Wood Group ‘evaluating’ final £1.59bn takeover proposal

Wood CEO Ken Gilmartin

John Wood Group plc, the Aberdeen-based engineering and consulting giant, said on Wednesday it is evaluating “a fourth and final, unsolicited, preliminary and conditional” cash takeover proposal from Dubai-based firm Sidara.

The latest takeover proposal of £2.30 per share would value Wood Group at about £1.59bn, representing a premium of 52% to its closing share price before the first bid was made.

Wood shares were trading down almost 6% at around £1.80.

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

Sidara said: “Wood has not engaged with Sidara since Sidara made its first approach.

“Under the Takeover Code Sidara has until 5 June 2024 either to announce a firm intention to make an offer for Wood or to announce it has no intention to make an offer, unless this deadline is extended with the consent of Wood and the Takeover Panel.

“Sidara does not believe that its proposal can be progressed unless the board of Wood engages with Sidara and an extension to the deadline is granted.

“Further announcements will be made in due course as appropriate, but this announcement does not amount to a firm intention to make an offer under the Code and there can be no certainty that an offer will ultimately be made.”

Wood said: “The board of Wood notes the recent announcement by Dar Al-Handasah Consultants Shair and Partners Holdings Ltd (Sidara) and confirms that today it has received a fourth and final, unsolicited, preliminary and conditional proposal from Sidara for a cash offer of 230 pence per Wood share.

“The board, together with its financial advisers, is evaluating the final proposal and a further announcement will be made in due course.”

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.