SI chief wins board backing for medical hub

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SURGICAL Innovations, the medical device maker, confirmed yesterday it was pressing ahead with multi-million pound plans to build a state-of-the-art facility in Yorkshire.

It is hoped that the new centre, which will be used for design, manufacturing and training, will act as a catalyst for the development of a major healthcare hub in Leeds, which is home to leading academics and healthcare professionals.

Graham Bowland, chief executive, said he has won the approval of the board and major private shareholders and is confident of winning the backing of institutional investors in the City.

He said SI has “derisked” the project and the phased move will have no impact on short-term trading or profitability and is expected to bring increased operational efficiencies. “This is the right move for SI,” he told the Yorkshire Post.

The company is in talks with a number of developers about three potential sites on the eastern side of the city with an estimated completion date of July 2015. Mr Bowland is excited about the potential of the 58,000 sq ft facility, which will include a 10,000 sq ft training centre for surgeons.

He said SI’s products for minimally invasive surgery are designed in close working partnership with surgeons and the new centre will help create innovative new products.

He added that the centre will be “a real asset for the region”.

The company hopes to develop one of the premier facilities in the UK to support growing demand for clinical training home and abroad.

SI won £5.05m from the Government’s regional growth fund to build the facility. It also plans to use a bank mortgage.

The Aim-listed company yesterday revealed strong trading in the six months ending June, up 28 per cent on the same period last year. Core earnings rose 16 per cent.

SI is a major exporter with America its main overseas market, but it is winning more business with cost-conscious UK surgeons keen to get their hands on its reusable products.