Funding blow fails to derail key Worthing relocation

Artist's impression of the new Rayner Intraocular Lenses site in East Worthing SUS-150227-101016001
Artist's impression of the new Rayner Intraocular Lenses site in East Worthing SUS-150227-101016001
  • Global firm’s move to Worthing still on track
  • Planned 30 jobs on hold after funding blow

A GLOBAL medical firm remains committed to a £20 million relocation project despite missing out on funding.

Rayner, the only manufacturer of intraocular lenses to treat cataracts in the UK, plans to move from Hove to Worthing by 2016.

The firm missed out on a cash injection from the Regional Growth Fund this month, which it hoped would grow its research and development department.

A planned 30 new jobs are on hold as a result but the firm is still pressing ahead with its new facility.

Joint chief executive Darren Millington said: “As a medical company, it’s essential we reinvest in new products and technologies.

“The Regional Growth Fund would have allowed us to buy dedicated equipment, lab space and recruit staff.

“We’re certainly disappointed that we didn’t win as we felt our application was strong and we are a great company for UK plc – we are the only UK company making intraocular lenses and the majority of our products are exported.”

The firm’s 170-strong workforce will relocate to a new headquarters on the former Eurotherm site in Dominion Way, in East Worthing.

Mr Millington said: “We’re assessing our plans in light of this news, but we are still fully committed to our new Worthing facility, even if we can’t invest as much in R&D as we’d like.

“The building is due to be complete this July with a staged move from Hove taking place from then until May, 2016.

“The staggered move is because of the need to ensure continuity of production.”

Rayner sells to 70 markets worldwide and is one of the leading companies in its field.

Following an in-depth strategic review, the Rayner Group decided to focus its resources on expanding its global medical business and exit the UK retail business, including its opticians’ stores.

It was established in 1910 and was the first to develop the intraocular lens used for the treatment of cataracts.

Shoreham Port benefited from the latest RGF funds, with a £5.7 million grant.