Northern Ireland

New Wrightbus owner to recruit within weeks

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Media captionWorkers at the troubled bus manufacturer Wrightbus celebrated earlier this month after a deal for its sale was agreed

The new owner of bus manufacturer Wrightbus has said recruitment will start in the coming weeks.

Bamford Bus Company, owned by English industrialist Jo Bamford, has now formally acquired the Ballymena firm after the sales process completed.

The business was placed into administration and put up for sale last month, with about 1,200 losing their jobs.

The 60 staff retained by administrators Deloitte have transferred to Bamford.

Bamford said Wrightbus' new management team would focus on stabilising and rebuilding the business.

Deloitte said Bamford was currently determining the size and composition of the workforce required.

"Wrightbus is a proud family business which is part of the fabric of NI life and business," Mr Bamford said.

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Image caption Wrightbus workers hug on hearing news of a deal earlier in the month

Earlier this month, Mr Bamford said agreement had been reached with "the Wright family for the Wrightbus factory and land".

Mr Bamford, the son of JCB chairman Lord Bamford, will serve as Wrightbus' executive chairman.

'World-class calibre'

Buta Atwal, a former senior JCB executive, has been appointed chief executive.

Mr Atwal said that as bus transport looks to decarbonise, there was growing demand for market leaders in this field.

"We must now focus on that opportunity and work hard as a team to move forward and rebuild this great business," Mr Atwal said.

"Recruitment will begin over the coming weeks and we are very excited about the prospect of recruiting a world-class calibre of people to the business."

North Antrim MP Ian Paisley said the sale completion was a new chapter for the industry.

"I am delighted that a recruitment company has now been tasked to commence recruitment of experts and engineers," he said.

"I believe a world-class group of engineers will now be able to prove their skills with this new company."

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