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KIBBUTZ SHAMIR, Israel , Dec. 1 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Shamir Optical Industry Ltd (Nasdaq: SHMR) today announced that to further strengthen its presence in the burgeoning French marketplace, Altra, its European subsidiary, has formed Altra-France, a new company to establish and operate a laboratory and sales and distribution platform. The total investment is estimated to be up to euro 5 million over the next two years.
In addition, Altra has signed an agreement with one of the leading retail optical chains in Europe with more than 700 outlets. Altra will become a recognized provider of spectacle lenses to the chain. The agreement, which commences in January 2006 , does not include a minimum buying commitment by the chain.
Giora Ben Zeev, President and Chief Executive Officer of Shamir Optical, stated, "The European market is one of the largest and fastest growing markets for spectacle lenses. Shamir Optical is committed to the European market and believes these strategic investments represent a significant step toward increasing our market share in this key territory. This investment strengthens our foothold in Europe and aligns our efforts with one of the leading optical retail outlets in the region. Moreover, by establishing Altra-France, we further solidify our position as a leading provider of progressive lenses. We believe that in the long term Shamir will benefit greatly from this relationship and strategic investment."
Altra-France will establish operations in an existing building near Paris to manufacture and support sales and distribution throughout France .
Shamir is a leading provider of innovative products and technology to the progressive spectacle lens market. Utilizing its proprietary technology, the company develops, designs, manufactures, and markets progressive lenses to sell to the ophthalmic market. In addition, Shamir utilizes its technology to provide design services to optical lens manufacturers under service and royalty agreements. Progressive lenses are used to treat presbyopia, a visioncondition where the eye loses its ability to focus on close objects. Progressive lenses combine several optical strengths into a single lens to provide a gradual and seamless transition from near to intermediate, to distant vision. Shamir differentiates its products from its competitors' primarily through lens design. Shamir's leading lenses are marketed under avariety of trade names, including Shamir Genesis(TM), Shamir Piccolo(TM), Shamir Office(TM), and Shamir Autograph(TM). Shamir believes that it has one of the world's preeminent research and development teams for progressive lenses, molds, and complementary technologies and tools. Shamir developed software dedicated to the design of progressive lenses. This software is based on Shamir's proprietary mathematical algorithms that optimize designs of progressive lenses for a variety of activities and environments. Shamir also has created software tools specifically designed for research and developmentand production requirements, including Eye Point Technology software, which simulates human vision.