HAVING congratulated Boris Johnston upon becoming Tory party leader and PM, North Antrim MLA and UUP leader Mr Robin Swann, has called on him; “to act immediately and guarantee the future economic stability of Ballymena-based firm Wrightbus”.
Mr Swann’s plea came after a Sky News report has revealed that the Ballymena based Wright Group, employing about 1,400 people, many from the Ballymoney area, has called in professional services firm Deloitte to advise it on talks with prospective investors.
Sky News, reported on Tuesday that: “A number of turnaround funds have been approached to canvas their interest in ploughing tens of millions of pounds into the family-owned company, City insiders said on Tuesday.
“The status of talks with potential bidders was unclear, although a source close to the process insisted that Deloitte was working on "restructuring" options.
The report continued: “Annualised losses are currently running to approximately £15m, and the company may need a capital injection of at least £30m, the source said, although Wright Group's most recent accounts recorded a pre-tax profit of about £1.5m, down from £10.7m in 2016.”
Mr Swann said: “It would be totally devastating for the North Antrim economy if we were to lose Wrightbus, given the number of people from the constituency who are employed directly or indirectly at the firm.
“This is exceptionally worrying news about the company as Wrightbus in Ballymena has been a valued employer and following the loss of Michelin and JTI, this would be another massive body blow to the North Antrim economy.
“This situation needs urgent action. Boris Johnston, during his time as London Mayor, knows the quality of Wrightbus’ work. As he takes over the reins in 10 Downing Street, I urge him to do all he can as Prime Minister to ensure that Wrightbus remains in business for the sake of the employees,” said Assemblyman Swann.