Optical products maker Pentax Corp. said Tuesday it will merge its eyeglass sales unit with a similar Seiko Corp. subsidiary to boost its presence in the high-end optical market.

Pentax, known for its cameras, said it will consolidate the unit in charge of selling spectacle lenses with Seiko Optical Products Co., a fully-owned subsidiary of Seiko in January.

Pentax officials said the new operation will have a domestic market share of about 25 percent, putting it second to Hoya Corp.

Officials of both companies said they will continue to produce glass lenses separately under their respective brands for the foreseeable future.

The firms said it is increasingly necessary to strengthen their standing in the high-end market, particularly amid cheaper competition from other Asian makers. The two firms’ combined sales of eyeglass lenses came to some 31 billion yen in fiscal 2002.

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