Northern Ireland

Wrightbus pre-tax profits almost treble

Double-deckers for London Transport
Image caption Wrightbus has been contracted to build 608 double-deckers for London Transport.

Wrightbus, the Ballymena-based bus builder, has reported a near trebling of pre-tax profits for 2012.

The firm made £3.85m on turnover of £157m an improvement in 2011 when it returned £1.32m on turnover of £133m.

The directors said the performance was "satisfactory", showing "reasonable growth in most business sectors".

They added that 2013 had started well with many UK operators ordering buses ahead of new emissions regulations.

The shareholders, the Wright family, received a £2m dividend.

A note in the accounts states that a "substantial" amount of that dividend will be used to finance new manufacturing facilities in the UK and overseas.

Over the year employment at the firm rose from 900 to more than 1,000. The wage bill rose from £25m to £30m.

Wrightbus has been contracted to build 608 double-deckers for London Transport.

The buses are intended as a greener more accessible successor to the famous London Routemaster.

This year, it won a £28m order for 179 buses from the biggest bus and rail operator in the UK.

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