Highmark sells a piece of its vision business
Highmark Inc. is selling a piece of its vision business as the region's dominant insurer focuses on expanding its national chain of eyewear stores and builds capital that could used for acquisitions.
HVHC Inc., Highmark's for-profit vision subsidiary, said Thursday that it reached a deal to sell its Viva International unit to Marcolin SpA, an Italian eyeglasses company. The purchase price for the unit, which licenses and markets branded eyewear, was not disclosed.
“As we looked at our strategy, (Viva International) wasn't as core to us, and it was also a business that we felt could grow and develop, but it needed more investment,” David Holmberg, HVHC's CEO, said on a conference call with reporters.
HVHC will continue to operate its retail, manufacturing and vision insurance units but will license branded eyeglasses from Marcolin. The vision business, as well as Highmark's other for-profit subsidiaries in dental insurance and stop-loss insurance, are key providers of profit to Highmark's overall business.
The Downtown-based insurer last year recorded net income of $246.5 million, not counting its acquisition of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Delaware. Net income from its three for-profit subsidiaries totaled $193.6 million.
Its Visionworks chain of stores is the nation's second-largest, and its vision insurance business, Davis Vision, is the third-largest vision insurance in the country, Holmberg said.
HVHC has previously said that it would spend $65 million to more than double the number of Visionworks it owns across the country. It has 600 stores now and plans to have 1,225 by the end of 2018.
The retail vision business is predicted to grow strongly in coming years as aging baby boomers require more vision care.
With the sale of Viva, the company may increase that number, either through building its own stores or by purchasing existing retail chains, Holmberg said.
“If there are ways to go into the marketplace all at once through acquisition this positions us to do that as well,” he said.
The deal is expected to close in the next several months.
Alex Nixon is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7928 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Add Alex Nixon to your Google+ circles.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Young adults drive home rental trend in Western Pennsylvania
- Government approves compromise on Corbett’s alternative Medicaid plan
- 2 top technology officers leave UPMC
- Auto market booming, but longer loan terms cause concern
- USDA updates dairy insurance program
- Customers anxious for details about Highmark transition plan for W. Pa.
- Economy grew at brisk 4.2% rate in Q2
- Abercrombie name to shrink from clothing
- Housing contracts rise as mortgage rates fall
- Twitch.tv online network reveals value of video gaming market
- Banks’ earnings up 5.2% in 2Q