Business

Profits treble at Ballymena bus maker Wrights Group

William Wright, owner of Wrightbus which saw profits treble last year

BUS maker Wrights Group saw profits more than treble in 2014 to £11.56 million after tax following an extended trading year

The Ballymena-based firm said its focus on becoming an integrated bus manufacturer "underpinned a substantial financial performance".

Annual accounts filed at Companies House showed turnover in the 15 months to December 2014 was £297.13m - up 32.9 per cent on the £178.9m figure for the 12 months to September 2013.

Directors said it hoped to strengthen its business relationships across UK and Europe and in international markets with partners Volvo and Daimler.

"The outlook for 2015 is positive with a strong order book in the UK, and whilst the international business, where we are dealing with start-ups in two new jurisdictions, is challenging, nonetheless we remain on course to deliver the strategic objective of broadening the international base of our business".

The company has won major orders in Britain in recent years including to supply 800 so-called Boris buses to Transport for London.

Meanwhile, it has identified a niche in Asian markets such as Singapore, Hong Kong and India.

The company increased its workforce over the period to an average 1,552 from 1,369.

During the year, the firm paid £3.5m in dividends to parent company Cornerstone Group "to fund its commitment to Christian, evangelical and other charitable activities".

The Cornerstone Group's accounts detail total charitable donations of £4.4m over the same 15-month period "given the strong financial performance of the group".

It donated £742,475 in the year to September 2014.

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