Northern Ireland bus manufacturer Wrightbus has secured £50mn in financing backed by UK Export Finance (UKEF), to support exports of the firm’s low-emissions vehicles.

The loan, provided by Barclays, includes £32mn in new funding, replacing an £18mn loan extended by the bank to the firm in November last year. It is backed by a UKEF export development guarantee.

UKEF says the deal will enable Wrightbus to deliver orders to customers in new markets such as Germany and the US, and support existing orders from countries including Singapore and Hong Kong.

Wrightbus makes electric and hydrogen-powered buses and has plans to create 1,000 new jobs by 2026 as its order book grows.

The Barclays loan last year was tied to an unspecified export contract, according to UKEF, but through the refinancing it is now defined as general working capital funding with extended and more flexible repayment terms. An £8mn bond support facility also announced last November remains in place.

“Wrightbus is a fantastic example of a British business seizing the vast exporting opportunities around the world and embracing clean growth,” says UK investment minister Dominic Johnson. “UK Export Finance support for Wrightbus will be a great boost to its exporting journey, helping the company to create more local growth and jobs.”

Jean-Marc Gales, Wrightbus’ CEO, says: “UKEF and Barclays’ support has been fundamental to the development of Wrightbus. The flexible products suit the needs of our business, which is growing exponentially and requires financial headroom.”

The deal was signed in February but only announced in early June. Wrightbus currently earns 27% of its revenue from exports and aims to grow that share by around 5% by the end of this year.

The company collapsed into administration in 2019 and was purchased by entrepreneur Jo Bamford. Last year it secured a contract to supply the German city of Cologne with 60 hydrogen-powered buses.