BYD ‘in talks to rescue Wrightbus’

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“Wrightbus is an iconic company in Northern Ireland and the UK with talented and skilled people,” says BYD Europe Managing Director

Chinese coach and bus manufacturer BYD is reportedly in talks to ‘rescue’ Wrightbus, according to an article published by the Daily Telegraph.

The Northern Irish manufacturer – whose current range includes the StreetLite and StreetDeck – announced last month that it had appointed Deloitte to ‘explore the potential of bringing on board an investor’ to help combat its current financial difficulties.

The New Routemaster was discontinued in 2017
The New Routemaster was discontinued in 2017

The article claims that BYD – which is already in an electric bus partnership with Alexander Dennis Ltd – has now been approached by Wrightbus about a potential ‘rescue deal.’

The Prime Minister vowed in July to ‘do everything he could’ to save the company, whose New Routemaster has famously been nicknamed by many as the ‘Boris bus.’

Production of the retro-styled double-decker ceased in 2017, at which point the company’s pre-tax profits fell 85% to £1.5m.

The paper reported that, currently, Wrightbus is losing £15m each year, with 100 staff having been made redundant in February and June this year. Sources indicate that the manufacturer needs a £30m cash injection to stay afloat.

BYD Europe Managing Director, Isbrand Ho, told the Daily Telegraph: “Wrightbus is an iconic company in Northern Ireland and the UK with talented and skilled people.

“We have also been working closely with the UK Government in helping to fulfil its zero emission ambitions, a process that started several years ago when Boris Johnson, now the the UK Prime Minister, was the Mayor of London.

“We will continue to monitor all opportunities in the UK.”

Wrights Group and Deloitte chose not to comment on the report.

Galgorm site goes up for sale
Some of the family members behind Wrightbus are reportedly selling off two of its premises at its Galgorn site. Its Metallix building is on offer for £1.2m while the composites factory is up for £1.7m, totalling just under £3m.

The Belfast Telegraph reported that the Wright family own the buildings, which were on lease to the company, however Wrights Group noted that it would not be commenting as the buildings do not belong to the company.