n Civil contracts tot up to £51.3 billion for air engine giant Rolls profit boost

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ROLLS-ROYCE has reported a 28% rise in profits in its half-yearly results.

Revenue for the manufacturing giant has been boosted by its civil aerospace contracts, including an agreement to exclusively provide engines for new Airbus aircraft.

Fan blades for Rolls-Royce’s Trent engines are made in Barnoldswick.

The first six months of 2011 have seen significant orders, including with Singapore Airlines and Emirates Airlines.

The order book for civil contracts now stands at £51.3 billion, an increase of 6% on last year’s figures at this point.

Revenues in the firm’s civil aerospace business grew 14%, also reflecting a growth in international air traffic, especially of wide-body aircraft, with which Rolls is heavily involved.

Rolls’ Trent XWB will be the exclusive engine for the new Airbus A350 jet, which is due to enter service in 2013.

Chief Executive since April, John Rishton reported the XWB had already become the fastest selling Trent engine with almost 1,200 firm engine orders; already securing a similar number of orders to the Trent 700 that has been in service for more than 15 years.

The company has not been as successful in the defence aerospace sector; a 5% reduction in the order book to £6.2 billion being put down to budgetary pressures in Europe and North America.

The US Department of Defence halted the F136 second engine programme for the F-35 Lightning II Joint Striker Fighter with development at around 80% complete. A joint scheme between Rolls-Royce and US firm General Electric Co, the F136 project was set to fund a £35 million extension and 100 new jobs at Rolls-Royce’s Barnoldswick site.

Mr Rishton said: “We continue to consider options with our partner General Electric Co.”

For the full year, profits for the firm are expected to see good growth, bolstered by the civil aerospace sector.

Mr Rishton said: “This is an outstanding company with a proven strategy and many choices about how and where it can grow in the future.

“Performance in the first half of the year was strong with our order book and underlying profit showing solid growth.

“This demonstrates the resilience of our strategy that is based on a diverse portfolio and access to global markets.”