Investors in Aberdeen’s biggest company, Wood, who may have been hoping for a fresh update this morning on the possible American takeover of the business will have been left disappointed.

There was no mention in Wood’s Q1 trading update of where things stand with the move by US private-equity firm Apollo Global Management.

However, the American suitor only has a few days left before it has to announce a firm intention to make an offer for the leading engineering and consultancy group.

Wood said in today’s statement that, against a backdrop of a weak first quarter of last year, group revenue in Q1 increased to around $1,450million (£1.148million), reflecting good momentum across all business units and higher pass-through revenue.

It added: “Group adjusted EBITDA was in line with our expectations and we continue to invest in our business to deliver on our growth potential.”

The Wood order book at the end of March was around $5.7billion (£4.52billion) - slightly lower than at December 2022 and the company said this reflected the phasing of large multi-year awards in operations.

Order book

The firm went on: “The order book for delivery in 2023 has continued to build and is up significantly on the position a year ago.

“In line with our strategy, we completed the disposal of the Gulf of Mexico labour operations business for $17million (£13.47million).

“While we remain mindful of the uncertain economic outlook, our expectations for 2023 remain unchanged. As outlined in March, performance for 2023 will be weighted to the second half of the year.”

Wood’s worldwide workforce is now around 37,000, with more than 6,000 of them in the UK.

The company's North Sea operations have an offshore workforce of 1,100 - making up almost a quarter of the Aberdeen team.

In the middle of last month, Wood announced that it had agreed to engage with Apollo Global Management after it tabled a firm bid valuing the Granite City business at £1.7billion.

Opening its books

Wood said it would open its books for scrutiny by Apollo after rejecting several previous approaches.

Apollo’s fifth and final proposal was for 240p a share.

In last month’s stock exchange announcement, Wood said: "The board remains confident in Wood's strategic direction and long-term prospects, following a transformative year in 2022, including new executive leadership and a new strategy.

"However, having now weighed all relevant factors, particularly feedback received from Wood shareholders, the board has decided to engage with Apollo to see if a firm offer can be made on the same financial terms as the final proposal.

"Accordingly, the board will grant Apollo access to due diligence materials."

The deadline for Apollo to announce a firm intention to make an offer is May 17.

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