Wrightbus lands multi-million pound orders for 200 new buses

The Wrightbus site at the former JTI factory.

Wrightbus has announced it has landed two sizeable orders from its customers in Hong Kong.

The deals come days after the group company revealed a collapse in pre-tax profits from £10.7m to £1.5m.

Both orders will be manufactured at the new Wrightbus site formerly owned by tobacco producer JTI.

The buses for KMB will be among the first to be produced and delivered from the revamped facility.

Wrightbus said that Kowloon Motor Bus (KMB) has ordered 150 units and its sister company, LongWin Bus, is taking a further 10.

All are double-decker vehicles with Wrightbus bodywork and Volvo chassis. And the firm said it also received an order for seven buses for New World First Bus (NWFB) and 46 for its sister company City Bus Ltd.

These vehicles are also Wrightbus bodywork with Volvo chassis combination. This brings the total number of bus bodywork orders won by the company in Hong Kong in the last two years to 484 units.

John McLeister, group business and product development director, said: “We are honoured to receive these two new orders from our long-standing customers in Hong Kong. Working closely with our partners Volvo, we have supplied almost 1500 double-deckers for operation in Hong Kong since we shipped the first bus in 2001.

“The Hong Kong double-deckers will be manufactured at our facility in Ballymena and will provide a real boost for our workforce and the local economy.”

Wrightbus International was established as a separate division of the Wrights Group to generate growth in key overseas markets.

North Antrim DUP MP Ian Paisley welcomed news of the multi-million pound order secured by Wrightbus.

He said: “I am delighted and encouraged for Wrightbus and the workforce for achieving this new multi million pound order for Hong Kong.

“The Far East has been a great market for this local company and the order will help sustain the company at a time when we have seen a downturn in national and international bus orders.

“Once again I reiterate my call to Translink and to the U.K. Secretary of State to find some mechanism that will allow Translink to commence an order book with Wrightbus going forward.

“Overseas orders are fantastic news and are a cherry on top in many cases but local and national bus orders are where the big prize rests.”

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