Transitions boosting lens production, jobs
TUAM, IRELAND — Transitions Optical Inc. is investing 14 million Irish pounds ($10.3 million) to expand production of plastic variable-tint eyeglass lenses at its Tuam plant.
Transitions Optical Ltd., the European subsidiary of the Tampa, Fla.-based company, announced it will create 115 new jobs as part of a five-year project. European demand is growing 30 percent a year, according to Paddy McDermott, operations director of the European subsidiary.
The expansion project at Tuam is being backed by the Irish government's Dublin-based Industrial Development Agency.
McDermott said the plan envisages a 40 percent expansion in the 50,000-square-foot Tuam plant, which the company established in 1994. Capacity is set to rise 30 percent to satisfy demand for photochromic lenses, largely made from CR39 polyethylene glycol diallyl discarbonate, in major markets in France, Germany and the United Kingdom.
McDermott added that the U.S. parent is building a manufacturing plant in the Philippines, and that demand in southern Europe eventually may prompt the addition of another plant.
He said the European market largely seeks a brown tint for lenses, whereas U.S. consumers prefer gray.
The 9-year-old Transitions claims to be the world's fourth-biggest manufacturer of plastic eyeglass lenses. It employs 1,000 and has annual sales of more than $300 million.
Ipel ends U.K. venture with Epsilon-Opti Films
SOUTH PLAINFIELD, N.J. — Ipel Ltd. has sold its 50 percent stake in Epsilon-Opti Films UK to that company for an undisclosed amount.
The April 9 sale marks the end of a year-old joint venture formed to make shrink film for the European market. South Plainfield-based Epsilon-Opti had installed custom-built extrusion equipment in Ipel's plant in Liverpool, England.
Edward Weiss, executive vice president of Epsilon-Opti, cited several differences between the two companies.
``Ipel manufactures biaxially oriented polypropylene and its marketplace is the converting and laminated arena,'' Weiss said in a telephone interview. ``It is a different marketplace than where we're serving, which is the distributor marketplace.
``We have different opinions — we sell and service our customers one way. Our strategic interests are different and there was no synergy with the businesses. It was best to continue in separate ways.''
The joint venture extruded multilayer biaxially oriented polyolefin shrink films. Company officials would not disclose the amount of the multimillion-dollar investment or the capacity of the joint venture.
Epsilon-Opti is a member of Sigma Group, headquartered in Lyndhurst, N.J. Sigma claims to be the largest independent producer of packaging film products in the United States.
INvensys sells share in Malaysia company
LONDON — Invensys plc, a giant engineering group formed by the February merger of British firms BTR plc and Siebe plc, will sell its 51.9 percent share in Nylex Malaysia Berhad, its Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia-based plastics, glass and building products subsidiary.
London-based Invensys is selling the unit to Ancom Berhad for £29 million ($46.7 million), to concentrate on its automation and controls business.
Ancom Berhad is based in Kuala Lumpur.