Rolls-Royce is targeting high-speed civil shipping markets as part of a strategy which includes the planned £576m acquisition of Vickers.
The company last month won a $1bn (£645m) contract to supply engines for the FastShip, which aims to cross the Atlantic in less than half the time of its rivals. Rolls-Royce believes the market for high-speed ships is growing 8% a year.
Vickers would give Rolls-Royce access to the propulsion system to be used on the FastShip. A Rolls-Royce spokesman, however, denied that the Vickers deal was precipitated by the FastShip contract.
Most of Rolls-Royce’s marine engine experience is in military naval shipping. Vickers’ marine business includes Vickers Ulstein Marine Systems, which makes propulsion systems, diesel engines, marine technology and deck machinery.
The combined turnover of the Rolls-Royce and Vickers marine businesses will be around $850m (£521m).