Hiroshi Suzuki, Representative Exec. Officer, President, and CEO
Ryo Hirooka, Representative Exec. Officer and CFO
Eiichero Ikeda, Exec. Officer and COO, Information Technology and Chief Technology Officer
Girts Cimermans, Exec. Officer, Vision Care Company President
Augustine Yee, Exec. Officer, Chief Legal Officer, and Head of Corporate Development and Affairs
Gerald W. Bottero, Global President, Pentax Medical
NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES: 35,000 (total)
GLOBAL HEADQUARTERS: Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo, Japan
Tokyo-based Hoya Group is a brand-new inductee into the Top 30. The company was established in 1941 in Tokyo by the brothers Shoichi and Shigeru Yamanaka, with a single plant that produced optical glass. Hoya first expanded into medical products in 1967 when it launched its first line of progressive multifocal lenses, and shortly thereafter began selling soft contact lenses. The suite of eyeglass lenses and contact lenses comprise Hoya Vision Care, the company’s most enduring business. Hoya began manufacturing intraocular lenses (IOLs) in the 1980s, as an extension of its Vision Care business.
In 2007, Hoya fully immersed itself in the medical technology business and established a Medical division by purchasing nearby Japanese company Pentax Medical. The grab added medical endoscopes, laparoscopic surgical instruments, and airway scopes to Hoya’s product mix. Together, these offerings constitute Hoya Pentax, the company’s Medical division. (Hoya’s Life Care segment consists of these two divisions.) Hoya is also a manufacturer of information technology products, including optical lenses, ultraviolet light sources, and photomasks, among others. The Life Care segment comprised 64 percent of Hoya’s total revenue, and in fiscal year 2016 (ended March 31, 2016) Life Care reached sales of $2.9 billion, a 5 percent increase from the previous year.
Over half of the Life Care segment’s revenue was driven by sales of eyeglass lenses, which achieved a slight revenue bump of 3 percent over the year prior. Expansion in overseas sales (primarily in Europe and the Americas) was largely responsible for the modest hike. In Europe, sales broadened to both independent small and medium-sized eyeglass stores—particularly of the company’s Seiko lenses. Solid sales in independent small and medium-sized eyeglass stores and efforts to develop customers among large retail chains resulted in bolstered sales in the United States in FY16. Most of the lens revenue (a little less than half) came from the European region, and sales in the Americas made up about 25 percent.
In October 2015, Hoya added a bevy of high-tech lenses to its product mix through the acquisition of Swiss lens manufacturer Knecht & Müller AG. It is the newest addition to the DACH (Germany, Austria, Switzerland) region, where Hoya already has two locations: Hoya Lens Austria and Hoya Lens Germany GmbH. “We are proud to welcome Knecht & Müller as a member of Hoya Corporation,” Hans Werquin, CEO of Hoya Vision Care Europe, said in a company press release. “Switzerland is one of our key Central European markets whose customers we can now serve directly. Knecht & Müller has over a century’s tradition in the optical field and extensive expertise in the production of high-tech lenses. This legacy fits perfectly with Hoya’s strategic objectives in the DACH region and beyond.”
ANALYST INSIGHTS: With its Hoya Vision and Hoya Pentax, Hoya is one of the “quiet” industry giants in both Optical and Surgical. As Hoya has a significant amount of cash on its balance sheet, look for Hoya to continue with strategic M&A. The question is, “Will it be ‘add-on’ (complementary to its existing businesses) or ‘category shifting’ (creating new business segments within its organization)?”
—Dave Sheppard, Co-Founder and Principal, MedWorld Advisors
Contact lens sales performed strongly in fiscal 2016, achieving a growth rate of 14 percent from the year prior. Eyecity (Hoya’s contact lenses specialist retail chain) actively opened new stores in urban areas, resulting in a total of 257 stores in Japan by the end of the fiscal year.
As a means to augment customers’ lens-buying experience, in September 2015 the company introduced the Hoya Vision Simulator, which is a virtual reality headset that visualizes the optical effects of various lens designs. Operated via a smartphone app, opticians can apply wearing parameters and exact prescriptions to the viewing field, adjusting for accurate pupil distance.
Hoya Pentax’s medical endoscope sales suffered somewhat in FY16, dropping about 3 percent from the previous year. The decline’s main driver was the United States, due to the priority Hoya placed on responding to U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) inspections as a result of fellow Japanese endoscope-maker Olympus’ 2015 CRE outbreak stemming from reprocessing troubles. U.S. endoscope sales decreased 10 to 15 percent as a result of these efforts—and higher endoscope sales in the Chinese, Asia/Oceania, and several emerging countries could not offset the decline.
Hoya Pentax expanded into the endoscopic therapy market in September through the strategic investment in electrosurgical devices company Creo Medical Ltd. Pentax identified endoscopic therapeutic devices as a priority in its growth strategy, and grants the division access to an electrosurgical platform. Hoya’s flexible endoscopes—which are used in minimally invasive treatment procedures—will be combined with Creo Medical’s therapeutic devices in such areas as highly advanced gastroenterological surgeries. Pentax also launched the Splash M-Knife multi-functional Endoscopic Submucosal Dissection (ESD) device in May 2015. ESD procedures are gaining worldwide interest and adoption for their clinical and financial benefits contributing to early recovery, reduced procedural complexities, and costs. The new ESD device will contribute heavily to the early treatment of gastric cancer.
Hoya’s IOL business was the largest growth area for the company in fiscal 2016, achieving 23 percent revenue growth from the previous year. This was mainly stimulated by introduction of aspherical IOLs into the major markets including both European and Japanese, the latter of which represented half of Hoya’s IOL sales. The new IOLs are made of “Vivinex,” Hoya’s newly developed hydrophilic acrylic material. Vivinex builds on Hoya’s original surface reforming treatment, and the lenses are anticipated to curtail the appearance of posterior capsule opacification, a complication that causes the back of a lens capsule to thicken, causing cloudy vision. The IOLs made of Vivinex are currently undergoing a series of clinical evaluations to gain additional patient trust.
Furthering its commitment to surgical vision care, in October 2015 Hoya revealed late-stage venture investment in InnFocus Inc., a Miami-based company developing the InnFocus MicroShunt to treat open angle glaucoma. A tube less than 1 cm in length designed to lower intraocular pressure in open angle glaucoma patients, it is composed of a soft, biocompatible material that minimizes tissue damage and significantly reduces operation time.
Hoya Pentax also welcomed a new leader in February 2016, appointing Hoya veteran Gerald Bottero as global president of the division. Bottero joined Hoya in 1988, serving as representative on the Boards of Directors of Hoya’s Decibel Instruments (intra-canal hearing aids) and Lifespex Inc. (early detection of cervical cancer), president of Hoya Conbio (a medical laser firm focused on dermatology and hard tissue dentistry), and the president of Hoya Vision Care from 2005 to 2014.
“I am truly honored to support the richly talented and highly dedicated global professionals of Pentax Medical,” Bottero said in a company statement. “Our mission is to ‘lead the leading edge’ in intelligent, software-rich endoscopic solutions for the early detection and treatment of cancer. Patients comprise the center of our universe; every day in every way, our job is to help doctors, nurses and biomeds improve the quality of patients’ lives. We are very excited about our opportunities, and by the enthusiastic feedback we have received from customers regarding new technologies we are developing for interactive imaging, single-use devices, mobility, and scalable platforms.”