Saturday 14 September 2019 10:33 am

Wrightbus in rescue talks as 1,400 jobs at risk

London bus maker Wrightbus will hold talks with Irish transport executive Darren Donnelly this weekend in a bid to avoid administration.

Donnelly is the leading contender to acquire Wrightbus, according to Sky News, but the bus maker could be forced to appoint administrators if a rescue deal is not concluded by next week.

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The Northern Ireland-based company was commissioned by Boris Johnson during his tenure as London mayor and employs 1,400 people and supplies buses to Transport for London.

It comes just seven weeks after Johnson said the government would do “everything we can” to salvage the firm’s future.

He told the House of Commons: “It was of great value to the people of this country and I think it’s a great company and we will make sure, I give my assurance, we will do everything we can to ensure the future of that great UK company.”

It is unknown whether the government has any role in the rescue talks.

Discussions between Donnelly and Wrightbus have ramped up with hopes of a takeover from a subsidiary of Chinese company Shandong Heavy Industry fading.

Other bidders have also walked away from table this week, Sky News claims.

Donnelly is the former co-chairman and shareholder in Retlan Group, which manufactures articulated trucks and was sold to CIMC Vehicles three years ago.

Wrightbus hired Deloitte in July to help find a potential buyer, following huge losses.

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It is currently running to around £15m and is in need of a £30m injection, reports say.

Wright Group and Donnelly did not immediately respond to request for comment.