Durability problems with its Trent 1000 jet engine has led to Rolls-Royce reporting an £825m (€964m, $1bn) operating loss.
The engine issue has overshadowed what would otherwise have been a good year, with 510 widebody engines delivered and revenue increasing 7 per cent to £15.5bn. Operating profit rose 25 per cent to £808m, mainly down to its civil aerospace division.
“After a challenging first half, we had a good end to 2019, delivering 25 per cent growth in full year underlying operating profit and an encouraging level of free cash flow,” said chief executive Warren East.
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Yet the record engine deliveries and a good after-market performance by the aerospace engineering firm were not enough to counter the durability issues with its 14-year-old Trent 1000 engine, which powers Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner.
East said Rolls-Royce has made progress in dealing with the engine issues, with costs in line with previous guidance and that the company remains on target to reduce the number of aircraft on the ground to single digits by the end of the second quarter.
As well as having a tough time as global travel collapses due to coronavirus, the carriers have also had to ground aircraft while Rolls-Royce carries out repairs and upgrades to the Trent 1000. Late last year Rolls-Royce said it would take a £1.4bn exceptional charge connected with the issue.
As a supplier to aircraft manufacturers, any impact from the coronavirus felt now by the carriers will take some time to filter down to the likes of Rolls-Royce, if they ever do.