By Andrew Bushe
DUBLIN — The American Bausch & Lomb contact lens and sunglasses company has doubled the size of the plant in Waterford where it is already one of the south-east’s largest employers.
The IR_43 million development, which was opened by Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, will create 650 new jobs over the next three years.
James Kennedy, vice president of European operations, said two new products SofLens 66 Toric, a two-week disposable lens for astigmatism, and PureVision, a 30-day continuous wear contact lens, are to be made in Waterford.
“Waterford is now producing Bausch & Lomb’s newest and most exciting products, which are in the process of being launched in various markets throughout the world this year,” he said.
The expansion includes a new research and development facility for the company, which is best known for its Ray-Ban sunglasses.
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The expansion is being grant-aided by the Industrial Development Authority and European structural funds. The existing 18-year-old plant in Waterford employs more than 1,400 people.
Bausch & Lomb, head-quartered in Rochester, New York, has annual revenues of more than $2 billion and employs 15,000 people in 35 countries.