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Rodenstock in pact with GKB to make lens

Our Bureau

Chennai , Nov. 29

RODENSTOCK, the German eye lens and spectacle frame manufacturer, has entered into an arrangement with GKB Rx Lens to have its lens manufactured here for the Indian market. The lens would be sold under the Rodenstock brand.

Rodenstock had studied the Indian market for two years prior to the deal, said Mr Lalit Gupta, GKB's Marketing Director.

The deal, concluded last month, would see Rodenstock export raw materials to GKB that would be subsequently converted into eye lens.

Mr Gupta estimated the current size of the Indian optical market to be in the range of Rs 1,000 crore.

Rodenstock's entry comes on the heels of a steady 18-20 per cent annual growth seen recently in the Indian optical market.

The future is expected to be promising, thereby drawing overseas companies, said an industry official.

An example of market potential came in the form of a quick turnaround by contact lens manufacturer, Bausch & Lomb India, after its profitable sunglasses business (Ray Ban) was spun off into another company in 2000.

Mr Gupta pointed out that Rodenstock, founded in 1877, is one of the few global companies to manufacture both lens and spectacle frames. He added that Rodenstock is currently engaged in manufacturing operations in 62 countries. As in the case of India, Rodenstock carries out manufacturing in many countries with the help of a local partner.

GKB, which was established in 1959, is engaged in both manufacturing and retailing of opticals. The company registered a turnover of Rs 32 crore in fiscal 2003. Mr Gupta said that in future GKB is likely to tap public money through an equity issue to fund its expansion.

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