Ballymena bus manufacturer Wrights Group announces turnover of £264m

Bus manufacturer Wrights Group reported an annual turnover of almost £11 million last year

CO ANTRIM bus manufacturer

The Ballymena firm, which employs over 1,800 people worldwide, has recorded turnover of £264.4 million for the year ending December 31, a fall of 4 per cent on the 2015 figure (£276.1 million). Profit before tax also fell by £1 million ( 9 per cent) to £10.7 million.

In the strategic report accompanying the accounts chairman Mark Nodder said the Group "continued to perform well" in both domestic and international markets, "despite economic uncertainty and fluctuations in exchange rates".

He also acknowledged a slow down in demand for new vehicles in British provincial cities ahead of possible changes to bus regulation in England and Wales, but noted an increase in London orders.

In terms of the international business the company's Malaysian assembly facility is now operational, while in India a working partnership with German multinational Daimler is now in full production.

In relation to staff the Group, which employs around 1,200 in Ballymena, has grown overall numbers from 1,741 to 1,861 over the year.

Mr Nodder described the Group is a "market leader" in clean bus technology, which invested £6.5 million last year in research and development in relation to low and zero emission buses. He also highlighted last November's launch of the world's first hydrogen powered double decker bus.

Looking to the future the chairman has said the group will continue to focus on improving its cost-competitiveness and production efficiency at all its manufacturing sites.

"The Group's vision is to shape the future of public transport systems throughout the world, and we aim to do this through excellence in quality, design and innovation. We continue to invest in our people, our culture is underpinned by our ethical values, and we share a wider belief that our business can make a positive difference to people's lives," he added.

Wrights Group makes buses for customers across the world and has facilities as far away as Singapore and India.

Earlier this year subsidiary Wrightbus announced plans for expansion of its Ballymena operations.

The firm has filed plans to build a 200,000 sq ft industrial complex, 600-space car park and 75 two-storey residential houses next to its current facility in the Galgorm area of the town as it states it has outgrown the present site.

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