A WORLD-renowned Hampshire yacht builder is relocating all its production to Hythe in a multi-million pound investment which will double its workforce to 120.

Lymington-based Green Marine is moving into the former Palmer Johnson superyacht factory on the Hythe Marine Park.

The firm has ambitions to create the best carbon fibre boat building facility in the world within five years, allowing it to build some of the largest composite boats ever - up to 70 metres long.

It has already decommissioned a factory in Woolston, Southampton, and will complete its move from Lymington this year, creating 60 jobs.

The jobs boost comes after Southampton Airport announced it was to recruit 100 more staff this year on top of its 1,300 workforce.

Green Marine, which was recently acquired by the Dutch company Vitters, one of its largest customers, has built a range of prizewinning Volvo Ocean and America’s Cup yachts, including the Mascalzone and Prada. The Green Marine fleet also includes well-known, high-performance cruising yachts such as Sojana, Leopard, Ghost and, most recently, the Cinderella IV.

The merger of its production facilities to Hythe will more than double its production capacity allowing it to build two superyachts and up to five racing yachts at once.

Managing director Marcel Müller said: “Moving our production facilities to the Hythe Marine Park will allow us to stay one of the biggest employers in the Solent marine industry. Green Marine will make significant financial investment in new technology and plant to secure and expand our market position for the future.”

Green Marine is taking a five-year lease to occupy 60,000 square feet of production and office space at the marine park, owned by the South East England Development Agency (Seeda).

Seeda senior development manager, Paul Flatt, said: “Seeda has been working closely with Green Marine for a number of months to enable them to fulfil their current growth aspirations.

Their relocation to Hythe will bring new jobs to the area and support the growth of the local economy. It will help establish the park as a centre of marine engineering for the Solent and as a key facility for overseas investors in the UK marine sector. “ The news follows the relocation of hovercraft maker Griffon Hoverwork from Hythe Marine Park to the former Vestas wind turbine factory at Merlin Quay in Woolston.

The firm has already doubled its workforce in the past nine months to nearly 200 employees on the back of a £32m contract to supply the Indian government with 12 of its 8000TD hovercrafts. Dozens more jobs will be created.

Palmer Johnson quietly closed down its Hythe operation at the end of last year, and has pulled out of a planned move to the former Vosper Thornycroft site in Woolston.

The Hythe Marine Park was transformed by Seeda in 2007 into a centre for the marine industry for the south east.