Wrightbus wins £41m contract

BALLYMENA bus manufacturer, Wrightbus has secured a significant three year contract to supply 550 Double Deck bus kits to SBS Transit for local assembly in Singapore.

The new order, worth some £41million, secures Wrightbus, along with chassis partner Volvo, as the primary suppliers of double-deck buses to meet SBS Transits new vehicle requirements into 2015.

The project draws upon Wrightbus’ design and logistics capabilities to produce and package completely knocked down (CKD) kits in Ballymena, which are then shipped to Singapore, with local assembly workers trained and supported by Wrightbus personnel from Ballymena.

Designed to meet the specific requirements of the local climate and high capacity transport demands of the City State, the 12m long, fully air-conditioned low emission Wrightbus Gemini 2 Double Deck buses are built on Volvo B9TL tri-axle chassis, featuring environmentally-enhanced Euro V engines.

Mr Gan Juay Kiat, Chief Executive Officer of SBS Transit said “Our buses ferry more than 2.6 million commuters to work and school every day. With the new buses, we hope we can make those journeys that little bit more comfortable for our commuters.”

Business Development Director for the Wright Group, Mr Steve Harper, said: “We’re delighted to have secured this important repeat order with SBS Transit along with our double-deck partners Volvo Bus.

“SBS Transit is a leading transit operator with a global presence and we are again honoured to be chosen by SBST to provide world class vehicles tailored to Singapore’s demanding operations.”

Commenting on the significance and scale of the contract, Group Managing Director, Mark Nodder said: “This contract rewards the Wright Group’s continual investment in innovation, and the determination of our company to become global leaders in bus design.

“I would like to thank the team involved in the project for their hard work in winning this huge multi-year contract in the face of global competition. I also acknowledge the support of the DETI Minister Arlene Foster and Invest Northern Ireland

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in the development of the vehicle concept which is enabling our export growth.”

Congratulating Wrightbus, Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster said: “This is a substantial contract for one of Northern Ireland’s most innovative manufacturing firms and secures Wrightbus as the primary suppliers of double-deck buses for SBS Transit into 2015.

“The company undertook a research and development project with the support of Invest Northern Ireland, to develop a new knocked down (CKD) kit. 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.

“The Wright Group’s continuing success in winning contracts reflects the company’s focus on innovation and export marketing which has resulted in it becoming a significant player across a range of international market,” she said.

Ballymena Mayor, Ald P.J. McAvoy stated: “We, in Ballymena, are immensely proud of Wrightbus and this new contract is evidence of the hard work by the Wrightbus team. This is a company of global significance and despite the recession worldwide Wrightbus still impact greatly as one of the industries global leaders’.

The Mayor also added: “We recognise the job creation, the investment and the technical skills the company has given to our local people and the can-do attitude displayed by the Wrightbus group makes them one of the most professional global companies and we are delighted they are based here in the heart of Ballymena.

“This announcement follows on from the significant remarks by London Lord Mayor Boris Johnson that could see more additional buses for London made by Wrightbus. I congratulate all the Wrightbus team for this significant achievement in Singapore, which I know we can all celebrate”.

MP for North Antrim, Ian Paisley Jr. described the latest contract win as “another phenomenal success” for Wrightbus and one which, he said, represented a “massive achievement” for both industry and employment in Ballymena

“To receive such a lucrative multi-million pound contract from Singapore is testament to the highly skilled workforce in Wrightbus and their constant efforts displayed throughout the years. The reward will be job security for many of the firm’s staff in years to come,” said Mr Paisley.

“Wrightbus represent all that is great about our manufacturing industry in Ballymena and Northern Ireland and I wish them every possible success for the future,” he added.

North Antrim UUP MLA Robin Swann said: “This is great news for Ballymena, North Antrim and, indeed, Northern Ireland plc, and comes less than a month after the Mayor of London Boris Johnson described the Wrightbus prototype of a new bus for London as a piece of “world class technology.

“Wrightbus are a prime example of how Northern Ireland indigenous manufacturing industry can compete on the world stage and win export contracts. I would like to congratulate the management and workforce at the Galgorm plant and to wish them every success in the future.”

Also commenting on the latest order from Singapore for Wrightbus, TUV MLA Jim Allister said: “Congratulating Wrightbus has become an occupational pleasure, as the firm moves from one success to another. Wrightbus is a beacon of hope in what is too often a sea of economic downturn in Northern Ireland. Its continuing success, and this latest large order, is further tribute to the excellence of its product, its management and its workforce. It is the gold standard of each that earns it such success and happily brings to North Antrim stable employment. This area has much to be thankful for in the vision and commitment of Wrightbus”.