Positive results

Rolls-Royce has announced its 2009 half-year results, reporting a £2bn order book increase for the first half of the year.

The aero-engine maker secured orders worth £7.9bn in the six months leading up to June, increasing the order book to £57.5bn, a four per cent improvement from this time last year.

The results also show that revenues for the first half of the year have risen by 27 per cent to £5.1bn. The company believes this performance was positively impacted by the weakness of sterling against the US dollar and the euro. Rolls-Royce posted an underlying pre-tax profit increase of nine per cent to £445m.

The positive results will help bolster the company’s plans for growth in the UK. Rolls-Royce recently announced it would develop four new UK facilities for discs, military fan blades, single crystal castings and civil nuclear components at a total cost of around £300m. A new civil wide chord fan blade facility will be constructed in Singapore to complement an existing capability at Barnoldswick in the UK.

Sir John Rose, chief executive, said the company was pleased with the results.

‘The global trading environment remains very difficult and we believe the recovery is likely to be slow,’ he said.

‘However, our growing order book, the breadth of the portfolio, our robust balance sheet and the early action we have taken on costs underpin our investment in the business. Our performance in the first half has enabled us to confirm our guidance for the full year and to increase the interim payment to shareholders.’

Rolls-Royce has announced the shareholders should expect an interim payment of GBP0.06 per share, an increase of five per cent over 2008.

The company noted the achievement of positive results despite unforeseen troubles in the civil aeronautics industry. The continued delays on the Airbus A380 and Boeing 787 programmes, for example, have been disappointing for the company.

The programme delays have reduced planned capacity in the sector over the next two years by approximately 300 aircraft, or 100,000 seats, compared to the industry’s earlier assumptions.

However, Rolls-Royce said the delays have also had the effect of generating firmer demand for existing widebody products that it specialises in.

The company added it has taken almost 100 orders for the Trent 700 engine on the A330 in the first half of the year. Almost 550 Trent 700s have been delivered over the last 15 years and a further 486 were in the order book at the end of the first half of the year.

Rolls-Royce said other sectors of the company such as marine, defence aerospace and energy have been relatively unaffected by the economic recession.

In July, the marine business took a 33 per cent shareholding in ODIM ASA, a provider of specialist marine handling systems to the offshore oil and gas industry, to broaden Rolls-Royce’s portfolio in that sector.

It was also recently announced that Rolls-Royce would be building a new civil nuclear manufacturing facility and would be playing a leading role in the UK government-supported Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre.