Investor demand

Wood urged to find buyer or move listing to New York

Wood Group solar
Wood Group has already seen off one predator

John Wood Group, the Aberdeen-based energy services company, is facing pressure from a large shareholder to find a buyer or switch its listing to New York.

Chairman Roy Franklin is understood to have received a letter from top ten shareholder Sparta Capital Management indicating dissatisfaction with Wood’s share price and urging it to engage with potential bidders who can drive the share price.

A £1.7 billion takeover bid by Apollo Management Holdings collapsed last May, despite representing a a 59% premium.

John Wood shares closed 0.3% higher at 140.4p on Monday and rose a further 1.5% (2.1p) to 142.5p on Tuesday, but they are 38% lower than a year ago and 71% lower than five years ago.

Chief executive Ken Gilmartin issued a bullish outlook last month after reporting that revenue in 2023 rose 7.9% and pretax losses narrowed.

Sparta, however, believes Wood may be a victim of what it calls the UK’s mid-cap curse, which leaves smaller firms struggling to attract investor interest.

“UK mid-caps have chronically underperformed global equities in recent years,” noted Sparta.

lt suggested Wood moves to another market, probably in the US, where the firm might attract a wider following.

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