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Wood still committed to its Aberdeen roots, CEO says

Wood chief executive Robin Watson
Wood chief executive Robin Watson

Wood chief executive Robin Watson said yesterday the group still had a key role to play at the heart of a recovering north-east economy, despite it making only 5% of its revenue in the UK North Sea.

Mr Watson, speaking after the Scottish energy service giant posted its first results since it completed the £2.2billion takeover of Amec Foster Wheeler (AFW) last autumn, added: “We are still one of the largest employers in the north-east.

“We’ve also committed our headquarters to Aberdeen which is one of the economic levers keeping us in the north-east.

“We have about 2,000 people currently working in Aberdeen and another couple of thousand offshore.”

Wood’s CEO said integration of AFW was progressing well, with annualised cost “synergies” to date totalling more than £28.5million.

The company aims to shave £121million off annual costs by the end of the third year following completion and is “currently ahead of schedule”.

Rationalisation of the former Wood Group and AFW businesses has taken about 1,000 people out of the workforce, leaving Wood with around 55,000 employees across operations in more than 60 countries.

Integration has removed about 400 senior management roles, with Wood also cutting back its international property portfolio.

AFW’s old offices in Aberdeen were unaffected as the firm’s UK North Sea assets were sold to Australia’s WorleyParsons in order to satisfy competition concerns.

Wood’s 2017 profits before tax, one-offs and discontinued items totalled £126.7million, which was down from £166.6million the year before. Revenue grew by 25% to £4.4billion.

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