A Medical Device Daily

CooperVision, the contact lens unit of the Cooper Companies (both Pleasanton, California), reported that it intends to discontinue the operations of its soft contact lens manufacturing plant in Norfolk, Virginia, over the next 15 months. The closure of the plant is primarily the result of increased manufacturing efficiencies gained over the last year.

CooperVision's Norfolk facility manufactures about 7% of its annual lens production. CooperVision intends to relocate lens manufacturing from Norfolk to Juana Diaz, Puerto Rico, and Hamble, UK. It said ir also intends to transfer part of its contact lens manufacturing operations in Adelaide, Australia, to Hamble, UK, over the coming four months. No additional hires are anticipated in Puerto Rico or the UK as part of this transition.

Robert Weiss, Cooper's president/CEO, said, "Our manufacturing employees are first-rate, and this is an extremely difficult decision. As we've said on multiple occasions, our manufacturing team has done a phenomenal job improving efficiencies, and our excess capacity is largely due to their successes. Over the past year, we have increased manufacturing throughput while reducing manufacturing headcount by roughly 685 employees. We expect these additional moves will allow us to reduce headcount by roughly 570 more employees while continuing to increase production."

As a result of the moves, CooperVision said ir expects to recognize pre-tax restructuring charges of about $25 million, including about $6 million in fiscal Q3, $7.5 million in fiscal Q4 and the remainder in fiscal 2010. CooperVision expects about $10 million of the charges to be cash related with minimal cash impact in fiscal 2009. Upon its completion, the company said it anticipates annual cash savings of about $14 million beginning in 2011 and earnings improvements of about $7.5 million in fiscal 2011 and $15 million per year thereafter.