The head of Aberdeen energy services company Wood has underscored his confidence in the company's strategy as the group waits to hear further about a possible takeover offer.

Chief executive Ken Gilmartin said there is "good momentum" in the new financial year after Wood returned to revenue growth during the 12 months to the end of December, having cleared the decks of a number of legacy issues as well as turnkey projects that have damaged the bottom line in recent years.

"In terms of the rearview mirror, all of the big chunky [legacy issues] are either behind or are very clear in our path forward to final resolution," he told The Herald.

Mr Gilmartin, who was promoted from chief operating officer to chief executive in July 2022, added that there is a "a lot of confidence" in the strategy laid out last year by the new leadership team.

The Herald: Ken GilmartinKen Gilmartin (Image: Wood)

"The markets that we have decided to play in are growing," he said. "We’ve got the $230 billion in addressable opportunities for us in Wood.

"We’ve got more momentum in energy transition, particularly in hydrogen and carbon capture, driven by the Inflation Reduction Act in the US which is really interesting and important for us, as well as our ambition in the Middle East."

His comments came as Wood waits to hear whether US private equity giant Apollo Global Management intends to push ahead with a cash offer valuing the business at just shy of $2bn (£1.6bn).

In a statement issued after the London Stock Exchange closed on February 22, Wood confirmed that it had rejected three unsolicited offers from Apollo valuing the Scottish-headquartered company at 230p per share. The news drove a surge in Wood's share price the following day, though the stock has remained adrift of Apollo's mooted offer.

READ MORE: Wood value up more than £300m on Apollo bid approaches

On March 7 Wood said it had received a fourth proposal from Apollo at 237p per share. Board members said at that time they were "minded to reject" on the basis that the price undervalues the business.

Under Takeover Panel rules, Apollo must decide by April 19 whether it will proceed with a firm offer.

Wood's profits for 2022 came in at the top end of its guidance range thanks in part to solid performances from its operations and consulting business. 

Adjusted earnings came in at $385 million, with revenues up by 4 per cent at $5.4bn. The consulting segment posted growth of 4% while operations increased revenues by 15%.

READ MORE: Wood focuses on the positives amid offshore activity resurgence

"Operations is predominantly oil and gas, and what we are seeing there is a lot of our clients trying to really squeeze as much as they can out of the installed asset base that they have at the moment," Mr Gilmartin said.

"So they are spending more on maintenance, [and] spending quite a lot on...maximising the energy production while minimising the emissions of what they already have."

Meanwhile, the consultancy business has been driven by energy transition and security concerns.

As expected, there was a decline in project revenues, which fell 6%. Wood said the projects business returned to growth in the second half.

The group employs nearly 35,600 people around the world, with about 10,000 in its biggest market in the US and Canada. Its UK head count stands at about 6,000.

Shares in Wood closed yesterday's trading more than 5% lower, down 11.4p at 191.6p.