Wrightbus in talks with several potential investors

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Northern Ireland bus-manufacturer Wrightbus has confirmed it in talks with a number of potential investors, amid reports the firm is facing financial woes.

The Ballymena-based company – which employs around 1,400 staff in NI – announced last month that it had appointed financial advisors Deloitte to find new investors.

In a statement to the News Letter on Thursday, the firm said it progressed onto the next stage of discussions a number of “interested parties”.

A spokesperson for Wrightbus added: “The board will be reviewing these proposals in the coming days and is working night and day to retain jobs in Ballymena to ensure long-term growth for Wrightbus, our supply chain and the wider community.”

The company would not be drawn on speculation that a fresh round of redundancies could be imminent if it fails to find an investor.

The firm has already been forced into making job cuts, with two rounds of redundancies last year which saw just under 200 lay offs.

At the time it said the move came against the backdrop of continuing low levels of demand in the UK bus market.

Wrightbus has been a hugely profitable company in the past and based its business model on producing low-emissions vehicles.

When Boris Johnson was mayor of London he announced a lucrative order to produce the capital’s latest fleet of buses.

Sir William Wright, who founded the company with his father in 1946, was knighted in last year’s new year’s honours list for services to the bus industry and the UK economy