Belfast Telegraph

Jeff Wright: Deal 'in best interest' of Wrightbus - land 'gifted' to Ballymena people

The owner of the Wrightbus factory site Jeff Wright has said a deal which has been reached in principle with industrialist Jo Bamford is in the best interests of the company.

Speaking on Friday, Mr Wright said the deal was reached following "intensive overnight negotiations between the two parties"  over the sale of Wrightbus to Ryse Hydrogen.

In a statement, he said: "The outcome of the negotiations involved pragmatism in arriving at an arrangement which is ultimately in the best interests of the long-term sustainability of the bus manufacturing business and jobs in the Ballymena area.

"The two businessmen confirmed that the Wrightbus factory has been saved from liquidation with Jo Bamford as the new owner of the business.

"Mr Bamford’s firm will acquire the entire premises at Galgorm including the factory, fixtures and fittings as well as the associated land.

"Wishing Mr Bamford every success Mr Wright confirmed that he had gifted 40 acres of family owned farmland to Mid and East Antrim Council by way of a legacy for the people of Ballymena in recognition of their contribution over 70 years to the service of Wrightbus.

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"This legacy gift is a tribute not only to my father, his father before him, the Wright family members but most importantly the generations of workers who helped build a proud manufacturing tradition in Ballymena. It is my true wish to see this legacy used for the purposes of expanding manufacturing and benefiting my local community.

"Mid and East Antrim Borough Council have ambitious manufacturing plans, led by Council Chief Executive Anne Donaghy, for Ballymena, and the Wrightbus legacy lands could be used for a landmark project to grow jobs and industry.

"I believe this use of the Wrightbus legacy land would send a clear message to Northern Ireland and beyond that Ballymena has a strong future in advanced manufacturing.

Wrightbus workers celebrate as news breaks that a deal was reached 'in principle' for Wrightbus sale
Wrightbus workers celebrate as news breaks that a deal was reached 'in principle' for Wrightbus sale
Pacemaker Press 10/10/19 Wrightbus workers celebrate as news breaks that a Deal was reached 'in principle' for Wrightbus sale. Bidder Jo Bamford said agreement had been reached with "the Wright family for the Wrightbus factory and land". "We are still to conclude a deal with the administrators but are pleased to report this important step in the right direction. "I would like to thank Ian Paisley for his hard work and diligence in helping to mediate what has at times been a tricky negotiation." Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Happiness at Ballymena as news breaks a deal has been reached between Jo Bamford and Wrightbus
11th October 2019 Happiness at Ballymena as Union reps deliver the news that a deal to save Wrightbus has been accepted. Union reps pictured as they receive word that the deal has been done to save the factory Mandatory Credit Presseye/Stephen Hamilton
11th October 2019 Happiness at Ballymena as Union reps deliver the news that a deal to save Wrightbus has been accepted. Union reps pictured as they receive word that the deal has been done to save the factory Mandatory Credit Presseye/Stephen Hamilton
11th October 2019 Happiness at Ballymena as Union reps deliver the news that a deal to save Wrightbus has been accepted. Mandatory Credit Presseye/Stephen Hamilton
11th October 2019 Happiness at Ballymena as Union reps deliver the news that a deal to save Wrightbus has been accepted. Mandatory Credit Presseye/Stephen Hamilton
11th October 2019 Happiness at Ballymena as Union reps deliver the news that a deal to save Wrightbus has been accepted. Mandatory Credit Presseye/Stephen Hamilton
11th October 2019 Happiness at Ballymena as Union reps deliver the news that a deal to save Wrightbus has been accepted. Mandatory Credit Presseye/Stephen Hamilton
11th October 2019 Happiness at Ballymena as Union reps deliver the news that a deal to save Wrightbus has been accepted. Mandatory Credit Presseye/Stephen Hamilton
11th October 2019 Happiness at Ballymena as Union reps deliver the news that a deal to save Wrightbus has been accepted. Mandatory Credit Presseye/Stephen Hamilton
11th October 2019 Happiness at Ballymena as Union reps deliver the news that a deal to save Wrightbus has been accepted. Mandatory Credit Presseye/Stephen Hamilton
11th October 2019 Happiness at Ballymena as Union reps deliver the news that a deal to save Wrightbus has been accepted. Mandatory Credit Presseye/Stephen Hamilton
11th October 2019 Happiness at Ballymena as Union reps deliver the news that a deal to save Wrightbus has been accepted. Mandatory Credit Presseye/Stephen Hamilton
11th October 2019 Happiness at Ballymena as Union reps deliver the news that a deal to save Wrightbus has been accepted. Mandatory Credit Presseye/Stephen Hamilton
11th October 2019 Happiness at Ballymena as Union reps deliver the news that a deal to save Wrightbus has been accepted. Mandatory Credit Presseye/Stephen Hamilton
11th October 2019 Happiness at Ballymena as Union reps deliver the news that a deal to save Wrightbus has been accepted. Mandatory Credit Presseye/Stephen Hamilton
11th October 2019 Happiness at Ballymena as Union reps deliver the news that a deal to save Wrightbus has been accepted. Mandatory Credit Presseye/Stephen Hamilton
11th October 2019 Happiness at Ballymena as Union reps deliver the news that a deal to save Wrightbus has been accepted. Union rep George Brash delivers the good news to waiting workers outside the factory. Mandatory Credit Presseye/Stephen Hamilton
11th October 2019 Happiness at Ballymena as Union reps deliver the news that a deal to save Wrightbus has been accepted. Union rep George Brash delivers the good news to waiting workers outside the factory. Mandatory Credit Presseye/Stephen Hamilton
11th October 2019 Happiness at Ballymena as Union reps deliver the news that a deal to save Wrightbus has been accepted. Mandatory Credit Presseye/Stephen Hamilton
11th October 2019 Happiness at Ballymena as Union reps deliver the news that a deal to save Wrightbus has been accepted. Mandatory Credit Presseye/Stephen Hamilton
11th October 2019 Happiness at Ballymena as Union reps deliver the news that a deal to save Wrightbus has been accepted. Union rep George Brash delivers the good news to waiting workers outside the factory. Mandatory Credit Presseye/Stephen Hamilton
11th October 2019 Happiness at Ballymena as Union reps deliver the news that a deal to save Wrightbus has been accepted. Mandatory Credit Presseye/Stephen Hamilton
11th October 2019 Happiness at Ballymena as Union reps deliver the news that a deal to save Wrightbus has been accepted. Union rep George Brash delivers the good news to waiting workers outside the factory. Mandatory Credit Presseye/Stephen Hamilton

"Council is in ongoing negotiations with Queen’s University in terms of research and development support, and the site will be proposed to form a key asset in the Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre (AMIC) project which is part of Belfast Region City Deal and also part of Council’s advanced manufacturing ecosystem vision.

"The proposed transformation of the lands into manufacturing space will be driven by the council. The council is now engaged in carrying out due diligence and final council approval."

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