Bausch & Lomb to consolidate its contact lens manufacturing

September 16, 2009

Bausch & Lomb intends to consolidate its worldwide contact lens manufacturing and proposes to begin moving most of its global contact lens production to its existing sites in Waterford, Ireland, and Rochester, NY, according to a prepared statement. ??

Rochester, NY

-Bausch & Lomb intends to consolidate its worldwide contact lens manufacturing and proposes to begin moving most of its global contact lens production to its existing sites in Waterford, Ireland, and Rochester, NY, according to a prepared statement.

As a result, the company is proposing a phased withdrawal from its production facility in Livingston, Scotland, during 2010 and early 2011. It will soon enter into a 90-day consultation period with employees from that site, according to the company.

“Considering our growth plans in the coming years, we believe it’s better to focus our resources and attention on just two primary contact lens plants, freeing cash for reinvestment into the business,” said Gerald M. Ostrov, chairman and chief executive officer. “We recognize the significant impact to our Livingston employees, their families, and the community, and note this is by no means a reflection on our employees’ professionalism, dedication, or efforts. We will do everything within our ability to ensure that their needs and concerns are listened to with the utmost respect.”

The company said it undertook an extensive review of multiple factors before recommending to consolidate production at its Ireland and U.S. sites, including proximity to established research and development resources, total cost savings, global operational efficiencies, and future investment potential as its contact lens business grows.

“It became very clear to our senior leadership team-following our detailed analysis-that company-owned sites in Rochester and Waterford held a strong advantage in most major assessment criteria. The long-term cost savings alone are hundreds of millions of dollars,” Ostrov said. “At the same time, this will better position us to more rapidly grow production volumes as we increase professional and consumer contact lens demand worldwide.”

As part of the proposed consolidation, certain manufacturing lines (SofLens) would be moved from Livingston to Waterford and Rochester over the course of the next year, and other lines (PureVision SVS) would be moved from Waterford to Rochester. The company said that it has taken multiple measures to ensure uninterrupted supplies of all products to eye-care professionals and consumers.

The collective moves of these highly automated lines would be expected to create approximately 30 new positions in Rochester during 2010, but no employment increase would occur in Waterford. The proposal would affect approximately 500 employees in Livingston on a staggered basis through the next 14 to 18 months, according to the release.