UK full-scale bus manufacturer launches balance sheet

Wrightbus, founded in 1946, has "a week to find a buyer" and save the 1,300 jobs threatened by bankruptcy.

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Boris Johnson in front of a Routemaster bus in Hong Kong in 2013.
Boris Johnson in front of a Routemaster bus in Hong Kong in 2013. Tyrone Siu / REUTERS

The two-story red buses, symbols of the city of London, have not made the fortune of their manufacturer. Wrightbus, who supplied the New Routemaster – modern version of the famous double decker bus – during Boris Johnson's mayor term, filed for bankruptcy Wednesday, Sept. 25. The company, founded in 1946 and headquartered in Ballymena, Northern Ireland, is one of the largest employers in the region. According to Unite, 1,300 jobs are at risk, and 3,400 indirect jobs through the manufacturer's supply chain. Northern Ireland Unionist Ian Paisley said the judicial liquidator now "A week to find a buyer".

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Cost overruns and design issues

The firm, which specializes in the production of vehicles with low CO2, faced liquidity problems and has so far failed to find a new investor or buyer. In 2016, it had been awarded a £ 62 million (£ 70 million) contract to produce vehicles for the capital, but quickly accumulated cost overruns and design problems – including poor ventilation. a heat on board, uncomfortable for the passengers.

"We can not afford to lose more jobs or know-how in this region"said Jackie Pollock, Unite union secretary general, calling on Boris Johnson to intervene if no buyer is found. This announcement comes two days after another iconic bankruptcy, that of tour operator Thomas Cook, which employed 9,000 people in the UK. In addition to the competition of travel on the Internet, the tour operator was also victim of Brexit defended by Boris Johnson, because of the reluctance of consumers and the fall of the pound.

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