RB plc has announced that it is investing £100m in a state of the art Centre of Scientific Excellence in the UK. The global giant behind the Durex brand – formerly known as Reckitt Benckiser – carried out a review of its six major R&D facilities worldwide before choosing its Hull site for the development.
RB global CEO Rakesh Kapoor said: “Growing our global consumer health business is at the heart of our vision to provide innovative solutions for healthier lives and happier homes… This is more than just a major investment for RB. It is a statement of intent to drive positive change consumer health. It not only shows the importance we place on innovation, but also underlines our faith in the UK as a place to invest in technical expertise and in consumer health R&D.”
Part of the RB business was started in Hull almost 200 years ago and several of the corporation’s other major health and hygiene brands have been developed in its Hull and Nottingham labs, including Dettol, Gaviscon, Lemsip, Nurofen, Optrex and Strepsils.
RB already supports a number of scientific and educational projects in consumer health across the UK, and Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Right Honourable George Osborne MP, welcomed the announcement by RB, saying: “RB plc is a great British success story and their decision to invest in the UK is testament to the steps this government has taken to make Britain open for business. A key part of our long term economic plan is making the UK a world leader in science and innovation, and the new state of the art Centre of Scientific Excellence will help us deliver this, giving greater economic security for hardworking people.”
The project will include the development of a major new building on the site equipped with state of the art consumer health laboratory facilities. In addition RB will be significantly upgrading its current R&D facilities in Hull, and completing work already begun on general improvements across the site. The investment will secure the long term future of the existing operations and 1,200 jobs in Hull and create new opportunities. Building work on the new project is expected to start in early 2015 and the new Centre of Technical Expertise will be fully operational by 2018.