John Wood aims for £1bn float by June

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The Independent Online

John Wood, the oil services company, yesterday gave further evidence that the City's appetite for new issues is returning when it announced its own £1bn flotation for the end of next month.

Wood said it was planning to come to the market in late May or early June. It aims to raise $200m (£141m) of new money to fund acquisitions and to reduce its $300m of debt.

The family-run company, which is based in Aberdeen, has almost doubled in size in the past two years and aims to become a global force in the oil field services industry in the future.

The company stressed that it would be in line with best practice for public companies once it floats. Sir Ian Wood, currently chairman and chief executive, will hand over the role of chief executive to Allister Langlands, currently deputy chief executive, within the next two years.

The Wood family will also reduce its stake from 65 per cent to 45 per cent, which will allow them to pocket £50m on flotation.

While institutional investors will receive another 45 per cent and staff and management 10 per cent, it may still concern investors that the chairman and his family control such a large chunk of the company.

Wood's move to list on the Stock Exchange follows a couple of other high profile floats, after 18 months of the market being very quiet. Punch, the pubs company, said last week it would list by June and the music retailer HMV recently said it planned to float.

The group has appointed Cazenove and Credit Suisse First Boston as joint bookrunners and joint sponsors for the global offer. Morgan Stanley, Schroder Salomon Smith Barney and UBS Warburg will lead manage the deal.

Sir Ian said: "Broader access to the world's capital markets will ensure adequate financial resources to meet these development opportunities."

The news came as the group announced a 43 per cent increase in revenue to $1.52bn (£1bn) and a 56 per cent increase in operating profit to $104m.

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