Wrights wins £2.5m grant as steps up export drive

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Wrights Group has won 2.5m government funding for research and development (R&D) projects, to which the Ballymena firm is adding 14.3m of its own investment. .

It is part of a plan to target the Indian, Asian and Australasian markets, and triple exports in four years.

Government-backed Invest NI is giving Wrights 1.8m of support for its R&D projects, part funded by the European Regional Development Fund under the Sustainable Competitiveness Programme for Northern Ireland, towards the company’s total investment of 8.7m.

Invest NI is also supplying Wrights with 650,000 of support through its Jobs Fund for 130 new jobs, towards the company’s total investment of 5.5m. The new jobs are being created in Wright EN-Drive, the company’s dedicated facility for the design and manufacture of integral vehicle chassis.

The 16.8m investment is into five R&D projects:

  • Developing a range of low-cost premium-class buses and coaches for the Indian market
  • Low height and narrower double-deckers for the Australia/New Zealand market
  • Electric-powered, zero-emission single and double-deck vehicles for the Hong Kong market
  • Double-deck and single-deck buses to meet the operational requirements in Middle East countries
  • A new integral chassis.

Announcing the grant, Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster [pictured] said: “Wrights Group is one of our most successful indigenous manufacturing companies.

“The company has high growth potential and is also strategically important to the Northern Ireland supply chain.”

Mark Nodder, Group Managing Director of Wrights Group, says: “Our aim is to become a world class designer and manufacturer of integral public transport vehicles and evolve into a major international supplier to the worldwide bus market.

“With Invest NI’s support we will be able to bring products to market quickly, and we anticipate that within four years we can triple export sales.”

Wrights Group Ltd consists of Wrightbus Ltd, Wrightbus International Ltd, Wright Composites Ltd, Wright CustomCare, Metallix Ltd and Wright En Drive Ltd.