ENGINEERING GIANT Rolls-Royce has seen a dramatic upturn in its fortunes after it announced it had landed the largest order in its history.
Just two months ago, British aero engine giant issued a profit warning and threatened to axe workers following its first fall in annual revenues for a decade.
This bleak outlook was given a far brighter sheen yesterday, however, as the firm won a multi-billion pound deal with Dubai-based airline Emirates.
Chief executive John Rishton said: “We are delighted that Emirates has again placed its trust in our technology, with the biggest order in our history.”
The contract to provide Trent engines - produced at sites across the UK, including Derby, Bristol, Sunderland and Barnoldswick in Lancashire - will secure thousands of jobs and has been hailed as a huge boost to UK industry.
For £6.1bn, Rolls-Royce will provide Trent engines which will power 50 Airbus A380 superjumbos that will enter service from next year.
Announcing the deal in London, Emirates president Sir Tim Clark said: “This is significant not only because it cements the partnership between Emirates and Rolls-Royce, but also because of the significant economic impact that this will have on aviation manufacturing in the UK and Europe.”
Share prices increased in the wake of the announcement, which represents a massive turnaround in Rolls-Royce’s fortunes.
In February, it delivered the news that it planned to cut 2,600 jobs - a result of defence spending cuts, global economic uncertainty and falling commodity prices.
At the time Rolls-Royce said it believed 2015 would be a ‘tougher’ year than expected.
While bosses say no new jobs will be created off the back of the order, the lucrative deal with Emirates will secure existing staff numbers across its supply chain, which stretches from Bristol in south-west England to Scotland.
Emirates added that the deal further supported trade ties between the UK and the United Arab Emirates.
“The aerospace sector is critical for manufacturing and high-skill jobs, in particular, the many companies that cascade down through the supply chain,” said Terry Scuoler, of EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation.
The 9.2 billion-dollar figure includes a long-term after-care package.
The Trent 900 powered the first A380 to go into commercial service in 2007 with Singapore Airlines, and Rolls-Royce has had a long association with Emirates, which has 60 superjumbos in its fleet and 80 on order. It operates 16 daily flights from the UK, with nine of these using A380s whose wings are made in Britain.