Rolls-Royce Group plc Preliminary Results 2007

Thursday, 7 February 2008

Group Highlights

  • Order book increased by 76 per cent to a record £45.9bn (2006 £26.1bn), with the Asia and Middle East order book more than doubling to £20bn in 2007.
  • Group sales increased to £7,435m (£7,156m). Sales on an underlying basis* increased by six per cent to £7,817m.
  • Services sales increased by nine per cent to £4,265m on an underlying basis.
  • Profit before financing was £512m (2006 £693m).
  • Underlying profit before taxation* increased 13 per cent to £800m (2006 £705m).
  • Net cash inflow, before a special contribution of £500m into the UK pension schemes, was £562m (2006 £491m).
  • Average net cash of £350m (2006 £150m), after reflecting the £500m pension scheme contribution.
  • Shareholder payments for 2007 will in aggregate be 35 per cent higher than in 2006.
  • Final payment to shareholders increased by 51 per cent to 8.96p per share (2006 5.92p per share), making a full year total of 13.00p per share (2006 9.59p per share).

* see note 2

Sir John Rose, Chief Executive, said:

“We have delivered a strong set of results in challenging conditions.

“The breadth of our product and service portfolio, our access to expanding global markets and our focus on productivity and efficiency give us confidence that Rolls-Royce will continue to deliver profitable growth.”

Group Overview

Summary

Rolls-Royce made strong progress in 2007, delivering underlying sales and profit growth across all its businesses and good cash flow despite the continuing challenges of a weak US dollar and increased unit costs. The consistent strategy pursued by the Group over many years, has created a business which is delivering increasing predictability of future revenues as a result of the breadth of the portfolio, the access to growing global markets and the strength of the aftermarket.

Our access to growing international markets resulted in a strong order intake across all our businesses. By the end of the year, the order book had increased by 76 per cent to a record £45.9bn.

Sales increased by four per cent to £7,435m. Underlying sales grew by six per cent relative to 2006 after allowing for the benefit of our hedge policy.

Underlying profit before tax increased by 13 per cent to £800m (2006 £705m), reflecting increased trading profits across all our businesses. This was achieved despite a further 8 cent deterioration in the achieved US dollar rate, at a cost of £92m in 2007, and increased unit costs.

The published profit before tax reduced to £733m from £1,391m in 2006. The increase in operating profits is more than offset by reduced benefits from the unrealised fair value of derivative contracts, lower benefit from foreign exchange hedge reserve release and the recognition of past service costs for UK pension schemes, all of which are excluded from the calculation of underlying performance. This is explained further in note 2 on page 17.

Basic earnings per share were 33.67p (2006 57.32p) with underlying earnings per share increasing by 14 per cent to 34.06p (2006 29.81p).

We manage our exposure to the US dollar by long term hedging. We finished the year with a hedge book of around $9.4bn, representing approximately 2.6 years’ cover at an average rate of 1.83 dollars to the pound. This cover gives us the time and opportunity to take mitigating action against further deteriorations in the achieved US dollar rate, through improving productivity and ‘dollarising’ our cost base.

Increasing material costs, disruption due to facility moves and cost escalation in the external supply chain all contributed to an increase of seven per cent in our unit costs. In 2008 we anticipate that the result of our actions will reduce the rise in unit costs to between two and four per cent.

The Group has completed the restructuring of its UK defined benefit pension schemes. A £500m contribution into the UK schemes contributed to a significant reduction in the IAS 19 net deficit, which at the year-end had fallen to £123m. After making this payment and after increased investment in R&D, capital and IT, we generated a positive cash flow of £62m. This contributed to an improved average cash balance of £350m (2006 £150m), further strengthening the balance sheet.

In February 2007, we announced that we would be carrying out a financial review, the outcome of which is described in more detail below. Following the review, the Board has concluded that payments to shareholders should be rebased, resulting in an increase in payments for 2007 of 35 per cent with a full year payment of 13.00p per share.

The breadth of our order book

A good illustration of the strength of our strategy is the increasing breadth of our order book which is now well balanced between the Americas, Europe and Asia Pacific. The order book for Asia and the Middle East alone finished the year at the same level as the total value of our order book just four years ago. Almost 50 per cent of our order book is from outside the traditional markets of Europe and North America. In 2007 new orders were secured in a number of countries in which we had previously had little or no presence.

Investing in products and services

We have continued to invest in new products and services, with the breadth of our portfolio protecting us from delays or setbacks on particular programmes. We launched three major engine programmes in 2007; for Dassault Aviation’s new, super mid size Falcon business jet, for the Airbus A350XWB and for the Robinson R66 helicopter. These new programmes are targeting a share of an addressable market opportunity estimated to be worth $200bn over the next 20 years. Our presence on a wide range of programmes reduces our exposure to unforeseen developments on any one programme.

Our aftermarket continued to expand, with underlying service revenues increasing by nine per cent to £4,265m (2006 £3,901m). An increasing number of our customers are committing to long term service arrangements such as Mission Ready Management Solutions® and TotalCare®. To meet the demand, the service network was augmented with the opening of a new repair and overhaul facility in Germany with joint venture partner Lufthansa Technik AG. We also added an Operations Room in Dahlewitz, Germany, to support our global fleet of two-shaft engines.

Investing in technology

We have continued to invest in technology. In 2007, investment in research and development totalled £824m (2006 £747m), of which we funded around 55 per cent and we expect the ongoing level of R&D cash spend by the business to continue at around five per cent of sales. A key milestone in 2007 and a reflection of the increasingly international nature of our research activity was the decision by the United States Air Force to select Rolls-Royce for ADVENT (Adaptive Versatile Engine Technology) and HEETE (Highly Efficient Embedded Turbine Engine), two major new programmes which will deliver the next generation of technologies for advanced propulsion systems.

In the course of the year, we further extended our research capability by opening two new University Technology Centres at Bristol University and Karlsruhe in Germany and entering into a technology partnership with Birmingham University to develop casting technologies.

Increasing productivity and efficiency

We are simplifying our organisation, improving productivity and efficiency and developing an organisation that reflects the truly global nature of our business. The programme to renew our UK factories was completed in 2007, and in November we announced plans to open two new aero engine assembly facilities in Singapore and Virginia. Simplification and rationalisation of our international supply chain continued, with resulting performance improvements. As part of our drive to improve efficiency, we announced earlier this year proposals to reduce by 2,300 the number of people employed in our support activities. Over the last twelve months, we have created 2,500 jobs in the operational areas of the business and maintained our recruitment of apprentices and graduates. We will continue to access the key skills we need in line with the development of the business.

Strategic financial review

In 2007, the Group’s revised pension fund strategy was successfully implemented with the £500m special contribution into the UK pension schemes, together with a commitment to increase contributions in the future. The pension funds’ investment strategy was also changed to shift asset allocation away from equities and to reduce the exposure to inflation and interest rate changes.

In February 2007, the Group committed to undertake a review of its financial strategy focusing on the manner and scale of payments to shareholders and taking into account the restructuring of the UK pension schemes, the importance of retaining a strong balance sheet and the investment needs of the Group. The review has coincided with changes in global capital markets and the increasing risk of global growth slowing.

We continue to believe that a strong balance sheet will remain essential for a long-term business such as ours. The Group has to compete against large competitors on programmes where returns are measured over decades and where the Group’s competitive advantage depends on its ability to make substantial investments and long-term commitments to customers, not always at a time of our choosing. Financial flexibility in periods of uncertainty is desirable especially as there may be opportunities to develop the business further. Following the review, the Board has concluded that the overall strength of the business and its future prospects support a significant increase in the payment to shareholders.

It is therefore intended to increase cash returns to shareholders by increasing the annual shareholder payment by 35% over the 2006 level. Subject to the Group’s future financial position and growth in earnings we would expect payments to shareholders to increase progressively.

In addition the Company will, for payments relating to 2008 onwards, remove the current option to convert the payments into ordinary shares, as explained further on page 11. The existing B Share scheme will be replaced by a C share scheme, which is tax efficient for the Company, under which shareholders may choose to retain C shares or redeem them for cash. As a consequence, the ongoing cash cost of shareholder payments is expected to increase in future years.

Prospects

The Group operates in a competitive and challenging environment. Our strong focus on productivity and efficiency, our broad product and service portfolio and our access to growing global markets give us confidence that in 2008 the business will continue to deliver profitable growth and positive cash flow.

REVIEW OF 2007 BY BUSINESS SECTOR

Commentaries relate to underlying sales and profits unless specifically noted

Civil Aerospace

Order book: £35.9bn (2006: £20.0bn)
Engine deliveries: 851 (2006: 856)
Underlying sales: £4,038m (2006: £3,907m)
Underlying aftermarket services sales: £2,554m (2006: £2,310m)
Underlying profit before financing: £564m (2006: £519m)

The Civil Aerospace business portfolio continues to expand, covering a broad range of aircraft across all sectors from corporate and regional to the largest wide-body aircraft.

Highlights of the Year

  • The Trent 1000 for the Boeing B787 was certified on schedule in August.
  • 11 customers selected the Trent XWB for a total of more than 600 engines.
  • Dassault selected the RB282 to power its next generation business jet.
  • The Trent 900 entered service on the Airbus A380 with Singapore Airlines.
  • Orders were received for almost 1,200 Trent engines across the six variants.
  • 194 new customers signed up to CorporateCareâ service agreements.

The Civil business achieved a record year-end order book of £35.9bn after securing new orders worth more than £20bn. The current order book of more than 2,000 Trent engines provides assurance of revenues for many years to come.

Almost 1,200 Trent engines were ordered in 2007 across all six Trent variants as we continued to broaden the customer base with 25 new customers from 20 countries. International Aero Engines also secured orders for more than 660 engines, valued at £3bn, maintaining a strong market position on the Airbus A320 family of aircraft.

The first Airbus A380, powered by the Trent 900, entered service with launch customer, Singapore Airlines, in October. The expansion of the Civil portfolio continued with the launch of two new programmes, the Trent XWB for the A350XWB and the RB282, for the Dassault Falcon.

Civil engine deliveries, at 851, were similar to 2006, with lower Trent deliveries offset by increased deliveries to the corporate and regional sectors. As a result of this mix change, underlying revenues from original equipment deliveries contracted by seven per cent in the year.

Civil fleet flying hours rose by five per cent compared with 2006, supported by an increased installed fleet and continued high levels of utilisation. Underlying services revenues increased by 11 per cent to £2.6bn, representing 63 per cent of civil aerospace revenues. More than 55 per cent of our modern jet engine fleet is now covered by TotalCareâ or CorporateCareâ service agreements.

Defence Aerospace

Order book: £4.4bn (2006:£3.2bn)
Engine deliveries: 495 (2006: 514)
Underlying sales: £1,673m (2006: £1,601m)
Underlying aftermarket services sales: £877m (2006: £853m)
Underlying profit before financing: £199m (2006: £193m)

The Defence Aerospace business provides engines and support across all the major sectors of the defence market. With over 20,000 engines in service worldwide it has the broadest customer base of any of its peers.

Highlights of the year

  • The AE2100 was selected for the US military Joint Cargo Aircraft, the C- 27J.
  • Good progress on development programme milestones for the F136 and 2008 funding confirmed.
  • The EJ200 engine and support contract for the Royal Saudi Air Force Eurofighter programme was finalised.
  • The Group was selected by the US Air Force to participate in two research programmes totalling $315m.
  • New service contracts were secured totalling more than $500m.

2007 was another year of good progress for all Defence Aerospace’s sectors.

It was an important year for the business’ combat programmes. The contract to supply EJ200 engines and in service support for the Royal Saudi Air Force fleet of Eurofighter jets was concluded, contributing almost £1 billion to the order book.

The collaborative F136 engine, for the F-35 Lightning II (Joint Strike Fighter), was awarded full 2008 funding of $480m by the US Department of Defense (DoD), and performed strongly on both testing and milestone delivery. The LiftSystem for the STOVL variant, F-35B, was installed on the test aircraft with its first flight scheduled for the first half of 2008.

Rolls-Royce was selected to participate in two US Air Force technology programmes, ADVENT and HEETE, worth $315m in total. Our selection reinforces the strong position the Group’s technological expertise has established with the US DoD. In addition, the RR300 engine for the new R66 Robinson helicopter programme was launched during the year.

The collaborative TP400-D6 engine programme for the A400M, though challenging, made significant progress with the delivery of the engine for the flying test bed programme. Incremental development costs of £40m associated with the programme have been provided for in the year.

For the defence business as a whole the benefits of improved trading and a number of one-offs, both positive and negative, contributed to an overall improvement in underlying profits.

New service contracts totalling more than $500m were signed during the year. These included agreements with the US DoD for the AE2100 and the US Navy for the Adour.

Marine

Order book: £4.7bn (2006: £2.4bn)
Underlying sales: £1,548m (2006: £1,299m)
Underlying aftermarket services sales: £545m (2006: £487m)
Underlying profit before financing: £113m (2006: £101m)

Rolls-Royce is a world leader in the provision of marine propulsion systems, offering a unique set of products and services for the naval and commercial sectors. Marine services support power systems installed on more than 20,000 vessels, including those with 70 navies.

Highlights of the year

  • The business won its largest contract for offshore vessels to date, worth £155m.
  • MT30 generator sets were selected by the US Navy to power the DDG 1000.
  • A £1bn service contract was signed with the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) to support the power plants of the UK’s nuclear submarine fleet.
  • The global service network was expanded with the addition of a number of new service centres.

There was sustained order activity across the commercial and offshore sectors including Marine’s largest offshore order to date worth £155m, for service vessels to be operated by OSM Schiffahrt.

During the year, Rolls-Royce was selected to power the US Navy’s most advanced surface combatant ship, the DDG-1000 Zumwalt Class destroyer. Four MT30 gas turbine generator sets will provide power for two of these new vessels.

China and South East Asia account for the major part of the world’s merchant shipbuilding market. New business in China included record orders for over 700 ship sets of steering gear and 300 ship sets of deck equipment, confirming our position as market leader in the merchant sector.

A 10-year support contract was signed with the UK Ministry of Defence for the nuclear power plant systems for the current fleet of 13 Swiftsure, Trafalgar and Vanguard class submarines and the new Astute class submarines when they enter service.

Rolls-Royce has taken steps to consolidate its nuclear capability in order to assess the opportunities open to the Group in the global civil nuclear market.

Underlying sales increased in all parts of the Marine business with the main drivers of growth coming from offshore and sales of our Bergen diesel products. Underlying profits grew during the year despite slightly lower trading margins, due mainly to an increasing original equipment mix and some programme provisions. Increasing volumes and mix benefits will contribute to good margin growth in 2008 leading to an acceleration in underlying profit growth.

Underlying service revenues grew strongly by 12 per cent over 2006 and the service capability of the business was further extended with the acquisition of Seaworthy Systems Inc and the establishment of a number of new support centres in Singapore, Rio de Janeiro, Rotterdam and the US.

Energy

Order book: £0.9bn (2006: £0.5bn)
Engine deliveries: 32 (2006: 44)
Underlying sales: £558m (2006: £546m)
Underlying aftermarket services sales : £289m (2006: £251m)
Underlying profit before financing: £5m (2006: loss £18m)

The Energy business supplies a wide range of gas turbine packages and reciprocating engines to the worldwide oil & gas and power generation markets, with equipment operating in more than 120 countries.

Highlights of the year

  • The business won its largest single contract to date, for the maintenance of RB211 gas turbines for BP.
    • Record order intake for the Industrial Trent.
    • The Avon 200 upgrade was received well, with orders for 19 upgrades in the first year.
    • Services revenues continued to grow strongly, representing more than 50 per cent of sales.

The oil & gas and power generation markets have remained robust in 2007. Overall the Energy business won a record amount of new business in the year, increasing the order book to more than £850m by the year end. Orders included a £120m TotalCare® service agreement with BP for the maintenance of 28 industrial RB211 gas turbines in Azerbaijan, our largest ever order in the oil & gas sector.

The Industrial Trent continued to gain market position, winning record orders for 11 units from Europe, Chile, Australia including five units from the US. This progress supports our confidence in the outlook for the power generation sector of the market.

The Avon 200, an upgrade programme delivering increased fuel efficiency and output, proved successful in its first year with orders for 19 unit upgrades.

Our focus on service delivery has contributed to order intake doubling over the last three years. Dedicated service centres in Brazil, the UK and Azerbaijan bring our key skills and knowledge closer to our customers and strengthen our competitive position.

Underlying revenues were broadly flat with a reduction in original equipment revenues balanced by increased aftermarket revenues. Strong underlying revenue growth is expected in 2008 as new business is delivered. Underlying Services revenues increased by 15 per cent, primarily in the oil & gas sector, and underlying service revenues accounted for 52 per cent of total sales of the Energy business.

Underlying profits improved significantly in the year largely due to the net benefit of £18m of fee income, principally relating to increased technology fees, and improved trading. These factors more than offset increases of £10m, for restructuring costs, and an additional £3m investment in the fuel cells development programme.

FINANCIAL REVIEW – 2007 PERFORMANCE

The firm and announced order book, at constant exchange rates, was £45.9bn (2006 £26.1bn). Aftermarket services included in the order book totalled £13.1bn (2006 £9.9bn).

Sales increased by four per cent, compared with 2006, at £7,435m (2006 £7,156m). Sales on an underlying basis grew by six per cent. Payments to industrial Risk and Revenue Sharing Partners (RRSPs), charged in cost of sales, amounted to £199m (2006 £162m).

Gross research and development investment was £824m (2006 £747m). Net research and development investment charged to the income statement was £381m (2006 £370m) after net capitalisation of £73m (2006 £25m) on development programmes in 2007. Receipts from RRSPs in respect of new programme developments, shown as other operating income, were £50m (2006 £57m).

Restructuring costs of £52m (2006 £47m) were charged within cost of sales.

The taxation charge was £133m (2006 £397m). The taxation charge on an underlying basis was £193m, representing 24 per cent of underlying profit before tax. (2006 £190m, representing 27 per cent of underlying profit before tax). The underlying rate is affected by the geographical mix of profits, changes in legislation and the benefit of research and development tax credits. The 2008 underlying tax rate is anticipated to increase to around 26 per cent.

Underlying profit before tax was £800m (2006 £705m). Underlying earnings per share increased by 14 per cent, to 34.06p (2006 29.81p) (see note 4).

Investment in intangibles was £296m (2006 £225m) and included £37m (2006 £64m) on recoverable engine costs, £91m (2006 £41m) for capitalised development costs and a further £129m (2006 £91m) on certification costs and participation fees.

The continued expansion and replacement of operational facilities and investment in plant and equipment led to total investment in tangible assets in the year of £304m (2006 £303m).

Working capital reduced by £291m during the year reflecting financial working capital, lower by £650m, more than offsetting increased inventory of £359m. Inventory increased in the year to support growth across all businesses and to minimise disruption during the transition to new operational facilities.

The cash inflow during the year was £562m (2006 £491m) before the special contribution of £500m into the UK defined benefit pension schemes. Continued growth in underlying profits and good cash conversion was supported by further increases in customer deposits and progress payments in the year, increasing by £332m, and a benefit of £41m from year-end currency revaluations. Total cash investments of £598m in plant and equipment and intangible assets and payments to shareholders of £97m represented the major cash outflows in the period. Tax payments increased in the year to £71m (2006 £25m).

As a consequence average net cash was £350m (2006 £150m). The net cash balance at the year-end was £888m (2006 £826m). The Group’s cash inflow in 2008 is expected to be lower than 2007 due to the impact of increased taxes, higher ongoing pension charges and increased payments to shareholders.

Provisions were £301m (2006 £335m). Provisions carried forward in respect of potential customer financing exposure amounted to £44m at the year-end (2006 £98m).

The overall net position of assets and liabilities on the balance sheet for TotalCare packages was an asset of £550m (2006 £393m), which includes new agreements, timing of overhauls and changes in foreign exchange rates.

There were no material changes to the Group’s gross and net contingent liabilities in 2007 (see note 9).

Net post-retirement benefit deficits, on an IAS 19 basis, were £123m (2006 £995m) after accounting for the £500m special contribution in the year. After taking account of deferred taxation, net post-retirement benefit deficits were £88m (2006 £681m) (see note 10).

The proposed final payment to shareholders is equivalent to 8.96 pence per ordinary share (2006 final payment 5.92p), making a total payment for the year of 13.00 pence (2006 9.59p). The final payment is payable on July 1, 2008 to shareholders on the register on March 7, 2008. The final day of trading with entitlement to B shares is March 4, 2008.

The Directors propose that the 2007 final payment to shareholders will be made by way of a further issue of B shares using the existing B share process. It is then intended to create a new class of shares to be called C shares, which will be redeemable for cash, and the Directors intend that payments thereafter will be made by the issue of C shares, commencing with the 2008 interim payment to shareholders.

The principal difference between B shares and C shares is that the C shares will not carry an option to convert into ordinary shares. The Company plans to arrange with its Registrar for a scheme to enable shareholders to reinvest their payments in a market purchase of ordinary shares. For those shareholders who retain their C shares, a C share dividend at a rate of 75% of the London Inter Bank Offered Rate will be payable half yearly in arrears. Full details of this proposal, and a resolution seeking shareholder approval, will be included in the Notice convening the 2008 Annual General Meeting.

At the proposed full year level, the cash cost of the shareholder payment would be approximately £237m compared to around £90m to £100m based on recent experience of the B Share scheme and take up of the scrip option.

For more information please see the Financial statements
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