Wrightbus secures £26 million green transport development funding

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UK Export Finance-backed funding will enable Wrightbus to open up the supply of the world’s first hydrogen-powered double-decker to new markets worldwide

UK Export Finance (UKEF) is providing Wrightbus with an 80% Government-backed guarantee on an £18 million Green Trade Loan and £8 million Green Bank Guarantee, allowing it to export its zero-emission buses to new export markets.

Based in Ballymena, Wrightbus introduced the world’s first hydrogen-powered double deck bus in 2020 and is aiming to manufacture 3,000 zero-emission hydrogen and battery-electric buses by 2024, making up 10% of the UK’s total fleet. However, the production of zero-emission vehicles is a capital-intensive process and Wrightbus needed to bridge the gap from the warehouse to road-ready. With orders of over 200 buses from customers such as the National Transport Authority in the Republic of Ireland, support from UKEF and Barclays has enabled Wrightbus to scale up production to meet demand.

The manufacturer is seeking to expand its export operations globally, with sights set on Italy, France, Spain and South-East Asia. The business hopes to grow exports to over 40% of turnover as demand increases globally, and says it will also look to create 300 further jobs to support its growth ambitions, bolstering local jobs in the region.

Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch MP said: “It’s fantastic to see Great British companies like Wrightbus take full advantage of the opportunities exporting opens up. By expanding into new markets, building on wins secured from our UK-Australia trade deal, and this new UKEF-backed support, they are driving growth and creating high-skilled green jobs in Northern Ireland.

“I am proud the Government is supporting British firms to go further, exporting their cutting-edge clean technology to new markets, cutting emissions and boosting jobs across the United Kingdom.”

Wrightbus Chief Commercial Officer Ben Werth added: “At Wrightbus, we are entering the next stage of our ambitious growth plan, significantly growing our export volume from our UK base and becoming one of the leading battery-electric and hydrogen bus manufacturers in Europe. UKEF’s support will strongly help us on our future global growth path.”

Richard Lowe, Head of UK Large Corporate at Barclays Corporate Banking, commented: “Wrightbus continues to drive the net-zero agenda in the public transport sector and we are pleased to play a part in its significant ambitions to export this expertise. Barclays is committed to supporting businesses with a strong environmental focus and is pleased to provide financing solutions to deliver the rapid growth of this NI-headquartered manufacturer.”

Wrightbus has already secured export contracts to Australia and Germany, and has its sights set on expansion into Italy, France, Spain and South-East Asia. WRIGHTBUS