The almost equal partners, PPG Industries, Inc., and Essilor International, are negotiating the future of their 22-year-old joint venture, Transitions Optical, according to a PPG press release. PPG controls 51 percent of the photochromic lenses provider, Essilor 49 percent. Transitions (for whom Essilor is the largest customer) accounted for a substantial portion of the 2012 sales and earnings of PPG's Optical and Specialty Materials group.
PPG did not predict how its negotiations with Essilor would fair, but it offered three obvious solutions: (1) a modification of the current joint venture structure, (2) a sale of all or a portion of PPG’s interests in Transitions to Essilor, or (3) a sale of all or a portion of Essilor’s interests in Transitions to PPG. Under their current contract, PPG or Essilor can specify a price at which the other party could elect to sell its interests or buy the first party’s interests in one or more of the Transitions Optical joint venture companies. PPG did not conjecture when Essilor and PPG will complete their discussion. PPG did promise that during the negotiations, Transitions will operate without interruption or change in customer service. In fact, Transitions will expand its new technology platforms through major new product introductions globally.