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Wrightbus secures £41m Singapore deal

Published 14/08/2012

John Mulgrew

BALLYMENA-based family firm Wrightbus has secured a new £41 million deal to supply its double-decker buses to Singapore.

The Co Antrim company will ship 550 vehicles over the next three years - making it the main supplier to the Asian city state's SBS Transit operator until 2015.

Wrightbus group managing director Mark Nodder said the latest contract rewarded the company's "continual investment in innovation and the determination of our company to become global leaders in bus design".

The company will produce and package bus kits in Ballymena.

These will be shipped to Singapore to be assembled by workers trained and supported by Wrightbus staff.

The new 40-foot-long buses have been designed to meet the "requirements of the local climate and high-capacity transport demands of Singapore".

The fully air-conditioned low-emission Wrightbus Gemini 2 double-decker buses are built on a Volvo chassis.

Gan Juay Kiat, head of Singapore's transit system, said the new vehicles would have to deal with ferrying more than 2.6 million people to and from work and school every day.

"With the new buses, we hope we can make those journeys that little bit more comfortable for our commuters," he said.

Wright Group business development director Steve Harper said the company was delighted to have secured the order.

"SBS Transit is a leading transit operator with a global presence and we are again honoured to be chosen by SBS Transit to provide world-class vehicles tailored to Singapore's demanding operations," he said.

The first Wrightbus double-decker bus entered service in Singapore in 2010 and 450 buses have already been sold to SBS Transit. All will be in service by the end of the year.

Last year London mayor Boris Johnson got behind the wheel of one of the company's offerings.

There are already several of the vehicles on the English capital's streets as part of a trial process - with the Co Antrim company hoping for a substantial order down the line.

Enterprise minister Arlene Foster welcomed the Singapore contract for one of the north's "most innovative manufacturing firms".

"The company undertook a research and development project with the support of Invest Northern Ireland to develop a new knocked-down kit," she said.

"This innovative approach has opened up new export markets for the business.

"The firm is clearly reaping the benefits of its continued investment in new product development and cutting-edge design." ■ ON THE DOUBLE: A Wrightbus double-decker bus in operation with SBS Transit in Singapore