THE two top bosses at international energy service provider Wood Group have shown confidence in its future prospects by spending more than £3.5million to add to their shareholdings.
It emerged yesterday that chairman Sir Ian Wood paid out just over £3.1million and chief executive Allister Langlands nearly £400,000 on the transactions last Friday.
The purchases on the open market came as shares of the Aberdeen-based company were near the 52-week low of just under 192p.
Sir Ian bought 1,529,783 shares at just over 203p each while Mr Langlands purchased 200,000 at just over 197p.
The Aberdeen-based company said yesterday the share acquisitions were long-term investments.
Sir Ian declined to comment further, and Mr Langlands is away on holiday.
Wood Group shares have topped the £5 mark in recent months, before subsequently tumbling as the oil price fell back. They closed last night up 11.3% at 226.75p.
The Wood family now holds nearly 90million shares in the business, while Mr Langlands has nearly 2.2million.
Earlier this month, the company said demand for its services and products remained high, despite significant volatility in financial, commodity and currency markets.
Wood Group added in an interim management statement that its trading performance for the year to date had been strong and it expected its growth to continue.
The firm now employs about 28,000 people worldwide, including more than 3,000 posts added so far this year, with the increase mainly in engineering and production facilities.
Wood Group has added about 400 jobs in the Granite City since the end of last year. It employs about 4,000 people – both offshore and onshore – from sites in the north-east.
Wood’s pre-tax profits for 2007 surged 42% to £131million, while turnover was up 28% to £2.238billion.
Market consensus for 2008 is for earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation of about £220million.
Analysts said the statement was positive and had boosted investor faith in the oil service sector, which had flagged in the face of declining oil prices and wider global economic concerns.
Oriel Securities analyst Andrew Whittock said the statement gave some confidence that the 12-month outlook for oil service shares was still quite attractive and favourable. Paul Singer, at Barclays Wealth, said Wood was its preferred major UK oil service stock, adding the company had a strong market position and offered good growth opportunities.