Wrightbus: Growing concerns for future of Galgorm company

THERE are growing concerns tonight for the future of Wrightbus in Galgorm with a reported stalling of negotiations with potential buyers.

The company, which employs 1,400, is up for sale amid mounting financial problems.

North Antrim DUP MP, Ian Paisley, said he understands that talks between the firm and two potential buyers failed to reach a conclusion on Friday.

Wrightbus said it is still “working hard to ensure the long-term future of the company and its workforce,” the BBC reported.

Mr Paisley said it was his understanding that negotiations for a potential buyout would continue.

“It has been expressed to me that there is great frustration that they haven’t been able to seal a deal,” he said.

“It appears to be one of those moments when everything is very close, but yet so far.”

North Antrim MLA and Ulster Unionist Party leader Robin Swann said: “This is unsettling and unnerving times for the employees and wider North Antrim area, there is still life in the current process and it is in no way complete.

“I am hopeful that the start of next week will see positive progress for what is a mainstay of employment and manufacturing in Ballymena.”

A Chinese engineering group and a firm led by industrialist Jo Bamford had been in talks with Wrightbus.

Earlier this week, Northern Ireland industrialist Darren Donnelly pulled out a potential deal with the company.

Latest accounts show Wrightbus made a pre-tax profit of about £5m on turnover of more than £181m in 2017.

But its financial situation has deteriorated since then.

It made two rounds of redundancies last year with 95 jobs going in February and June, which it said reflected continued low levels of demand for new buses in the UK market.

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