Northern Ireland

Wrightbus: NI businessman Darren Donnelly confirms bid

Wrightbus
Image caption Wrightbus is one of Ballymena's largest employers

Northern Ireland businessman Darren Donnelly has confirmed he is attempting to buy Ballymena bus manufacturer Wrightbus.

The bus firm is up for sale amid financial problems. A spokesman for Mr Donnelly said discussions with the company were ongoing.

Wrightbus is a major employer, with about 1,400 staff in Northern Ireland.

In 2016, Mr Donnelly and his father sold their main business, SDC Trailers, for almost £100m.

Wrightbus confirmed in July that it was seeking an investor as it faces cashflow problems.

Management apologised to staff saying the news had been "leaked" to the media.

Latest accounts show Wrightbus made a pre-tax profit of about £5m on turnover of more than £181m in 2017.

But its financial situation has deteriorated since then.

It made two rounds of redundancies last year with 95 jobs going in February and June - which it said reflected continued low levels of demand for new buses in the UK market.

At the time it said this reflected continued low levels of demand for new buses in the UK market.

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