Rolls-Royce denies merger plan

US aero engine giant Pratt & Whitney this week strongly denied reports in Sunday Business that it intends to merge with Rolls-Royce.

The British aero engine giant said officially that it `never comments on market speculation or rumours’. But a company insider added: `This story has come round every year for five years and is complete rubbish.’

Rolls-Royce and Pratt & Whitney held merger talks five years ago. The deal was scuppered because Rolls-Royce chairman Sir Ralph Robins insisted on a majority stake in any new group.

The insider suggested the rumour might suit the purpose of financial interests seeking to profit from such a merger.

Rolls-Royce and Pratt & Whitney are partners in the IAE aero engine consortium which makes turbofans for the Airbus A320 short-haul airliner family.

Last October the two companies signed a deal to collaborate on an engine to power the US Joint Strike Fighter, which may also be bought for the Royal Navy and RAF.