Wrightbus in administration

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Details of the Wrightbus sale continue to change every few days, with Jo Bamford of Ryse Hydrogen becoming the latest to consider taking on the company

The ongoing sale of Wrightbus has taken a further twist with Sky News, and subsequently the BBC, reporting that Northern Irish businessman Darren Donnelly had confirmed he had made a bid for the company, but just two days later the same source reported his spokesman as saying: “Whilst discussions had been ongoing over the past number of weeks, Mr Donnelly has confirmed that he has withdrawn from the process and is no longer pursuing the potential purchase of the Wrightbus company.” Reports in the Belfast Telegraph suggest that the son of the Chairman of JCB might be interested in buying at least part of the business. Mr Bamford’s Ryse Hydrogen business has previously worked with Wrightbus supplying hydrogen buses to London. Sources quoted by the Daily Telegraph said that Mr Donnelly’s earlier plan for the business would have involved around half of the workforce of 1,400 losing their jobs, though it is not clear how many jobs would be preserved under Mr Bamford’s proposal. Weichai is also still in talks, said the Belfast Telegraph, which also reported that commercial property agent OKT has said that two Wrightbus industrial properties remain on the market after members of the family behind Wrightbus put the premises on the business’s Galgorm site on the market last month. The Metallix building is on the market for £1.2m, while the composites factory has an asking price of £1.7m, the newspaper reported.

The Belfast Newsletter reported that Wrightbus shared the following message with its employees towards the end of last week: “We have an update for you all today and as we have done throughout, are seeking to keep you informed at each stage of this process.

“We want to assure you that this is hopefully good news for everyone. We are now in a race to complete a final deal with credible bidders. In these bids it is envisaged that employment contracts will be TUPE’d across to the new owner and your length of service will be preserved. You will continue to be paid as normal and once this stage is complete, the new owner will take over all business operations.

“This ongoing business and its employees are our number one priority and we are confident that a positive outcome can be delivered over the next few days. We will be in a position to update you next week regarding next steps.”