Rising demand for more fuel efficient jet engines pushed Rolls-Royce profits up 21 per cent last year amid expectations for continued strong growth.
The British enginemaker reported 2011 pretax profits of £1.16bn (AS$1.7bn) on revenues of £11.3bn. The result slightly exceeded forecasted profits of £1.15bn.
The world’s second largest maker of aircraft engines, Rolls finished 2011 with a record order book worth £62.2bn, a five per cent increase. That included £11bn of new commercial orders for more than 200 of the company’s Trent engines.
Among the most significant, Rolls said, was an order from AirFrance KLM Group for up to 120 Trent XWB engines to power Airbus A350 XWBs. Rolls also flagged new orders for Trent 1000 engines for six Boeing 787s from Oman Air, Trent 900 engines for six Airbus A380s from Sykmark Airlines and six A380s from Asiana, and Trent 700 engines for 15 Airbus A330s from Singapore Airlines and 15 from Cathay Pacific.
“Our order book gives us good visibility of future revenues,” CEO John Rishton told a news conference in London, according to Reuters. “For 2012 we expect good growth in both underlying revenue and underlying profit with cash flow around breakeven as we continue to invest in future growth.”
Rolls said its bottom line was also helped by the purchase of German enginemaker Tognum last year and the £950m sale of its stake in International Aero Engines.
A joint venture with Pratt & Whitney to develop next generation engines for the midsized single aisle airliner market would be made official this year, Rishton said.