A deal to rescue troubled Ballymena firm Wrightbus has been formally signed off.
The bus manufacturer fell into administration last month putting 1,200 people out of work.
Two weeks ago an agreement was made ‘in principal’ between businessman Joe Bamford and Wrightbus owner Jeff Wright.
A statement from administrators Deloitte today said:
Bamford Bus Company has agreed a deal to buy 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. The full terms of the deal have not been disclosed.
Bamford Bus Company is currently determining the size and composition of the workforce required for its future plans, but the 60 staff retained by the joint administrators have transferred to Bamford Bus Company.
In a separate deal, Jans Composites Limited has also agreed the purchase of Wright Composites Limited for an undisclosed sum. Three staff members who were retained by the joint administrators, have transferred with the business. The purchaser is currently determining the size and the composition of the workforce it requires going forward.
Peter Allen, joint administrator said,
“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.”
Collectively the former Wrightbus companies were involved in the design and manufacture of buses and associated parts for the global market, including for the UK and Republic of Ireland. Established in 1946, the business is headquartered in Ballymena in County Antrim, Northern Ireland.
Ian Paisley MP for North Antrim today welcomed the conclusion of contract process today and the formal sale of Wrightbus to Jo Bamford.
The DUP MP said,
"This is a new chapter for industry today. I am delighted that a recruitment company has now been tasked to commence recruitment of experts and engineers. I believe a world class group of engineers will now be able to prove their skills with this new company.
I would urge people to follow the recruitment process closely and invest their skills into this company. This is a huge opportunity for NI industry and commerce and nothing must be put in its place to hinder it.
I will be meeting with the PM, the NI secretary, the Business secretary and with the chief Executive of Translink to ensure that no impediment is in the way of success for this company."