The new owner of Ballymena’s Wrightbus has reported pre-tax profits of £900,000 in its first full financial report since buying the business.
The Bamford Bus Company, which purchased the firm in October 2019, also reported sales of £71.8m for the 15 months to the end of December 2020.
The business is led by executive chairman Jo Bamford, whose grandfather founded JCB, and chief executive Buta Atwal.
Around 1,200 jobs were lost when Wrightbus went bust while under the ownership of founders the Wright family in September 2019.
The workforce is now back up to 620, according to the results, while the business has net assets of £1.4m and staff costs of £9.7m.
A strategic report filed with the accounts described the results as satisfactory and in line with expectations, despite prevailing global economic conditions.
It said that after the company was bought production resumed in November 2019, with the new owner “leveraging the acquired intellectual property and proven track record in first-class design and engineering development of the former companies to ensure a smooth transition and [the recruitment of] a skilled workforce”.
The report added: “Despite the impact globally of Covid-19... the company has continued to grow from 50 employees to 620... and has secured a number of significant contracts for zero-emission vehicles, which reflects encouraging growth in the shift to zero emissions, with the company strategically well placed to service the market.”
The firm said it shut down production for three months at the start of the pandemic, with the majority of staff furloughed for all or some of the time.
There was a hit to demand and requests for delivery delays, which affected profitability, but bosses took steps to offset any problems.
The strategic report said that while plans had been put in place to mitigate any impa ct from the Brexit deal, no impairment had been identified.
While the future financial impact from Covid-19 remains unknown, bosses were unable to identify any detrimental impact so far.
The report acknowledged a “tumultuous beginning” for the new owners because of the pandemic but stressed that the Bamford Bus Company was committed to reducing emissions and energy consumption by investing in more efficient lighting.
The company recently unveiled its first rapid-charge electric double-deck bus, the StreetDeck Electroliner.
The wraps were taken off 20 of the £500,000 hydrogen fuel cell vehicles in London last week.
Wrightbus launched its first hydrogen bus last year, teaming up with sister company Ryse Hydrogen Ltd to give customers an end-to-end service.