Wood outlines overseas ambitions

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The Wood Group has unveiled plans for an overseas push

A UK oil and gas services firm has unveiled plans for an overseas push as part of a business overhaul.

Aberdeen-based Wood Group said it was looking for takeover opportunities in Angola, Brazil, Canada, Malaysia and Saudi Arabia and anticipated strong growth over the next few years.

Wood said the move to increase its international footprint would form part of a strategy to shift focus on to its core engineering, production facilities support and gas turbine services. It recently sold its well support arm to General Electric and announced a merger with energy services group PSN.

The company posted a 3.9% drop in pre-tax profits for the year to December 31 of £156.8 million, after a 2.8% increase in revenue to £3.1 billion.

Wood’s production arm generates 47% of its revenues from the UK North Sea, but the addition of PSN in areas such as North America, the Caspian and Russia will reduce its dependence on the UK and offer higher margin work.

The sale of Wood’s well support arm, which makes electric submersible pumps used to maximise oil production, will raise 2.8 billion US dollars (£1.7 billion), with more than half of the proceeds set to go to shareholders.

The group said it expected to increase investment in global exploration and production in 2011, and anticipated a period of good market growth.

Allister Langlands, Wood chief executive, said: “This has been an exciting and decisive re-positioning period.

“We are well positioned to take advantage of the improving market conditions and will continue to pursue our strategy of targeted geographic expansion and extended services through organic and acquisition-led growth. Overall, we anticipate good growth over the next few years.”

The group currently employs more than 29,000 people and operates in 50 countries. The well support division has around 3,800 staff worldwide.

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