July 10, 2014 / 2:40 PM / 4 years ago

UPDATE 2-French competition watchdog probes optical lens makers

* Essilor said to be among those searched

* Germany’s Carl Zeiss Vision confirms probe (Adds comment from Carl Zeiss Vision)

PARIS, July 10 (Reuters) - France’s competition watchdog said it had raided several optical lens makers on suspicion of anti-competitive behaviour.

A brief statement from the Autorite de la Concurrence on Thursday said that it had conducted searches the previous day. It did not name the companies targeted, but an official with the regulator said that global market leader Essilor was among them.

The watchdog emphasised that the searches were part of an ongoing investigation and that no formal charges had been made.

A spokeswoman for Essilor confirmed that the regulator had searched the group’s offices and had seized documents as part of an investigation into online sales of optical lenses but did not provide further details.

“We are cooperating with the investigation,” she said.

Germany’s Carl Zeiss Vision confirmed in an emailed statement that its French unit had been searched by the authorities. It said the investigation concerned whether makers of optical lenses were restricting the online sale of glasses.

“We are cooperating with the French authorities, because as a maker of optical lenses we are also interested in having swift and legally valid clarification of the relevant standards for internet sales,” a spokesman said. (Reporting by Gwenaelle Barzic and Natalie Huet; Additional reporting by ilona Wissenbach and Victoria Bryan in Germany; Editing by David Goodman and Jane Baird)

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