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Wood Group to cement footprint

INTERNATIONAL energy services company Wood Group has expanded its presence in the Asia-Pacific with three investments in the Australian market in six months.

The UK-based company, which employs 26,000 people worldwide across 46 countries, has grown its regional footprint through the acquisition of two Perth-based companies, as well as a joint venture in the Northern Territory.

Last month, Wood Group bought Fremantle-based Marine & Offshore Group, a provider of safety and emergency response training services to international offshore, maritime and mining industries.

M&O employs about 200 people and is active in Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Kazakhstan, Nigeria, Mexico and the United Arab Emirates, with training centres currently being developed in Egypt, Libya and Tunisia.

Led by chief executive and managing director Rick Parish, M&O achieved revenue of about $11 million in 2006-07.

"The ability to leverage Wood Group's international infrastructure and client base provides M&O with significant growth potential," Mr Parish said in a statement.

In May, Wood Group bought Netlink Inspection from its previous owner, Webspy. Netlink provides customised software products and services to the oil and gas industry, with clients including Apache and Maersk Energy.

It became part of Wood's subsidiary, IONIK Consulting.

Outside of WA, Wood Group formed a joint venture with NT-based Regional and Northern Maintenance Services (RANms) in March to form RANms Wood Engineering Australia.

The WA acquisitions add to Wood Group's existing businesses in the state, including engineering firm JP Kenny, IONIK Consulting, Mustang Engineering and Multiphase Solutions.

The group considers Perth as one of its Asia Pacific engineering hubs, with significant projects including the front-end engineering and design and subsea engineering on the upstream facilities for the Gorgon joint venture.

Mustang has been contracted to undertake a conceptual study for offshore facilities options for Woodside's Greater Sunrise gas development in the Timor Sea.

The Wood Group has an integrated support services operation in Perth, which involves services including human resources, IT and some financial functions being shared between the firms where possible.

The group is focusing on growing its presence in the Asia-Pacific market, with hubs in Perth and Kuala Lumpur.

With the recent acquisitions, total staff in WA under the Wood Group is approaching 400.

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