Ballymena: Wrightbus workforce “on track to reach 900” in coming months


Ballymena bus maker Wrightbus said it soon had more than 900 employees, two years after being bought out by entrepreneur Jo Bamford.

To mark the anniversary, the company completed The UK Hydrogen Roadshow, a tour of Britain in its world’s first two-stage hydrogen.

He traveled from London to Glasgow in partnership with RYZE Hydrogen and hydrogen production company INEOS, and reached Glasgow ahead of the United Nations climate conference, Cop26.

Mr Bamford bought the famous company two months after it collapsed under administration with debts of around £ 60million and the loss of 1,200 jobs.

The sale marked the end of more than 70 years of ownership in the Wright family.

Since then, the takeover has led to a reconstruction of the company. Its workforce of 56 at the time of purchase is expected to grow to more than 900 in the coming months.

Earlier this year, Bamford Bus Company, the registered company name for the business, reported a pre-tax profit of £ 0.9million in its first full financial report since the 2019 deal. It recorded sales of £ 71.8million for the 15 months to December 2020.

As it marked the completion of the UK Hydrogen Roadshow, the company said much of its growth was due to its zero-emission products. It has launched four zero-emission buses over the past year, starting with its two-stage hydrogen first stage, the Hydroliner.

This breakthrough was followed by its first two-stage EV, the Electroliner. Both buses now also have a single-stage equivalent – the GB Kite Electroliner and the GB Kite Hydroliner.

Wrightbus is now the only British manufacturer to offer four zero-emission buses on the market.

Mr Bamford said: “We are incredibly proud of what has been accomplished in 24 months, and it is in large part thanks to the hard work and determination of the staff at Ballymena who have helped not only to turn the business over. up and running, but to transform it into a profitable, world-leading zero-emission bus manufacturer.

“We play a vital role in decarbonizing the transport sector, creating green jobs as we go and strengthening the economy in Northern Ireland and beyond. We have made great strides in research and innovation to ensure the UK is well positioned to meet its net zero targets.

“The future of the business is incredibly bright – and it’s not something people would have thought possible to say two years ago. We have a very healthy backlog and believe that over the next 12 months we will be increasing production lags to increase our capacity to ensure we can meet demand. “

He said the company now needs to ensure the UK government backs the wider campaign to have thousands of zero emission buses from top to bottom in the UK.

“Completing the UK Hydrogen Roadshow was a great success and we were able to highlight some fantastic hydrogen innovations, but the tour also highlighted the current lack of hydrogen infrastructure across the country – and c ‘is exactly what we need to make sure the industry is able to grow at the pace.

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