Week ahead: Wood deadline | SPF conference

Ken Gilmartin

Ken Gilmartin: ‘We underperformed

Energy services company Wood Group faces another deadline on Wednesday when it could become the latest listed company to succumb to a private equity bid.

The Aberdeen-based company has already rejected four approaches from Apollo Global Management but said earlier this month it would engage with shareholders after receiving a fifth “and final” proposal from its suitor.

This latest proposed offer values the FTSE 250 firm at about £1.7 billion and represents a 59% premium to the closing share price of 151p on 21 February, the last business day prior to Wood first confirming Apollo’s approaches.

It is a 20% premium to the initial 200p-per-share it presented to Wood’s board in January. Under takeover rules Apollo must decide by 5pm on Wednesday whether to lodge a firm offer.

Ken Gilmartin, who took over as Wood’s chief executive in July last year, last month admitted the company had failed to deliver for shareholders after announcing a pre-tax operating loss of $568 million.

[Monday update: the deadline has been extended to 17 May. Full story here]

Also on Wednesday the Scottish Property Federation holds its annual conference in Glasgow with Tenants’ Rights Minister Patrick Harvie providing a focus for the attention of landlords following his controversial legislation on rents.

Official figures from the Office for National Statistics on Wednesday are expected to show inflation trimmed to 9.8% in March, slipping to single digits from 10.4% for the first time since last summer.

Monthly labour market figures are published on Tuesday and are expected to show the unemployment rate rose to 3.8% from 3.7%, while headline earnings growth is set to cool to 6.3% from 6.5% previously.

Retail sales figures from the Office for National Statistics on Friday, are likely to have contracted after a strong February. High street shopper numbers fell in March and early indicators suggest activity was subdued.

MPs and MSPs return on Tuesday after the Easter break and the Scottish parliament will be awaiting further details on, among other things, clear details from the First Minister Humza Yousaf on how he intends to build a “wellbeing” economy and cut the soaring deficit.

On Monday Mr Yousaf will be at the Scottish Trades Union Congress where he is expected to make a statement on second homes and declare that “the whole Westminster system is lurching to the right – to a reactionary, and sometimes downright nasty, style of politics that is too often characterised by a race to the bottom.” Scottish Labour leader will address the STUC on Wednesday.

As the Communication Workers’ Union begins deliberating on an agreement with the Royal Mail, a strike among about 100 workers will begin at the Rosyth naval dockyard.



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