Wrightbus, Ballymena has signed a partnership deal with Dutch company, VDL Groep to supply London bus operator, Arriva, with 57 buses.
Trade Minister Arlene Foster announced the £11million deal, at VDL Groep’s operation in Eindhoven, in The Netherlands, today, during the largest-ever Northern Ireland trade mission to the country.
Following a tour of the VDL Groep factory, the Minister said: “This partnership deal is a shining example of the successful relationships that the 36 companies, involved in the mission, were aiming to develop.
“This is immensely encouraging news for one of Northern Ireland’s most successful, and still, locally-owned companies, particularly at this time of global economic downturn.
“The achievements of Wrightbus show that companies can achieve growth by diversifying markets, focusing on new product development and by forming strategic partnerships that enable them quickly to access business opportunities as they develop abroad. Wrightbus continues to win substantial business because it is focused on key customers in its target markets.
“This contract also shows that, despite the current difficult economic conditions, local manufacturers in sectors such as engineering can compete, and, above all, succeed in export markets, taking advantage, for instance, of the favourable sterling exchange rate.
“Companies taking part in the mission will be returning to Northern Ireland with a clear message that there are significant business opportunities in The Netherlands for those prepared to invest time on other resources on building partnerships in this important European marketplace.”
Mark Nodder, Group Managing Director of the Wright Group, said: “This significant contract for new buses in London shows what can be achieved when companies with complementary capabilities work closely together.
“Our Dutch partners VDL have joined us in several projects during the past 10 years, and the partnership has grown from strength to strength.”
In addition to VDL, Wright Group buys other bus components from companies in the Netherlands, namely Heavac for heating and air conditioning systems, and Ventura for bus doors.
The Wright Group is the United Kingdom's leading independent supplier of accessible buses for public transportation systems throughout the country. The Wright Group is expanding its product range and customer base to ensure it is well positioned to service the future needs of public transportation throughout the world.
Founded in 1946, and still a family owned and managed company, the Group has pioneered low floor buses in the UK, and has earned a reputation for producing vehicles which are stylish, durable, high in quality and packed with innovative features.
VDL Groep is an international company focused on the development, production and sales of semi-manufactured and finished products. VDL employs 7,500 people and has 75 subsidiaries in 14 countries.
VDL bus and coach division includes coaches, chassis modules, public transport buses, mini & midi buses and second-hand buses.