Wood family sells £127m shares in eponymous fir

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The family and charities of former Wood Group chairman Sir Ian Wood have sold a tranche of shares in the energy services giant for around £127 million.

A spokeswoman for the Aberdeen-based company said “a large proportion” of the sale proceeds would go to the Wood Family Trust, set up by the family in 2007 with the aim of investing £50m in a range of community activities across sub-Saharan Africa and the UK.

Credit Suisse and JP Morgan Cazenove sold more than 16 million shares, representing about 4.4 per cent of the Aberdeen-based group, at 775p each on behalf of the Wood Family Trust, the Sir Ian Clark Wood’s 1997 Discretionary Trust and “certain members” of the Wood family.

Analysts at Oriel Securities said: “In our view this is a good opportunity to buy into a high-quality company.”

Wood retired as chairman at the start of this month and continues to hold more than nine million shares – equivalent to a 2.4 per cent stake – and has told Credit Suisse and JP Morgan Cazenove that he has no current plans to sell or transfer any of his holding.

The energy firm’s spokeswoman said the sale was not related to Wood’s retirement, and that his family retains a 5.4 per cent stake in the group – including his 2.4 per cent interest.

Trusts controlled by the Wood family sold more than £365m of shares in the firm last year under a £1.05 billion return of cash to shareholders. That was described as being “in line with their stated intention to diversify their highly concentrated position of Wood Group shares”.

Wood, whose grandfather founded the business in 1912, had been chairman since 1982 and served as chief executive between 1967 and 2000. He handed over the reins on 1 November to Allister Langlands, who was replaced as chief executive by Bob Keiller.