Sellafield and BAE partner takeover given green light

Amec Foster Wheeler staff at Sellafield.
Amec Foster Wheeler staff at Sellafield.
13 September 2017 5:38PM

A £2.2bn takeover of a company which employs almost 300 people in Cumbria has been given the green light.

Engineering services firm Amec Foster Wheeler - which has offices in Westlakes Science & Technology Park, near Whitehaven, and at Sellafield, as well as staff based at the BAE Systems submarine yard in Barrow - is now set to merge with Aberdeen-based Wood Group.

This deal had to be investigated by the Competition and Markets Authority because of concerns of an overlap in both firms' businesses in the oil and gas industry.

Specifically, the watchdog had expressed worries that the deal gave rise to competition concerns surrounding the supply of engineering and construction services, as well as operation and maintenance services in the North Sea.

But the CMA said this morning that it had accepted remedies put forward by the companies to smooth antitrust concerns, which include Amec offering to sell off a number of assets.

Kate Collyer, deputy chief economic adviser and decision maker in the case, said: "We have therefore conducted a thorough investigation into this merger, and believe that the sale of Amec Foster Wheeler's assets will address our concerns and ensure that customers in the North Sea continue to be able to obtain competitive bids."

The deal is now expected to complete in October.

Amec chief executive Jon Lewis said: "We have made significant progress marketing Amec Foster Wheeler's UK upstream oil and gas business to a range of high-quality bidders, which has helped to ensure that we will close the transaction in October, bringing the many benefits of the combined company to our clients, colleagues and shareholders."

When announcing the deal in March, Wood Group said it would result in "significant cost and revenue synergies" of at least £110m a year.

Wood Group employs 29,000 people while Amec has 35,000 workers and the new entity would be valued at around £5bn.

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