Wood Group has hit back over concerns that its £2.2bn takeover of the struggling engineer Amec Foster Wheeler will be detrimental to the North Sea oil industry.
After criticism that the tie-up could stifle competition in the region, Robin Watson, who took Wood Group’s top job last year, said tackling anti-trust concerns was critical in closing the deal, agreed last week.
Senior City sources have warned that Wood may face a lengthy battle to convince regulators that a combined 60pc share of the North Sea market will not pose a threat to competition, or batter the downturn-hit sector with thousands more job losses. Any delay could leave the door open for a rival to swoop in with a counter-bid, the sources said.
Mr Watson said: “There have been changes in the North Sea over the last three years. It’s a significantly smaller market. Regulators need to ask whether there is room for four top-tier contractors in the North Sea.”
Analysts have warned that Wood’s own shareholders could rally against the takeover of Amec, which is saddled with debt of £1bn and faced a £500m cash call to shore up its balance sheet.
The Competition and Markets Authority confirmed that it was studying the transaction.