.
  • 2008: GrandVision, the 100 percent subsid iary of Pearle Europe parent HAL Holding, acquired the MasVision Group, an optical retail chain in Spain, via its subsidiary GrandOptical España. MasVision operates 15 company-owned stores and a network of 320 franchise stores.  GrandOptical and MasVision together operate 350 stores in Spain. The 2007 combined systemwide sales of those stores was approximately €100 million. (Vision Monday)
  • 2009:Hal Holdings purchases minority stake in Safilo.
  • 2010: HAL’s subsidiary Pearle Europe B.V. acquired 100% of the shares of Tide Ti, a sunglass- and optical retailer in Mexico. The shares were acquired from Safilo Group S.p.a (60%) and the founding shareholders (40%). The transaction with Safilo was already announced in October 2009 as part of the agreement to acquire a minority share in the Safilo Group.
  • 2010:Tide Ti is located in Cancun, Mexico, and operates 57 stores under the Sunglass Island and Optical Island brands. The company has approximately 370 employees and reported 2009 net revenues of MXN 322 million (€ 20 million).  (Grand Vision)
  • 2010:  GrandVision, a subsidiary of HAL, exercised its option to increase the ownership interest in the Mexican optical retail chain Grupo Óptico Lux from 25% to 70%.
    Grupo Óptico Lux is located in Mexico City and operates 89 own stores. The company has approximately 900 employees and reported 2011 sales of MXN 749 million (€ 43 million).
  • 2010 GrandVision signed an agreement to acquire 62% of the shares including an option for the remaining 38% of the Peruvian optical retail chain Topsa. HAL has an interest of 99% in GrandVision. The option to increase the shareholding to 100% can be exercised after five years. Topsa is located in Lima and operates 176 own retail stores, mainly in Lima and a number of other large cities in Peru. The company has approximately 1,030 employees and reported 2013 net sales of approximately PEN 104 million (€ 27 million).
  • 2012: Brilmij Groep B.V., a subsidiary of GrandVision B.V. (99% HAL), has completed the acquisition of 100% of the shares in Optical Service Group B.V. Optical Service Group operates 89 optical retail stores in the Netherlands under the brand name “Het Huis” and has partner contracts with 18 independent optical retail stores that also operate under the “Het Huis” brand. The company reported 2011 revenues of approximately € 33 million and has approximately 350 employees. In the Netherlands, Brilmij operates 277 optical stores under the “Pearle” brand (of which 141 franchise stores) and 168 under the “Eye Wish Groeneveld” brand (of which 27 franchise stores). This transaction was already announced on June 1, 2012
  • 2014: HAL Holding NV, an investment firm based in Curacao and Monaco, said it is preparing an initial public offering of its Dutch optical retail business GrandVision.
  • 2014: Hal Holding N.V. acquires Angelo Randazzo S.r.l. d/b/a Optissimo
  • 2014: HAL plans to sell 20 percent to 25 percent of GrandVision at the earliest by the end of November, according to a statement published today. The company will list shares on the Euronext Amsterdam exchange “depending among  (Bloomberg)
  • 2015: December 1, 2015, GrandVision completed the acquisition of 100% of the shares in the U.S.-based optical retail chain For Eyes. For Eyes was founded in 1972, employs approximately 1,000 FTE’s and operates a network of 116 own stores. These are primarily located in the metropolitan areas of Chicago, Miami, Washington DC and Philadelphia. Revenues for 2015 amounted to $ 92 million.
  • 2017: April 2017. GrandVision announces the acquisition of Tesco Opticians through its UK
    business, Vision Express. (which is 599 stores)

According to their website:

Revenues of the optical retail and unquoted companies for 2016 amounted to € 5,498 million of which the optical retail activities represented 60%. At the end of 2016 the stock market value of HAL’s ownership interest in its optical retail subsidiary GrandVision N.V. was € 4.1 billion, representing 32% of the net asset value of HAL.

A 10% change in the share price of GrandVision N.V. has an effect on HAL’s net asset value of 3%. Accordingly, there is a significant concentration risk with respect to the optical retail industry. A decrease in revenues of the optical retail activities, for example due to an economic recession, may have a significant impact on the net asset value and profitability of HAL. A 10% decrease in these revenues could, everything else being equal, negatively affect the profit before tax by more than € 100 million.

This included Vopak (€ 2.8 billion, 2015:€ 2.4 billion), Koninklijke Boskalis Westminster N.V. (€ 1.5 billion, 2015: € 1.7 billion), SBM Offshore N.V. (€ 495 million, 2015: € 371 million), and Safilo (€ 208 million, 2015: € 279 million)

2016 Report

At the end of 2016 GrandVision was active in 44 countries and had 6,516 optical stores, including stores from its associates in India and Switzerland (2015: 6,110), of which 1,114 franchise stores (2015: 1,096) and had 28,766 full-time equivalent employees (FTE’s) (2015: 27,510). The total 2016 system wide sales (defined as sales including sales of franchise stores) amounted to € 3,657 million.

Safilo Group S.p.A. (41.61%) is a Padua (Italy) based manufacturer and distributor of optical frames and sunglasses. The shares of the company are listed on the Milan stock exchange. The market value at the end of 2016 amounted to approximately € 0.5 billion. At the end of 2016 the company had 7,128 employees. Revenues for 2016 amounted to € 1,253 million (2015: € 1,279 million). The net loss amounted to € 142.1 million (2015: net loss of € 52.7 million).

You can read more about Hal Holding on their website, Bloomberg and Vision Monday.

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