Eye Catching
    Category: Companies & People By : Forbes Indonesia team Read : 719 Date : Thursday, January 04, 2018 - 15:32:39

    Ahmad Zamroni / Forbes Indonesia

    Rodenstock GmbH, Germany’s largest maker of eyeglasses, was founded in 1877 in Munich, thus just celebrating 140 years in business. The privately held company, has a relatively rare position in the market, as it makes the two parts of any eyeglass, both the lenses and the frames. Most companies focus on one or the other.

    Since 2010, the firm has been led by German Oliver Kastalio. He was brought in to head the company during a time when the firm was in decline, in debt and struggling. The founding Rodenstock family had been forced to sell its shares to a private equity firm. Previously Oliver had worked at consumer goods powerhouse Procter & Gamble for just over 15 years, leaving P&G as vice president of Global Prestige Products—managing its top-end items. Oliver was brought in to help Rodenstock stem the losses and take the firm to the next level of global growth.

    So far he has delivered. In the last six financial years, sales have always increased. Only in the latest available year, financial year 2016, did sales drop, but by just 1.8% to €409 billion, due to currency fluctuations and restructuring costs. If adjusted for currency, sales were actually flat for the year. Meanwhile, EBITDA fell about 6% to €75.6 billion, due mostly to a major restructuring. The firm doesn’t reveal its net margin but claims it is in the “double digits.”

    In a rare visit to Jakarta, Oliver gave Forbes Indonesia an exclusive interview, providing insights into the global eyeglass business, and Indonesia’s special role in its global plans. “Rodenstock is a household name in Germany. While it was a different challenge, compared to P&G, heading Rodenstock came with different agility and influence. It is an old company and we believe in combining tradition and innovation,” says Oliver.

    In Indonesia, Rodenstock is partnered with the Melawai group, Indonesia’s largest eyeglass retailer, with the retail chains Optik Melawai and Optik Keluarga (and it also has a division selling hearing aides). “While Optik Melawai is indisputably the leader in the optical retail market, we are working very successfully with them to develop into a leading ophthalmic lens brand in Indonesia,” says Oliver. Although Rodenstock is present in 85 countries, Oliver is bullish on Indonesia, placing Indonesia with China and India as one of its highest growth markets in Asia. Indonesia already currently contributes around 18% of total sales from Asia.

    Read full version of the article