Rolls-Royce is expected to sell its International Combustion business to Swiss-Swedish conglomerate ABB in the coming weeks, more than a year after it was put up for sale.
Industry experts believe ABB has beaten German rival, L&C Steinmuller.
ABB is believed to be interested in International Combustion’s low NOx and construction businesses, both areas in which it has a strong presence.
ABB is not thought to be interested in International Combustions’ manufacturing facilities, however, as it already has substantial sites in the UK.
The Derby site should be secure because Rolls-Royce wants to move its Derby-based nuclear engineering business to the site. A question mark remains over the boilermaking operation and its assets.
International Combustion was put up for sale in July last year, with its larger sister company, Parsons, as part of a restructuring of Rolls-Royce’s Industrial Power Group. Parsons was sold to Siemens last April for £30m.
‘It’s shambolic that the sale has been going on for 14 months,’ said an industry source. ‘It’s been absolutely disgraceful.
‘There’s been indecision by Rolls-Royce, the banks have handled it badly; it may have been because they tried to get a higher price but I don’t think the price has changed.’
Rolls-Royce confirmed last week that it was in discussions with two potential buyers, but would not name them.
Neither ABB or L&C Steinmuller would comment.