Bamford Buys Famous Bus Company

By Ian Cameron01 November 2019

A company owned by Jo Bamford, son of JCB chairman Lord Bamford, has acquired Wrightbus, the Northern Ireland bus manufacturer based in Ballymena.

Bamford Bus Company has bought Wrightbus which is regarded as one of Europe’s leading passenger transport businesses and is the maker of the famous London red Routemaster double decker bus.

Bamford Bus Company is wholly owned by Jo Bamford, who left family business JCB in 2016 where he was latterly managing director of Global Accounts and is also the founder and executive chairman of Ryse Hydrogen, a company that delivers “green” hydrogen to heavy duty transport.

Bamford will serve as executive chairman of Wrightbus and former JCB executive Buta Atwal becomes chief executive. Atwal brings expertise in leading projects, sales and distribution networks, product design and development, Bamford Bus Company said. His experience includes managing the operations of a number of JCB’s major factories.

The new management team will be focused on stabilising the business, using their expertise and experience to rebuild the business and recruitment will commence over the next few weeks to continue to promote the Wrightbus brand across the world, the company said.

Jo Bamford said: “Wrightbus is a proud family business which is part of the fabric of Northern Ireland life and business. I am delighted to acquire such an established and respected brand. We can now start to look to the future and build on the excellent work that Sir William Wright and his family have done to develop the Wrightbus business.

We will now begin speaking with customers and suppliers over the coming weeks in order to take a closer look at the financial situation that Wrightbus faces in order to build a viable and sustainable business.”

Buta Atwal said: “As bus transportation looks to decarbonise, there is growing demand for market leaders in this field. Wrightbus has the potential to lead the way in this area given its track record in manufacturing state of the art zero emission hydrogen buses as well as electric and hybrid models. We must now focus on that opportunity and work hard as a team to move forward and rebuild this great business. Recruitment will begin over the coming weeks and we are very excited about the prospect of recruiting a world class calibre of people to the business.”

Pictured is Jo Bamford

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