Essilor International SA, the world’s largest maker of corrective eye lenses, predicts continued revenue growth and a slight improvement in operating margin in 2012, after profitability last year was knocked slightly by higher costs. “We see a rather strong 2012, perhaps stronger than 2011 in terms of demand, volume and value,” Chief Executive Hubert Sagnieres told reporters. Essilor expects its underlying operating margin to rise to 18 per cent in 2012 after dipping to 17.9 per cent last year from 18.1 per cent in 2010, while sales are predicted to rise by between 6 and 9 per cent this year, including bolt-on acquisitions, after growth of 7.7 per cent in 2011. “In light of the company’s stronger than expected current momentum in its core lens business, we feel that this guidance is very achievable,” Merrill Lynch analysts said in a note to investors. Net profit rose 9.4 per cent to 505.6 million euros ($676.3 million) last year, but missed the average market forecast of 523.13 million given in a Reuters poll of 17 analysts, with the result hit by higher restructuring, one-off and financing costs. The dividend was increased to 0.85 euros per share from 0.83 euros last time, covered by earnings per share up 10.7 per cent at 2.44 euros.