Wood Group order book rises 9% to $6.2bn

Aberdeen-based engineering and consulting giant John Wood Group plc said on Thursday its order book at March 31, 2024, was $6.2 billion, up 9% compared to March 2023.

In a first-quarter trading update, Wood said Q1 revenue was $1.356 billion, down 6% on Q1 of 2023, with growth in operations offset by lower revenue in projects.

The trading update came a day after Wood announced that it rejected an “unsolicited, preliminary and conditional” takeover proposal from Dubai-based engineering and consulting firm Sidara.

Wood, one of Scotland’s biggest listed firms, employs more than 35,000 people in about 60 countries.

Sidara’s cash takeover proposal of £2.05 per share would have valued Wood Group at about £1.42 billion. Wood said the proposal “fundamentally undervalued Wood and its future prospects.”

Wood CEO Ken Gilmartin said on Thursday: “We are now in the second year of our growth strategy and are making good progress, with EBITDA growth, margin expansion and an order book 9% higher than a year ago.

“We continue to win exciting and complex work across energy and materials, with sustainable solutions representing 40% of our pipeline.

“We are progressing with our Simplification programme and have made some significant appointments this year including welcoming Arvind Balan as our new CFO.

“I am proud of the strong leadership team we have in place and confident that we will deliver on our significant potential. We are today reiterating our EBITDA guidance for 2024 and our outlook for 2025.”

Last month, Wood was urged by activist investor Sparta Capital Management — which claimed to be a “significant” Wood shareholder — to either move its stock market listing from London to the US or consider a sale of the firm.

The call from Sparta came 11 months after the collapse of a £1.66 billion takeover approach for Wood from New York private equity firm Apollo Global Management that was pitched at £2.40 per share in cash.