Profits and revenues down at Alcon’s Cork-based Irish division

Company, which manufactures intraocular lenses, employs close to 400 people locally

The Irish division of eyecare business Alcon, which last year marked 25 years in Cork, saw profits and turnover decline in 2016 after incurring big costs as it boosts manufacturing capacity locally.

Profit before tax declined from €3.7 million to €2.6 million in 2015 as turnover fell from €41.7 million to €40.9 million.

Alcon Laboratories Ireland manufactures intraocular lenses. These are used to replace natural lenses removed during cataract surgery.

The Cork plant was established in 1991 with just 13 employees. Acquired by Alcon in 2000 it now employs close to 400 people. All its product is sold to its parent company, which is ultimately owned by the Swiss pharma giant Novartis.


Turnover declined in part because of a reduction in intercompany income. Operating profit, which also declined to €2.7 million from €3.9 million, was lower due to an increase in R&D expenditure from €549,000 to €1.3 million.

Alcon Ireland said it spent €9.2 million on developing its manufacturing capacity in Cork last year, up from €5.9 million in 2015.

Net assets totalled €17.2 million, up €2.25 million on the prior year.

Staff numbers rose to 394 from 355 in 2015 with related costs largely unchanged at €20.7 million. Directors’ emoluments rose to €417,000 from €350,000.

Quarterly sales at Alcon have declined for nearly two years

Novartis, which is considering either spinning off or selling Alcon, hired Bank of America earlier this year to review its options for the business worth between $25 to $35 billion.

The Swiss giant acquired Alcon from Nestlé for $52 billion in 2010.

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor is a former Irish Times business journalist