Engine orders see Rolls-Royce thrive despite the downturn

ROLLS-ROYCE yesterday said its underlying first-half pre-tax profit was up nine per cent for the first half of 2009 on the back of engine plane orders, which peaked before the downturn.<br /><br />The company, which makes engines and turbines for passenger planes, fighter jets, ships and power stations, is on track to meet its full-year goals, it added.<br /><br />Underlying pretax profit rose to &pound;445m from &pound;410m a year ago.<br /><br />Rolls-Royce, which split from the luxury car maker of the same name in 1971, said the global trading environment remained very difficult and that it expected recovery to be slow.<br /><br />&ldquo;It is difficult to see green shoots in the economy but the decline has slowed in some areas,&rdquo; chief executive Sir John Rose said.<br /><br />But the company repeated its forecast for growth in underlying revenues, broadly similar underlying profits and an increase in the average net cash balance for the full year.<br /><br />It has been hit by production delays to two aircraft, the Airbus A380 and the Boeing 787, crimping revenues from engine deliveries and prompting a build-up in inventory.<br /><br />The company said production delays &ldquo;add to the uncertainty surrounding future engine volumes&rdquo;.