Local entrepreneur could rescue Wrightbus

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The future of Wrightbus has been uncertain since July this year, but a potential buyer could now be on the horizon

As CBW went to press, details were beginning to emerge that a major Northern Irish businessman was looking to purchase Wrightbus as a going concern.

A recent Wrightbus Gemini 3 for Transdev Yorkshire Coastliner departs York. RICHARD SHARMAN

Wrightbus, which employs 1,400 people at its Ballymena factory, has been seeking a solution to secure the future of the company since July this year.

Media speculation over the last few days said that Wrightbus could fall into administration as early as this week if a deal could not be found.

However, a Wrightbus spokeswoman told the Belfast News Letter that “Wrightbus is confident about the future of the company” and that “it is in the process of reviewing final bids from investors with a view to progressing towards completing a deal.”

Belfast News Letter reported that Northern Irish businessman Darren Donnelly has confirmed he is trying to buy the company. A spokesman for Mr Donnelly told a BBC reporter on Saturday 14 September “discussions with Wrightbus were ongoing”.

Prospective buyer Mr Donnelly and his father sold their main business, SDC Trailers, for almost £100m in 2016.

Wrightbus revealed in July that it had hired Deloitte, after a financial downturn, so that it could court potential investors. Since then interest from BYD and Weichai has been confirmed. However, it is thought that these talks may be fading, so talks with Mr Donnelly have accelerated to ensure that a deal can be done to save Wrightbus from falling into administration.