Since we reported our first half results on 27 August myself and the senior management team have been seeing investors telling them of our plans and answering their questions about our business.
A key priority was to ensure investors realised that at Amec Foster Wheeler has a plan to succeed in this environment. To use a metaphor, “we are not just sitting around with a single rod, waiting for the fish to come to us…”
Investors are focusing on two elements more than anything else.
First: how are we, and how are our customers, dealing with the lower commodity prices?
This is an area where investors expected us to stand out – we are already a fairly lean and efficient organisation, and the integration benefits of putting together AMEC and Foster Wheeler are starting to come through – and will make a significant contribution to profits from next year. Moreover, we have a great track record of supporting our customers in this kind of environment – for instance doing more work to increase efficiency of existing assets, rather than relying on new build projects – which can be much harder to justify at the moment.
Second: why are we so confident we can keep growing in such tough conditions?
I believe this is one area where we have a really positive story to tell – and it is setting us apart from our peers. Our business spans many types of service, many markets, many countries and many types of customers… we are able to weather those tough markets because we also have several very exciting opportunities – for instance in petchem and Clean Energy, especially solar.
With the oil price down by more than 50% in a year, and our share price down 20% since the deal closed, in some ways we are in the middle of a perfect storm. But I was encouraged that so many investors recognise our range of services and access to such diverse markets means our ship is still sea-worthy, and our net is strong enough to catch the fish that are still swimming.