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Oil and gas giant buys American software developer

WOOD Group has acquired an American firm that develops software used in the oil and gas training business in what looks like a bolt on deal.

The Aberdeen-based giant said the purchase of Texas-based Cape Software will allow it to widen the range of services offered to clients in its core oil services market and to win work from firms in other industries.

Cape Software develops systems that can be used in simulations of real life scenarios. Wood Group said Cape's systems allow workers to train on the same type of specialised equipment they will use in the field.

The value of the deal was not disclosed but Wood Group said Cape had around $5m (£3m) turnover last year.

Led by chief executive Bob Keiller, Wood Group increased revenues 3% annually in 2013, to $7.1bn from $6.8bn in 2012.

The group increased pre-tax profits 14%, to $413m, from $361m in 2012. Wood Group has used a series of small deals like the Cape acquisition to widen its range of services and extend its geographic reach in recent years. Earlier this month Wood Group acquired a Canadian pipeline specialist, Sunstone Projects, in a C$14.5 million (£7.9m) deal.

The group has also completed big deals in North America in pursuit of a strategic push into the market to support firms that are producing oil and gas from unconventional sources such as shale. In September 2012 the company agreed to pay up to $182m for Mitchell's Oil Field Services, which is focused on the Bakken shale in North Dakota.

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