Bus building company Wrights Group is to create 130 jobs in Co Antrim following an investment of more than stg£14m in five research and development projects.
The new jobs will be at the Ballymena-based company’s dedicated facility for the design and manufacture of vehicle chassis.
The R&D projects include the development of 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, and a new integral chassis.
Invest NI has offered stg£1.8m of support for the R&D projects, partly funded by the European Regional Development Fund, and stg£650,000 of support for the 130 jobs through its Jobs Fund.
Mark Nodder, group managing director of Wrights Group, said the company’s 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.
“This investment brings us a step closer to achieving that,” Nodder said. “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.”
Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster said that in the last five years, Wrights Group has undertaken a number of successful R&D projects that have significantly boosted its sales and international profile.
“This investment will further strengthen its product portfolio and its ability to sell into markets around the world,” Foster said.
“The company has high growth potential, as is reflected in the creation of 130 new jobs, which will generate stg£2.5m a year in wages for the local economy. It is also strategically important to the Northern Ireland supply chain.”