Market report

Wood shares hit | BT up | Seagreen’s first power


5pm: Wood falls

In the FTSE 250 John Wood Group was down 4p (2.67%), having earlier dropped to a new 12-month low of 131.43p.

The engineering and consulting firm reported a widened interim loss as revenue stalled, and said cash generation is its “top priority” going forward.

Revenue for the six months to 30 June was 0.4% lower at $2.56 billion from $2.57bn a year before. However, the pretax loss nearly doubled to $31.5 million from $8.4m.

Guidance is for revenue between $5.2bn and $5.5bn and adjusted EBITDA between $370m and $400m.

Ken Gilmartin, CEO, said he was focused on returning the group to growth after adjusted EBITDA (continuing operations) fell 5.1% to $185m at the half-way stage.

He said: “Since becoming CEO in July, I have been really encouraged to see the improving operational momentum across our business, including some great client wins. The strong order book gives me confidence for the future but there is a lot more to do on cash generation and this is our top priority.

“We are developing an updated strategy for Wood that will draw on our core strengths, return us to growth and deliver sustainable free cash flow.”

BT shares were among the main gainers in the FTSE 100, up 0.7p (0.45%) at 157p after the UK government said no further action will be taken in relation to Altice Europe’s move in December to raise its stake in the telecoms firm to 18% from 12%.

Investors braced for downbeat economic readings and energy updates led European markets lower.

The FTSE 100 closed 45.68 points lower at 7,488.11.

Brent oil prices were higher, adding to inflation worries. A barrel was trading at $97.34, up from $93.26 late Monday.

7am: AMTE Power CFO may leave

Battery developer and manufacturer AMTE Power said it has seen ‘huge customer interest’ in its products and is looking to bolster its senior executive and wider management team to build its skills capacity. Full story here

7am: Wind farm’s first power

SSE Renewables and its partner TotalEnergies have announced first power generation from the Seagreen offshore wind farm, 27km off the coast of Angus in Scotland.

The first Vestas turbine of a total of 114 was commissioned and connected to the grid in the early hours of Monday morning. The 1,075 MW wind farm is expected to be fully operational in the first half of 2023. 

The £3bn Seagreen project will be Scotland’s largest offshore wind farm and the world’s deepest fixed bottom wind farm with its deepest foundation due to be installed at 59 metres below sea level in December.  

Global markets

European shares finished sharply lower on Monday amid a spike in natural gas prices and a warning from German central bank chief Joachim Nagel that the inflation outlook had worsened and the European Central Bank would need to raise rates.

It came as Russian state-owned gas giant, Gazprom, announced a three-day halt of the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline for routine maintenance from 29 August.

Germany’s Dax fell 2.32% while France’s Cac-40 was 1.8% lower.

On Wall Street, the Dow closed down 1.9%, the Nasdaq Composite slipped 2.6% and the S&P 500 lost 2.1%. It was the Dow’s worst single session since June. 

Investors are again watching the next move from Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell, who will speak on Friday at the Fed’s annual meeting at Jackson Hole in Wyoming.

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