Above: Rayner Surgical Group’s New Facility in Worthing, E Sussex, houses manufacturing operations, R&D laboratories, pre-production experimental factory and offices.
[title size=”4″]“Our plans get disseminated quickly across all relevant parties at NatWest… we reap the benefits in the form of faster, more informed decision making about funding.” Darren Millington, CFO, Rayner Surgical Group Limited[/title]
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  • Rayner Surgical have banked with NatWest since 1910; the bank has provided funding support for Rayner’s recent expansion strategy
  • Funding of £12m, part of which supported the building of the bespoke new £25m facility in Worthing; this new site gives Rayner the potential to more than treble their production output
  • A £4m credit line from Lombard, NatWest’s asset nance partner, enabled Rayner to invest in state-of-the-art equipment for the new site
  • Serving over 80 markets worldwide, the business uses NatWest’s FX facilities to mitigate against currency volatility

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SECTOR: Manufacturing
LOCATIONS: Worthing (and distributors worldwide_
TURNOVER: £25m-£50m
PURPOSE: Funding to support expansion programme
SOLUTION: £12m spread across a property loan and revolving credit facility; £4m asset finance from Lombard
[title size=”2″]A man of insight[/title]

Ray One Tonic Intraocular Lens (IOL)

Cataract surgery takes a matter of minutes and, with over 300,000 procedures carried out each year, it’s the most common surgery in the UK. Grateful patients have a man called Harold Ridley to thank for the restoration of their vision. While working as an ophthalmic surgeon at Moorfields Eye Hospital, during WW2. He noticed that splinters of Perspex from the cockpit cover embedded in pilots’ eyes didn’t trigger an adverse reaction. He and an optical scientist from Rayner designed the world’s first Intraocular Lens (IOL), which is implanted when the natural lens is removed. In 1949, Ridley asked Rayner (today known as the Rayner Surgical Group) to manufacture it. The company is still the only UK manufacturer of IOLs for cataract surgery. It markets its products, which include preloaded lens injection systems, to over 80 countries, through distributors and direct sales teams.
The company has recently restructured. It sold a 40% stake to a private equity firm to help fund research and development (R&D), and embarked upon an ambitious expansion programme.
“We’re working with the company to support their expansion strategy and provide funding to help them achieve their goals,” says Claire Moore, Relationship Director at NatWest.
[title size=”2″]A new focus[/title]
In 2014, Rayner divested its retail division to focus on ophthalmology. It went on the acquisition trail as well, buying a distributor in Germany and the ophthalmic cataract surgery business of Swiss company Aptissen SA. In 2016, with NatWest’s support, it took over Moorfields Pharmaceuticals, which is now Rayner Pharmaceuticals. This division’s product portfolio includes eye drops and gels.
The business has banked with NatWest from its very inception but has used it only for routine banking services until quite recently, as CFO Darren Millington admits.
“In the last few years, as we’ve needed support to finance our expansion, they’ve stepped in and shown us just what they’re made of,” he says. To date, this has included £12m of funding.
[title size=”2″]Centre of excellence[/title]
£3.975m of the funds provided by NatWest contributed to the creation of a new, £25m bespoke facility in Worthing. Opened in 2016, the Ridley Innovation Centre houses manufacturing operations, R&D laboratories, pre-production
experimental factory and offices. “The new site gives us the capacity
to increase production of artificial lenses from 700,000 a year to three million,” says Darren. “Although we’re already well-established in many markets, the BRIC countries are growing in importance for us, as are places such as Iraq, Pakistan and Bangladesh.”
[title size=”2″]Important advances[/title]
NatWest provided an additional £6.5m funding in the form of a revolving credit facility and introduced Rayner’s to Lombard, the bank’s asset finance division, for help to fund the state-of-the-art equipment needed for the new facility. A £4m Lombard credit line has been used to purchase a new, high precision lathe, which is used to carve the optical surface of the IOLs, and to invest in robotic machinery.
“Like many businesses, we’re looking to increase the yield and reduce the cost of our product,” Darren explains. “As part of this drive for process improvement we’re trialling some machine vision equipment that inspects the lens under very high magnification, looking for microscopic defects and impurities. Previously, all inspection has been done manually, but human error and inconsistency can lead to higher levels of wastage. If the trial proves successful we will look to invest in a suite of these machines.”
[title size=”2″]An international perspective[/title]
Rayner is now operating across a global landscape and facing new challenges,
including exchange fluctuations.
“We have a very open relationship with NatWest’s FX team. They’re really proactive in their suggestions, for example about how and when we should hedge currency – but I don’t ever feel like we’re being ‘sold to’,” says Darren. “They’re supportive throughout the
process, which we really value.”

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