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Finance

Rolls-Royce annual profits fall 12 per cent to £1.4 billion, figures show

Engine maker Rolls-Royce said annual profits tumbled 12% to £1.4 billion as the business was hit by civil aerospace cuts and falling commodity prices that have impacted output at its marine division, which supplies the oil industry.

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The fall in profit at FTSE 100-listed Rolls was less than analysts expected, but it did cut its dividend by half to 7.1p a share, as it bids to conserve cash.

The business said the restructuring programme it started in November “continues to make good progress”, and that its trading outlook for 2016 was unchanged.

Last year chief executive Warren East, who joined the firm last July, said he would scrap the current Aerospace and Land & Sea divisional structure.

Rolls said the move will cut out a layer of senior management, with the group instead comprising five businesses from January – civil aerospace, defence aerospace, marine, nuclear and power systems.

The shake-up came amid a major revival plan to boost performance and slash costs by between £150 million and £200 million a year.

Rolls, which has major bases in Bristol and Derby, issued its fifth profit warning in two years in November as a result of weak demand and low crude prices.

It is cutting management roles and has previously announced 3,600 redundancies.

Mr East said: “In the context of challenging trading conditions our overall performance for the year was in line with the expectations we set out in July 2015.

“It was a year of considerable change for Rolls-Royce – in our management, in some market conditions and in our near-term outlook.”

The firm expects to post an underlying pre-tax profit of £664 million in 2016, after it warned last winter its profit would be cut by £650 million due to a large slowdown in orders from emerging markets and sliding oil prices.

The business said it would book restructuring charges of £75 million to £100 million this year, which includes the axing of 50 of its top 200 senior managers.

Mr East is under pressure to revive the group’s fortunes after the profit warnings hammered its share price – down more than 40% over the last 12 months.

Analysts had feared annual losses would be deeper, and that the firm would signal a rights issue to raise cash.

But Jefferies analyst Sandy Morris said “unchanged 2016 guidance should help stop the rot in sentiment, in our view”.


Photo from Rolls Royce / PA Wire