Wrightbus secures £30m deal

BALLYMENA coachbuilders Wrightbus have secured a multi-million pound order for 179 buses.

The order, thought to be worth an estimated £30m, has been placed by leading UK bus and rail operator FirstGroup, as part of a £76m total order for 464 buses.

Wright Group Managing Director Mark Nodder said he was thrilled with Thursday’s announcement, which was positive news for the local area.

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“There are nearly 1,400 families in Ballymena who are dependent really on the success of this company, so it’s really important when they hear of a new order like this,” he said.

“Last year, we built about 1,000 buses - the previous year, a little bit less. Next year, we hope to build about 1,000,” Mr Nodder added.

Mr Nodder said the latest order will constitute “something like 20% of our order book for the remainder of this year” and also said the deal was “a huge endorsement” of their product - the StreetLite range of lightweight buses.

Falkirk-based Alexander Dennis Limited will supply the rest of the order, with all the buses due for delivery in the 2013/14 financial year.

According to FirstGroup, a further eight vehicles will also be ordered - but no decision has been taken yet as to the manufacturer.

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