Serious Fraud Office probes Amec Foster Wheeler

The UK’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO) yesterday confirmed it had opened an investigation into engineering firm Amec Foster Wheeler for suspected offences including bribery and corruption.

The investigation is reported to be connected to the SFO’s wider probe into Monaco-based consultancy Unaoil.

In early trading today Amec Foster Wheeler shares dropped by 6% but have since been recovering.

The investigation focuses on the past use of third parties and possible bribery and corruption and related offences– Amec Foster Wheeler

The investigation comes a month after rival engineering contractor Wood Group won shareholder approval for a £2.2bn takeover of Amec Foster Wheeler. Both companies are active in oilfield engineering.

In May Amec Foster Wheeler and Wood Group revealed their exposure to an SFO investigation into alleged corruption at Unaoil. Unaoil denies wrongdoing.

Earlier this year the SFO confirmed it was investigating UK subsidiaries of both US firm KBR and Swiss ABB for suspected offences of bribery and corruption as part of the SFO’s probe into Unaoil.

In a statement Wood Group said "it is not possible to estimate reliably what effect the outcome of this matter may have on Amec Foster Wheeler".

Amec Foster Wheeler in its statement last night said the SFO’s investigation "is not expected to have an impact on the completion of the merger of Amec Foster Wheeler and John Wood Group, which is expected to take place in the fourth quarter of this year".

The company said: "The investigation focuses on the past use of third parties and possible bribery and corruption and related offences."

It added: "Amec Foster Wheeler takes its obligation to conduct business ethically very seriously and has in place a robust global anti-bribery programme, including a detailed code of conduct and anti-bribery and corruption policies. Amec Foster Wheeler continues fully to co-operate with and assist the SFO."

Image: Saudi Aramco’s Marjan field development programme is a recent contract won by Amec Foster Wheeler (Amec Foster Wheeler)

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