Wrightbus sale to Bamford Bus Company confirmed

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Recruitment will commence over the next few weeks

Bamford Bus Company Limited has agreed to buy the Wrightbus business and assets, administrator Deloitte has confirmed.

Bamford Bus Company has agreed to purchase the business and assets of Wrights Group Limited, Wrightbus Limited, Wright En-Drive Limited and Metallix Limited. The deal also includes an option to acquire the international division of Wright Group Limited, although the full terms of the deal have not been disclosed.

The Wrightbus Streetlite Max

Bamford Bus Company is wholly owned by Jo Bamford, who left family business JCB in 2016 where he was latterly Managing Director of Global Accounts. He is also the Founder and Executive Chairman of Ryse Hydrogen, a company that supplies hydrogen to the transport industry.

Jo will serve as Executive Chairman of Wrightbus, and Buta Atwal will become Chief Executive. Buta’s experience includes managing the operations of a number of JCB’s major factories.

The new management team will be focused on stabilising the business and using their expertise to rebuild the business. Recruitment will commence over the next few weeks.

According to Deloitte, Bamford Bus Company is currently ‘determining the size and composition of the workforce required for its future plans,’ but all 60 staff retained by the joint administrators have transferred to Bamford Bus Company.

In a separate deal, Jans Composites Limited has also agreed to buy Wright Composites Limited for an undisclosed sum.

Three staff members who were retained by the joint administrators have transferred with the business. As with Bamford, Jans Composites is currently determining the size and the composition of the workforce it requires.

Jo Bamford said: “Wrightbus is a proud family business which is part of the fabric of Northern Ireland life and business. I am delighted to acquire such an established and respected brand. We can now start to look to the future and build on the excellent work that Sir William Wright and his family have done to develop the Wrightbus business.

“We will now begin speaking with customers and suppliers over the coming weeks in order to take a closer look at the financial situation that Wrightbus faces in order to build a viable and sustainable business.”

Buta Atwal said: “As bus transportation looks to decarbonise, there is growing demand for market leaders in this field. Wrightbus has the potential to lead the way in this area given its track record in manufacturing state of the art zero emission hydrogen buses as well as electric and hybrid models.

“We must now focus on that opportunity and work hard as a team to move forward and rebuild this great business. Recruitment will begin over the coming weeks and we are very excited about the prospect of recruiting a world class calibre of people to the business.”

Michael Magnay and Peter Allen of Deloitte were last month appointed as joint administrators to Wrights Group Limited, Wrightbus Limited, Wright En-Drive Limited, Wright Composites Limited and Metallix Limited.

Michael commented: “We are delighted to have reached a deal with Bamford Bus Company to secure the future of the business in Ballymena. After making extensive efforts to find a buyer, we are confident the new owner represents a bright future for a key employer in Northern Ireland.”