The fate of Scotland’s biggest oil services company remains uncertain after the deadline for a Middle Eastern suitor to make a firm bid was extended.

Aberdeen-based Wood said yesterday that Sidara had been given another four weeks to decide whether to commit to a bid that would value the firm at around £1.6bn.

Sidara had been due to decide by 5pm yesterday whether to make a firm offer at 230 per share or walk away.

Wood directors rebuffed three previous approaches made by Sidara at lower prices, which they said undervalued the business.

The deadline for the submission of an offer at 230p per share has been extended until 5pm on July 31 with the agreement of Wood directors and City of London regulators.

Wood agreed to the extension after Dubai-based Sidara said it needed more time to complete due diligence work on the company.

The extension leaves employees and other stakeholders in Wood facing an anxious wait after weeks of uncertainty.

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Wood is an important employer in Scotland.

The group employs around 4,500 people in Aberdeen and its North Sea operations. It has a 35,000-strong global workforce.

Wood first confirmed early in May that it had received bid interest from Sidara. The company said directors had spurned an initial approach based on a 205p per share purchase price.

Wood directors said last month that they had decided to engage with Sidara regarding the fourth approach at 230p per share, which they said was final, after getting feedback from investors.

Sidara’s approach followed signs that investors may be prepared to consider a takeover offer for Wood after a period in which some have appeared concerned about the company’s share price performance.

 In April an investor in Wood said a sale of the business might be the only way to get a valuation it regarded as acceptable.

Sparta Capital said then that the gap between the intrinsic worth of Wood and the valuation implied by its share price had never been wider.

Wood faced a £1.7 billion takeover bid from Apollo but the US investment giant walked away in April last year after difficult exchanges with Wood’s management.

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However, the sale of Wood to Sidara would cause dismay in Scotland. Wood is one of a relatively small band of stock market listed firms based in the country. Such firms help to generate investor interest in the country and provide valuable work for professional services firms.

Wood became a leading player in the global oil services market after making a pioneering move into the sector in the early days of the North Sea industry under the leadership of Ian Wood, who was knighted in 1994.

Wood helps firms to operate and develop oil and gas production facilities around the world. The company has transformed itself into a broader-based energy services business amid the global net zero drive.

However, it has faced challenges in recent years.

Chief executive Ken Gilmartin launched a drive to boost growth and simplify the group after succeeding Robin Watson as chief executive in July 2022.

In May he said Wood was making good progress under his strategy and noted its order book was up 9% on the same point in the preceding year.

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Sidara describes itself as one of the largest planning, design, engineering and project management groups in the world. It has used acquisitions to speed growth.

The group’s operations include Currie & Brown.

Wood said there could be no certainty that an offer will be made for the group by Sidara.

Shares in Wood closed down 4.1p at 199.9p. They traded at 152p before news of Sidara’s initial approach.