Weir Group

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The Weir Group plc is a UK-listed engineering company.

Background

Weir was founded in 1871 and listed on the London Stock Exchange in 1947. According to its website in 2007 the company employed 'just under 8,000 people worldwide across five divisions, in closely aligned, independently successful companies, each with leading brand name products in their own sectors.'[1]

Benefiting from the shale gas bonanza

FrackWell.png This article is part of the Spinwatch Fracking Portal and project
The Weir Group is considered a 'pre-eminent equipment supplier in the field of fracking'. It provides pumps for the US shale industry, and would be well placed to also benefit if fracking takes off in the UK according to the Telegraph newspaper in June 2014.
[Its] shares at £26.59 are currently trading on a price-earnings (p/e) ratio of 18 times, having risen almost 25pc in the year to date, and look up with events so remain a hold. [2]

Anti-fracking 'spin beating science' in Scotland

In March 2015 Weir chief executive Keith Cochrane expressed his concern however that 'spin is beating science' in the debate over fracking in Scotland. He told a dinner of business leaders in Edinburgh that,

I accept the issue is controversial and of course Scotland and the rest of the UK are perfectly within their rights to say no, he said.
All I ask is that they do so on the basis of fact and reason rather than propaganda and spin. I'm afraid as I look at the recent debate unfold in Scotland in particular, I think the spinners are beating the scientists and we should all regret that.

He added:

If there's one thing you learn quickly at the helm of an international business, it is just how fiercely competitive the global market place is.
I have a real fear Scotland, and to some extent the UK, risk becoming too insular, too self-obsessed. While we look in the mirror, other countries are racing ahead.[3]

Role in Iraq

According to Corporate Watch:

Supported by the British government, Weir – Scotland's 20th largest company – is playing a key role in economic imperialism and feeding the west's oil addiction.
'I don't often praise the government, but thanks to the efforts of [DTI secretary] Patricia Hewitt we got the right introductions. A couple of months ago we had our guys in Washington DC talking to Halliburton and other companies about this work, and the government put forward our name at the very highest levels. We hope to see more outcomes like this contract.' Mark Selway, Chief Executive of the Weir Group.
Selway was commenting on the occasion when, in 2003, Weir became the first Scottish company to win 'reconstruction' contracts in Iraq: assessing the state of Iraq's oilfields and providing equipment for oil extraction. Weir had already been involved in Iraqi oil extraction for fifty years. As Peter Syme, Weir's managing director of engineering services, said, 'There is a lot of potential for us in the power market because a lot of the equipment that Iraq bought to operate its plants was made by us. We'd be upgrading our own infrastructure.'
Oil pumping equipment was not the only thing Weir was providing pre-invasion Iraq with. In 2004 Weir came to public attention as one of many western companies which had been colluding with Saddam Hussein's abuse of the UN's Oil for Food programme – assisting Saddam in filling his own pockets rather than spending money on essential food and medical equipment for Iraqi people. The company admitted that it was unable to account for £4.2 million. As it becomes increasingly clear that the war in Iraq is not over, and that the occupying troops are not in control of the situation, contracts become more difficult to keep. Weir's initial Halliburton contract was expected to open up a multi billion pound market, but in May 2005 Selway said the company would lose £20 million due to 'instability' in Iraq. Weir has laid off over 300 workers in Scotland and more around the UK, and even the management's fat cat wages have gone down after an increase in 2004.
The Weir Group also continues to provide oil pumping equipment in Sudan, where according to a Christian Aid report, 'Troops are terrorising civilians, burning homes and attacking villages in a war for oil.' Sudan's first export of crude oil in 1999 marked a turning point in an already complex civil war, with oil becoming the main objective and primary cause. Oil revenues are used by the government to buy weapons and ammunition, and the expansion of of oil extraction precipitates violent evictions. According to a former Sudanese governor, who had just managed to escape with his life:
'Without British technology, that oil cannot come out of the ground and it cannot be pumped through the pipe-line. Supporting the oil industry is supporting war... People will fight back because this is their land, More death, more killing, more suffering to the civilian population'.[4] [5]

People

Group executive

2014

Non-executive directors

2014

Past directors

Former

Non-executive directors

See also

Affiliations

Resources

See also JAMIE DETTMER Special to the Sun Companies That Broke Iraq Sanctions Awarded Contracts in Postwar Iraq The New York Sun, November 18, 2004 edition

Notes

  1. Weir Group Group facts and figures, accessed February 2007
  2. Before you back Britain’s fracking boom, drill down into the details, Telegraph, 15 June 2014, acc same day
  3. Head of Weir Group claims fracking 'spin is beating science', BBC News Scotland Business section, 4 March 2015, accessed 10 March 2015
  4. Corporate Watch WEIR -- REAPING THE BENEFITS OF WAR Newsletter 25 >> 9
  5. ALASTAIR REED End of an era as Weir announces Cathcart closure The Scotsman, Fri 18 Mar 2005
  6. As of June 2014
  7. Directorate change, The Weir Group website, 10 December 2013 announcing appointment date as 1 January 2014, accessed 16 June 2014

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