Wrights Group has exchanged contracts for the purchase of a major manufacturing facility in Lisnafillan, near its existing Ballymena facility. The 100 acre site, which is currently owned by JTI (Japan Tobacco International), is set to become available in mid-2017 as JTI restructures its manufacturing operations in Europe. The transaction, details of which will remain undisclosed, is set to be completed early next year.
Wrights Group MD, Steven Francey, said, ‘It is too early to outline specific plans for the Lisnafillan facility. However, securing the site for future use will allow us to look at a range of options, which could potentially include Advanced Engineering and R&D facilities that will help keep our products at the leading edge of, what is, a fast changing public transportation industry. We would naturally hope that in the medium to long term our investment will create additional employment opportunities within a number of our business areas.’
Wrights Group Chairman and CEO, Mark Nodder OBE, said, ‘Our current operations in Galgorm have become somewhat “landlocked” in recent years, as substantial growth across the various parts of our business has progressively taken up all the land that we have owned. The imminent closure of the JTI facility has presented us with an opportunity to secure a substantial site, which will give us the additional space and operational flexibility we require to ensure that our future growth and development plans are not hampered by real estate constraints.’
‘In recent years, a good deal of the company’s growth has been in international markets which has required varying degrees of overseas investment. Yet Ballymena has always remained the heart and soul of our operations. The purchase of the Lisnafillan site further underlines our continuing and long term commitment to the town, its people and its local economy.’