Carson McDowell steers Wrightbus contract for 600 London buses

Carson McDowell has acted as sole adviser to public transport supplier Wrightbus as it secured a multi-million pound contract to build 600 buses for Transport for London (TfL).

The Northern Ireland-based company, which is the UK manufacturing division of the Wright Group, was originally awarded a contract in 2010 to design a New Bus for London (NB4L) to replace the iconic Routemaster vehicles.

TfL commissioned Wrightbus to design a prototype as part of the deal, requiring careful negotiation of risk allocation. Eight of the hybrid double-decker prototype buses are already in use around the city, featuring the old-fashioned hop-on, hop-off platform favoured by London mayor Boris Johnston.

The corporate and commercial team at Carson McDowell acted on the deal, with a team led by practice head Neasa Quigley.

Commenting on the significance of the deal for the firm and for Northern Ireland, Quigley said: “It’s an interesting deal because the red bus is just so iconic. Wrightbus are a great company to work with and are a shining example of an export-driven NI business. In a market as small as Northern Ireland an export strategy is vital to fuel growth and expansion.”

This is the first time in 50 years that a new bus had been designed for London’s transport network. Around 90 buses are expected to be introduced into the transport system next year and the full fleet is due to be in place by the end of 2016. The introduction of the 600 fuel-efficient buses is expected to reduce carbon dioxide emissions in London by around 20,600 tonnes a year.

There were no other external legal advisers involved in the deal. Wrightbus does not have an in-house team, but Carson McDowell worked closely with Wrightbus’s group managing director Mark Nodder, who trained as a lawyer, throughout the negotiations. Members of TfL’s in-house legal term were involved in negotiating the terms of the contract.

Background to this deal:

Carson McDowell regularly advises Wrightbus on corporate, commercial, property, employment and contentious matters in Northern Ireland as well as international corporate and commercial aspects.

The firm advised Wrightbus earlier this year as a it signed a £41m contract with Singaporean public transport operator SBS Transit to supply 550 double-decker buses in Singapore. Wrightbus has already sold 450 buses to the Asian company since 2010.