CHARENTON-LE-PONT, France, March 6 /PRNewswire/ --

- Another Year of Solid Performance

The Board of Directors of Essilor International, the world leader in ophthalmic optical products, today announced its audited financial results for the year ended December 31, 2007.

EUR millions 2007 2006(2) Change Revenue 2,908.1 2,690.0 + 8.1% Contribution from operations(1) 527.4 482.6 + 9.3% As a % of revenue 18.1% 17.9% --- Operating profit 504.6 460.5 + 9.6% Profit attributable to equity 366.7 328.7 + 11.6% holders 12.6% 12.2% --- As a % of revenue Earnings per share (in EUR) 1.78 1.61(3)+ 10.8%

(1) Operating profit before share-based payments, restructuring costs and other non-recurring items, and goodwill impairment.

(2) 2006 figures have been adjusted for the option of recognizing actuarial gains and losses on pensions and other post-retirement benefits directly in equity. This had the effect of reducing expenses from operations by EUR0.6 million.

(3) Adjusted to reflect the 2-for-1 stock split on 16 July 2007.

In an expanding market, Essilor continued to gain share in corrective lenses in 2007, thanks to its operating efficiency and its strategy of innovation and international expansion. The year's highlights included:

- Strong growth in every region of the world.

- An improvement in the product mix led by firm growth in progressive lenses (Varilux Physio(R), Definity(R), Anateo(R)/Accolade(R)), medium and high-index lenses, Transitions(R) variable-tint lenses and anti-reflective coatings.

- Ongoing external growth, with the acquisition during the year of 16 new companies.

- Further profitability gains, with contribution from operations rising to 18.1% of revenue and profit attributable to equity holders reaching 12.6%.

The Board of Directors will ask shareholders to approve a dividend of EUR0.62 per share, an increase of 13% over 2006. The dividend will be paid from May 28, 2008.

The Annual Shareholders' Meeting will be held on Wednesday, May 14, 2008 at 10:30 a.m. at Palais de la Bourse, Place de la Bourse, 75002 Paris, France.

A meeting with financial analysts will be held today, March 6, at 10:30 a.m. CET and webcast live at the following address:

Next financial announcement:

First-quarter report: April 23, 2008

Essilor International is the world leader in ophthalmic optical products, offering a wide range of lenses under the flagship Varilux(R), Crizal(R), Essilor(R) and Definity(R) brands to correct myopia, hyperopia, presbyopia and astigmatism. Essilor operates worldwide through 15 production sites, 270 lens finishing laboratories and local distribution networks.

The Essilor share trades on the Euronext Paris market and is included in the CAC 40 index. Codes and symbols: (ISIN: FR 0000121667; Reuters: ESSI.PA; Bloomberg: EF:FP).

ANALYSIS OF THE YEAR'S RESULTS CONSOLIDATED REVENUE Revenue growth in Reported Like-for-like Effect of changes Currency 2007 in scope of effect consolidation In millions of euros 218.1 214.5 106.5 (103,0) In % + 8.1% + 8.0% + 4.0% -3.8%

Consolidated revenue increased 8.1% to 2,908.1 million in 2007.

- On a like-for-like basis, revenue grew 8.0%, on a par with the previous year and significantly outstripping the trend rate of 5 to 6%. Higher unit sales accounted for 5% of the increase, with an improved price-mix adding the other 3%.

- Consolidation of companies acquired in 2006 and 2007 contributed 4% of reported growth.

- The currency effect shifted to a sharply negative 3.8%, primarily due to the decline in the US dollar and, to a lesser extent, the Canadian dollar, the Japanese yen and the British pound against the euro.

SALES PERFORMANCE IN THE MAIN GEOGRAPHIC MARKETS Revenue 2007 2006 % change % change (reported) (like-for-like) (in EUR millions) Europe 1,317.5 1,207.8 + 9.1% + 6.2% North America 1,214.2 1,156.7 + 5.0% + 8.1% Asia-Pacific 266.9 233.0 + 14.5% + 13.4% Latin America 109.5 92.4 + 18.6% + 15.6%


Gross Margin

Gross margin (corresponding to revenue less cost of goods sold, divided by revenue) narrowed by 0.6 points to 57.6% during the year, primarily as a result of the temporary dilutive impact of acquisitions. Excluding acquisitions, gross margin improved by 0.1 point during the year.

Operating Expenses

Operating expenses amounted to EUR1,146.7 million in 2007. As a percentage of revenue, they declined by 0.9 points during the year, to 39.4%, reflecting:

- Stable selling and distribution costs (EUR642.6 million) and further savings on overheads, at a time of sustained research and development spending (EUR137.7 million after deduction of a EUR3.7 million research tax credit).

- The positive impact of acquisitions whose operating expenses are lower than the rest of the Company's as a percentage of revenue, thereby making it possible to pool a portion of corporate expenses.

Contribution from operations1 in euros and as a percentage of revenue Change in Reported Like-for-like Effect of Currency effect contribution from changes in operations(1) in 2007 scope of consolidation In millions of euros 44.8 57.6 7.2 (20.0) In % +9.3% +11.9% + 1.5% - 4.1%

(1) Operating profit before share-based payments, restructuring costs and other non-recurring items, and goodwill impairment.

In all, contribution from operations increased 9.3% to EUR527.4 million in 2007, while the contribution margin was 0.2 points higher at 18.1% of revenue.

Other Income and Expenses from Operations

Other income and expenses from operations represented a net expense of EUR22.8 million in 2007, virtually unchanged from the previous year and amounting to 0.8% of revenue. These expense items comprised:

- Compensation costs on share-based payments (EUR20.2 million), reflecting stock option and performance share costs (EUR16.2 million) and costs related to the share price discounts and matching contributions to the Employee Stock Ownership Plan (EUR4 million).

- Goodwill impairment losses (EUR2.3 million).

- Restructuring costs on the conversion of part of the Mexican plant into a laboratory to serve the US market (EUR1.2 million).

They were partially offset by a EUR1.6 million capital gain on property disposals, in particular following the closure of a glass lens plant in Ireland.

Operating Profit

In 2007, operating profit (corresponding to contribution from operations plus or minus other income and expenses from operations and gains and losses on asset disposals) rose 9.6% during the year to EUR504.6 million (17.3% of revenue) from EUR460.5 million (17.1%) in 2006.

Change in operating Reported Like-for-like Effect of Currency profit in 2007 changes in effect scope of consolidation In millions of euros 44.1 56.0 7.7 (19.6) In % +9.6% +12.2% +1.7% -4.3%

Finance Costs and Other Financial Income and Expenses

Finance costs and other financial income and expenses represented a net expense of EUR6.5 million, versus EUR19.9 million in 2006. The improvement was led by a reduction in net finance costs due to a higher average cash position and a decline in interest rates in the United States.

Income Tax Expense

Income tax expense of EUR155.9 million represented an effective tax rate of 31.3%, virtually unchanged from the previous year. Growth in earnings in Europe and Asia, where corporate taxes are lower than the Group average, helped to offset the impact of increased earnings in the United States, where the tax rate is higher, and an increase in dividend withholding taxes in the United States and Canada.

Share of Profits of Associates

The share of profits of associates Sperian (formerly Bacou-Dalloz, 15%-owned), Transitions (49%-owned) and VisionWeb (44%-owned) remained stable, at EUR28.7 million. Despite an excellent year, the share of profits from Transitions declined, primarily because of the unfavorable currency effect and the recognition of major provisions as part of the introduction of the Generation VI variable-tint lenses in 2008.

Profit Attributable to Equity Holders of the Parent and Earnings Per Share

Consolidated net profit totaled EUR370.9 million for the year, an increase of 11.9%. Profit attributable to equity holders of the parent was 11.6% higher, at EUR366.7 million, and widened to 12.6% of revenue from 12.2% in 2006. Earnings per share grew 10.8% to EUR1.78.


Inventories and Working Capital Requirement

Inventories amounted to EUR394 million at December 31, 2007, up 6.2% from a year-earlier as reported and 5.4% like-for-like. This was much slower than growth in revenue.

Investments (in EUR millions) 2007 2006 Capital expenditure net of the proceeds from 224.4 191.9 asset sales Depreciation and amortization 137.4 133.1 Gross financial investments 217.9 81.3 Cash flow(1) 486.1 449.4

(1) Cash provided by operations less change in working capital requirement and provisions.

Capital expenditure net of disposals totaled EUR224.4 million or 7.7% of consolidated revenue for the year. Around 75% of the outlays were committed to the distribution operations and prescription laboratories, with series production accounting for the rest.

Financial investments net of disposals amounted to EUR216.8 million. Acquisitions accounted for EUR151.3 million of the total, while convertible bond redemptions and the allocation of shares upon exercise of stock options represented EUR65.6 million. Another EUR4.5 million was allocated to loans to non-consolidated companies.

Cash Flow Statement (in EUR millions) Net cash from operations 521.4 Capital expenditure net of the proceeds from asset sales(1) 224.4 Proceeds from employee share Change in WCR and issue 40.2 provisions 35.3 Currency effect, changes in Dividends 113.3 the scope of consolidation and conversions of OCEANE convertible bonds 77.8 Financial investments net of the proceeds from disposals(1) 216.8 Increase in net cash position 49.6

(1) ) In all, the proceeds from disposals of property, plant and equipment and non-current financial assets totaled EUR6.9 million in 2007.

The Company's very good operating performance for the year enabled it simultaneously to maintain its capital expenditure capability, significantly increase the size of its financial investments and recommend a further increase in the dividend. In all, Essilor ended the year with a net cash position of EUR259.6 million.

Key Ratios

- Return on equity (ROE)

Return on equity - corresponding to the ratio of net profit to equity - stood at 17% for the year, on a par with previous years.

- Return on assets (ROA)

After increasing sharply in 2006, return on assets - corresponding to the ratio of EBIT to non-current assets and working capital - eased to 26.9% in 2007.


Essilor stepped up the pace of its acquisitions-led growth strategy in 2007, acquiring 16 companies around the world and strengthening its positions in distribution and prescription laboratories, especially in the United States. These transactions added EUR160 million in full-year revenue, at a total cost of EUR151.3 million.

North America

In the United States, Essilor subsidiary Essilor of America continued to extend its network of prescription lens laboratories:

- Beitler McKee Optical (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania)

- Personal Eyes (Minneapolis, Minnesota)

- Sutherlin Optical (Kansas City and Joplin, Missouri), which primarily serves customers in Missouri and Kansas

- Premier Optics and Gold Optical Enterprises (Belmont and Fayetteville, North Carolina).

- GK Optical (Greenwood and Fort Wayne, Indiana).

- Lastly, Essilor acquired the prescription safety eyewear assets of Dispensers Optical in Louisville, Kentucky.

To expand its services business for independent eye care professionals in the United States, particularly on the West Coast, Essilor of America acquired a majority stake in OOGP, one of the five largest contact lens distributors in the US. Created in 1985, OOGP has three distribution centers in Oregon, Alabama and Hawaii and will contribute $50 million in full-year revenue.

Essilor of America also acquired a controlling interest in KBco, one of the largest polarized lens distributors in the United States. Created in 1987, KBco is based in Centennial, Colorado and has annual sales of $31 million. A recognized specialist in polarized lenses for the US ophthalmic optics industry, KBco markets a broad range of products for retail chains and independent eye care professionals. The acquisition has enhanced Essilor's portfolio of value-added corrective sun lenses and expanded its presence in the fast growing polarized segment.


Essilor subsidiary Essilor Canada acquired a majority stake in Optique Cristal, a Quebec-based prescription laboratory.


In France, Essilor expanded its international network of wholesale distributors by acquiring a majority stake in the Novacel group, which has EUR39 million in revenue. Founded in 1994, Novacel distributes a full range of lenses under its own brands in France and other European countries and operates a prescription laboratory.

The Company's European prescription laboratory network was also strengthened with the acquisition of independent laboratories Sinclair Optical Services and United Optical in the United Kingdom.

In Norway, the Company acquired SentralSlip, a lens edging and mounting laboratory that has become a local BBGR and Nikon lens distributor.

Lastly, a subsidiary was created in Serbia during the year.


Essilor International acquired a majority stake in Integrated Lens Technology (ILT), a Singapore-based ophthalmic lens distributor that serves Asia, Europe, the Middle East and Latin America.

In China, Nikon Essilor acquired all outstanding shares of Nikon Beijing, its local distributor.

South America

Present for more than 20 years in Brazil, Essilor made its first upstream acquisition in the country in 2007, taking an equity interest in Unilab, a prescription laboratory in the Northeast. The stake will be gradually increased to 51% by early 2011. Unilab has full-year revenue of around $5 million.


Recent Acquisitions

In January 2008, the Company completed the acquisition of Interstate Optical Co., one of the five largest independent prescription laboratories in the United States. Interstate's two laboratories in Mansfield, Ohio and Indianapolis, Indiana serve eye care professionals in 32 states. It has $26 million in full-year sales.

In February 2008, Essilor announced that it was acquiring Rainbow Optical Labs Inc., a Porto Rican prescription laboratory with $3 million in annual revenue. Separately, Essilor Canada acquired a majority stake in Westlab Optical Inc., a Montreal-based prescription laboratory with C$4 million in annual revenue.

Lastly, the Company is expanding more quickly in Eastern Europe by setting up operations in Bulgaria. Its new subsidiary Essilor Bulgaria Eood has acquired the business assets of Optymal Ood, which currently distributes Essilor lenses and instruments in Bulgaria and has nearly EUR1 million in revenue. The acquisition will enable the Company to actively participate in the fast growing corrective lens market, especially the progressive lens segment.

In early March, Essilor announced two new acquisitions:

- In the Netherlands, with O'Max, a distributor of optometry and lens edging instruments with EUR3.2 million in revenue.

- In India, with 20/20 Rx Lens, a Hyderabad-based prescription laboratory and long-time Essilor partner.


Despite a relatively uncertain economic environment, Essilor is confident in its ability to drive further growth in 2008, as it continues to implement its strategy based on innovation and global expansion. In particular, the Company is launching a new Transitions(R) variable-tint lens and will continue to make targeted acquisitions, particularly of prescription laboratories.

CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS As of December 31, 2007 CONSOLIDATED INCOME STATEMENT EUR thousands, except per share data 2007 2006(a) 2005(a) Revenue 2,908,116 2,689,958 2,424,323 Cost of sales (1,233,977) (1,123,078) (1,034,529) GROSS MARGIN 1,674,139 1,566,880 1,389,794 Research and development costs (137,672) (127,629) (113,490) Selling and distribution costs (642,634) (604,548) (538,711) Other operating expenses (366,417) (352,137) (315,943) CONTRIBUTION FROM OPERATIONS 527,416 482,566 421,650 Restructuring costs, net (958) (2,662) (3,353) Impairment losses (2,293) (2,929) (11,256) Compensation costs on share-based (20,185) (16,101) (12,269) payments Other income and expenses from (948) (68) 1,967 operations, net Gains and losses on asset disposals, 1,557 (304) (1,871) net OPERATING PROFIT 504,589 460,502 394,868 Finance costs (35,759) (30,510) (28,021) Income from cash and marketable 32,934 20,090 18,993 securities Other financial income and expenses, (3,688) (9,442) (9,708) net PROFIT BEFORE TAX 498,076 440,640 376,132 Income tax expense (155,949) (137,534) (108,742) NET PROFIT OF CONSOLIDATES COMPANIES 342,127 303,106 267,390 Share of profits of associates 28,743 28,499 22,457 NET PROFIT 370,870 331,605 289,847 Attributable to equity holders of 366,740 328,733 287,917 Essilor International Attributable to minority interests 4,130 2,872 1,930 Basic earnings per common 1.78 1.61 1.41 share (EUR) Weighted average number of common 205,727 204,247 203,767 shares (thousands) Diluted earnings per common share 1.74 1.55 1.37 (EUR) Diluted weighted average number of 214,647 216,339 216,909 common shares (thousands)

(a) 2006 and 2005 figures have been adjusted for the option of recognizing actuarial gains and losses on pensions and other post-retirement benefits directly in equity.

CONSOLIDATED BALANCE SHEET AS OF DECEMBER 31, 2007 ASSETS EUR thousands December December December 31, 2007 31, 2006 31, 2005 (a) (a) Goodwill 591,147 474,771 451,037 Other intangible assets 121,636 118,166 124,195 Property, plant and 740,601 671,257 637,342 equipment PROPERTY, PLANT AND 1,453,384 1,264,194 1,212,574 EQUIPMENT AND INTANGIBLE ASSETS, NET Investments in associates 157,496 155,596 133,313 Other long-term financial 39,174 34,657 41,408 investments Deferred tax assets 37,645 41,577 42,587 Non current receivables 14,314 9,338 9,189 Autres actifs non courants 1,024 840 0 OTHER NON-CURRENT ASSETS, 249,653 242,008 226,497 NET TOTAL NON-CURRENT ASSETS, 1,703,037 1,506,202 1,439,071 NET Inventories 393,597 371,133 364,559 Prepayments to suppliers 9,849 7,698 9,614 Current trade receivables 605,356 551,013 515,460 Current income tax assets 12,072 7,929 16,054 Other receivables 10,423 6,558 7,851 Derivative financial 32,777 3,174 2,650 instruments Prepaid expenses 19,307 16,174 14,139 Short-term investments 31,179 75,147 0 Cash and cash equivalents 696,002 584,889 658,713 CURRENT ASSETS, NET 1,810,562 1,623,715 1,589,039 Non-current assets held for 0 0 4,015 sale TOTAL ASSETS 3,513,599 3,129,917 3,032,125

(a) 2006 and 2005 figures have been adjusted for the option of recognizing actuarial gains and losses on pensions and other post-retirement benefits directly in equity.

CONSOLIDATED BALANCE SHEET AS OF DECEMBER 31, 2007 EQUITY AND LIABILITIES EUR thousands December December December 31, 2007 31, 2006 31, 2005 (a) (a) Share capital 38,030 36,347 36,122 Additional paid-in capital 329,880 236,858 203,771 Retained earnings 1,565,991 1,332,544 1,133,089 Treasury stock (101,910) (71,502) (81,979) Convertible bond (OCEANE) 23,408 35,489 40,752 call option Revalution and hedging (4,717) (13,357) (13,512) reserves Translation reserve (61,247) (4,399) 63,266 Net profit attributable to 366,740 328,733 287,917 equity holders of Essilor International EQUITY ATTRIBUTABLE TO 2,156,175 1,880,713 1,669,426 EQUITY HOLDERS OF ESSILOR INTERNATIONAL Minority interests 12,090 11,032 7,000 TOTAL EQUITY 2,168,265 1,891,745 1,676,426 Provisions for pensions and 106,890 116,245 108,263 other post-employment benefits Long-term borrowings 435,583 262,997 448,848 Deferred tax liabilities 2,042 1,267 2,163 Long-term payables 1,750 198 631 NON-CURRENT LIABILITIES 546,265 380,707 559,905 Provisions 24,552 23,350 26,321 Short-term borrowings 31,990 187,011 156,222 Customer prepayments 4,363 3,183 6,943 Short-term payables 598,434 554,693 522,505 Current income tax liability 31,349 29,086 26,665 Other liabilities 94,243 50,591 38,897 Derivative financial 5,457 2,221 9,267 instruments Deferred income 8,681 7,330 8,974 CURRENT LIABILITIES 799,069 857,465 795,794 TOTAL EQUITY AND LIABILITES 3,513,599 3,129,917 3,032,125

(a) 2006 and 2005 figures have been adjusted for the option of recognizing actuarial gains and losses on pensions and other post-retirement benefits directly in equity.

CONSOLIDATED CASH FLOW STATEMENT EUR thousands 2007 2006 (a) 2005 (a) NET PROFIT 370,870 331,605 289,847 Share of profits of associates, net of 14,667 (6,416) 4,567 dividends received Depreciation, amortization and other 139,306 132,509 123,424 non-cash items Profit before non-cash items and share of 524,843 457,698 417,838 profits of associates, net of dividends received Provision charges (reversals) 5,127 4,328 (2,249) (Gains) and losses on asset disposals, net (1,557) 312 1,871 Cash flow after income tax expense and 528 413 462,338 417,460 finance costs, net Finance costs, net 3,008 10,134 9,028 Income tax expense (current and deferred 155,949 137,534 108,472 taxes) Cash flow before income tax expense and 687,370 610,006 535,230 finance costs, net Income taxes paid (157,034) (127,553) (132,067) Interest (paid) and received, net 6,364 (4,543) (1,272) Change in working capital (44,796) (26,849) (3,561) NET CASH FROM OPERATING ACTIVITIES 491,904 451,061 398,330 Purchases of property, plant and equipment (227,701) (204,745) (181,341) Acquisitions of subsidiaries, net of the (136,435) (44,024) (106,737) cash acquired Purchases of available-for-sale financial (2,375) (2,135) (10,658) assets Purchases of other long-term financial (5,488) (4,829) (697) investments Proceeds from the sale of subsidiaries, net 0 (116) 0 of cash sold Proceeds from the sale of other non-current 6,937 14,080 12,165 assets NET CASH USED IN INVESTING ACTIVITIESs (365,062) (241,769) (287,268) Proceeds from issue of share capital 40,200 33,312 31,883 (Purchases) and sales of treasury stock, net (49,415) 9,192 (60,158) Dividends paid to: - Equity holders of Essilor International (113,043) (95,840) (77,300) - Minority shareholders of subsidiaries (239) (381) (173) Repayments of borrowings other than finance 57,752 (138,426) (19,019) lease liabilities Purchases of marketable securities (b) 43,968 (75,147) Repayments of finance lease liabilities (2,769) (2,175) (8,067) Other movements 1,152 2,464 (1,713) NET CASH USED IN FINANCING ACTIVITES (22,394) (267,001) (134,547) NET(DECREASE) INCREASE IN CASH AND CASH 104,448 (57,709) (23,485) EQUIVALENTS Cash and cash equivalents at January 1 569,873 631,100 651,573 IAS 39 adjustments to opening cash and cash 253 equivalents Effect of changes in exchange rates 2,843 (3,518) 2,759 CASH AND CASH EQUIVALENTS AT DECEMBER 31 677,164 569,873 631,100 Cash and cash equivalents 696,002 584,889 658,713 Short-term bank loans and overdrafts (18,838) (15,016) (27,613)

(a) 2006 and 2005 figures have been adjusted for the option of recognizing actuarial gains and losses on pensions and other post-retirement benefits directly in equity.

(b) Money market funds not qualified as cash equivalents under IAS 7.

Investor Relations and Financial Communications Veronique Gillet - Sebastien Leroy Phone: +33-(0)1-49-77-42-16

Investor Relations and Financial Communications: Veronique Gillet - Sebastien Leroy, Phone: +33-(0)1-49-77-42-16