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Wrights Group administrators sell building which was occupied by ex-boss Jeff Wright’s Green Pastures Church


Jeff Wright, the Lead Pastor at the Green Pastures Church in Ballymena, Co Antrim. Pic: Stephen Davison.

Jeff Wright, the Lead Pastor at the Green Pastures Church in Ballymena, Co Antrim. Pic: Stephen Davison.

Stephen Davison

Jeff Wright, the Lead Pastor at the Green Pastures Church in Ballymena, Co Antrim. Pic: Stephen Davison.

Administrators for Wrights Group have said a building formerly occupied by ex-company boss Jeff Wright’s Green Pastures Church has now been sold.

Business advisory firm Deloitte, which was appointed to the Ballymena bus giant when it went bust owing £60m in 2019, said in a new report that it will be able to pay off a loan of £2.5m from economic development agency Invest NI.

The loan was made while the company was experiencing trading difficulties.

Deloitte’s report also revealed that law firm Gateley plc was assisting with “ongoing employment tribunals”.

The report said it would not be able to fully repay funds of £38.1m to its old lender, Bank of Ireland.

Deloitte said: “We expect to repay Invest NI in full. We do not expect there to be sufficient asset realisations to enable repayment to Bank of Ireland in full... The level of any payment on the BoI debt is dependent on the outcome of the property disposals.”

Although the brand and assets of Wrightbus were sold to Bamford Bus Company, which is now trading successfully, the administration of the old Wrights Group is continuing.

Deloitte confirmed in the administration progress report filed this week that ex-company premises have now been sold.

Green Pastures, an evangelical church led by former Wrightbus owner Jeff Wright, vacated its building earlier this year to move to a new ‘super church’ in Ballymena.

However, Deloitte would not say who the buyers of the buildings at Fenaghy Road in Ballymena were.

Deloitte said it had sold two freehold properties belonging to Wrightbus, one called ‘the hold office’ and the other called the ‘old logistics’ building. The latter is occupied by Nu-Track, another bus company which is still owned by Jeff Wright.

Meanwhile, Wrights Group had owned the freehold to the church building on Fenaghy Road, which was now sold, the report said.

At the time of the collapse of the company, Jeff Wright drew criticism for up to £15m donations made over six years by its parent company Cornerstone to Green Pastures.

Green Pastures Church has a major following, drawing worshippers from the Catholic and Protestant communities.

Deloitte’s report said Bank of Ireland had operated a £4.5m invoice discounting facility which was now being repaid by Bamford Bus Company Ltd.

But there were scores of other smaller businesses who were also owned money by Wrights Group and four other related businesses when they collapsed. The administrators report said: “A considerable amount of correspondence continues to be received and responded to from unsecured creditors of the companies.”

Over the six months covered in the report, law firm A&L Goodbody had been paid £40,400 for fees and expenses, while another firm, Tughans, was paid £4,700 for other work.

Selling agents CBRE said it had no comment to make on the identity of the buyers.

Other buildings which were not part of the administration process, Wrightbus Composites and Wrightbus Composites, have also been sold by the Wright family.

Selling agents Brian Turtle said the Composites Building was sold to the Northern Health Trust and the Metallix building sold to John Pye Auctions.

Deloitte said it was carrying out investigations as part of its administration, which involved carrying out interviews with senior management and directors. “Our investigations are ongoing, the details of which are sensitive and cannot be disclosed for commerciality reasons.”

The report concludes that “dissolution” of the companies will be the best way to exit the administration.