Written by: Keith Tully
Published: 26th September 2019
The bus making company that until recently supplied Routemaster buses to Transport for London has been entered into administration.
Wrightbus is based in Northern Ireland and has been one of the area’s biggest employers with a workforce numbering close to 1,400.
Rescue talks had been ongoing between the company’s bosses and potential new owners but those discussions eventually fell through and administrators have now been appointed to the business, which is based in Ballymena in County Antrim.
The company was commissioned to supply distinctively red double-decker buses to transport operators in London when Boris Johnson was Mayor of London.
As a result, Wrightbus’ vehicles came to be known as ‘Boris Buses’ and the now prime minister Boris Johnson had been urged to step in to save the stricken manufacturer.
Speaking to MPs in Westminster several weeks ago, Mr Johnson said: “It [Wrightbus] was of great value to the people of this country and I think it’s a great company and we will make sure, I give my assurance, we will do everything we can to ensure the future of that great UK company.”
A number of potential buyers had been in discussions about a deal to take over the company but no agreement could be reached in time to save what has long been among the most prominent export operations in Northern Ireland.
There are concerns now about what impact the collapse of Wrightbus might have on the local community in which it is based and on the supply chain operations that rely on its custom.
Indeed, there are worries that many more jobs will be lost beyond those at Wrightbus itself as the knock-on effects are felt within the company’s supply chain.
Financial pressures bearing down on Wrightbus led to it carry out two rounds of redundancies last year, with close to 100 jobs going in February and in June 2018.
Having advised the business and its management team through the process of trying to find new owners in recent weeks, Deloitte has now been appointed as Wrightbus’ administrator.
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