The formal sale of Wrightbus to industrialist Jo Bamford has been concluded.
The Ballymena operation, famous for building London buses, was placed into administration last month with the loss of 1,200 jobs.
English industrialist Jo Bamford announced last Friday (October 11) that he had agreed a deal in principle to buy the factory and associated lands from former business owner Jeff Wright.
A dispute over the sale of those assets had been a sticking point preventing an overall purchase of the business.
Mr Bamford and Mr Wright were at loggerheads over the asset sale, a stand-off that had put the sale of the Wrightbus operation in jeopardy.
But administrator Deloitte has today confirmed that Bamford Bus Company Ltd has agreed to buy the business and assets related to the former Wrightbus business.
Michael Magnay and Peter Allen of Deloitte were last month appointed as joint administrators to Wrights Group Limited, Wrightbus Limited, Wright En-Drive Limited, Wright Composites Limited and Metallix Limited.
Bamford Bus Company has agreed a deal to buy the business and assets of Wrights Group Limited, Wrightbus Limited, Wright En-Drive Limited and Metallix Limited. The deal also includes an option to acquire the international division of Wright Group Limited. The full terms of the deal have not been disclosed.
Bamford Bus Company is currently determining the size and composition of the workforce required for its future plans, but the 60 staff retained by the joint administrators have transferred to Bamford Bus Company.
In a separate deal, Jans Composites Limited has also agreed the purchase of Wright Composites Limited for an undisclosed sum. Three staff members who were retained by the joint administrators have transferred with the business. The purchaser is currently determining the size and the composition of the workforce it requires going forward.
Mr Allen, joint administrator said: “We are delighted to have reached a deal with Bamford Bus Company to secure the future of the business in Ballymena. After making extensive efforts to find a buyer, we are confident the new owner represents a bright future for a key employer in Northern Ireland.”
North Amtrim MP Ian Paisley has said he is “delighted” the contract process for the formal sale of Wrightbus to Jo Bamford has now been completed.
“This is a new chapter for industry today,” he said.
“I am delighted that a recruitment company has now been tasked to commence recruitment of experts and engineers. I believe a world class group of engineers will now be able to prove their skills with this new company.
“I would urge people to follow the recruitment process closely and invest their skills into this company. This is a huge opportunity for NI industry and commerce and nothing must be put in its place to hinder it.”
Mr Paisley added: “I will be meeting with the Prime Minister, the Northern Ireland secretary, the Business secretary and with the chief Execuitive of Translink to ensure that no impediment is in the way of success for this company.”