Tough UK and overseas markets hits profits at Wrights Group

Wrights Group has reported reduced profits for 2017 on a group turnover of £227.2million, down 14 per cent compared to £264.4million in 2016. Despite pre-tax profits falling by 86 per cent to £1.5million, from £10.7million in 2016, Wrights Group described the outcome as a “solid performance … despite significant current challenges in both the UK and overseas”.

The Ballymena-based manufacturing operation Wrightbus Limited accounted for 84 per cent of group turnover at £181.3million, compared to £214.6million in 2016, with pre-tax profit down 18 per cent to £5.0million, compared to 2016’s £6.1million.

“Our 2017 results have to be seen in the context of challenges in both the UK and our overseas markets,” says group finance director Kirsty McBride. “We experienced a change in the mix in our UK business in 2017, with significant one-off costs in our overseas subsidiaries, coupled with the completion of the primary revenue generating contract in Singapore.

“Notwithstanding the anticipated reduction in profit for 2017, the group continued to invest strongly in research and development to safeguard our ability to continue to compete in markets worldwide in the long term, with expenditure in 2017 standing at nearly £5million. All of this R&D spend continues to be written off against profit in the years in which it is incurred, in line with our cautious accounting policy.”

McBride adds that the Wrights Group balance sheet remains strong, with net assets of over £42million and no significant long-term debt.

Chairman & CEO Mark Nodder, adds: “During the course of the last year we took significant strides to open up new markets for our international business, which we are confident will diversify and strengthen our customer base. Our continued investment in new driveline technology places us at the forefront of building the best bus for the 21st century and our move to a new 90-acre site in Ballymena has given us an industry-leading production facility.”