Rolls-Royce buys out joint venture partner Goodrich

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Rolls-Royce is to take full control of a major UK engineering business under plans to buy out its US-based partner.

Aero Engine Controls, which employs around 1,400 people in Birmingham, Derby, Belfast and Indianapolis in the United States, was formed in 2009 to combine the engine controls businesses of Rolls and Goodrich.

Its products play an important part in enhancing the fuel efficiency and overall performance of modern jet engines.

Rolls has agreed the transaction with United Technologies, which is in the process of acquiring Goodrich. No value has been placed on the deal.

The move comes as Aero Engines prepares for its move to a purpose-built research, design, development and manufacturing facility at Birmingham Business Park, Solihull.

The £60m investment will result in its 1,100 staff in the West Midlands relocating to the new facility during 2014.

In the UK alone, the company spends £65m a year sourcing new materials, parts and services to manufacture its systems for the aerospace sector.

Rolls said in a statement: “This acquisition will give Rolls-Royce full ownership of a critical capability that confers competitive advantage.”

The joint venture, which was designed to break even, had gross assets of £116m at the end of 2011 and net assets of £8m, along with debt of about £54m.

Rolls-Royce has submitted detailed plans to build an Advanced Blade Casting Facility at South Yorkshire’s Advanced Manufacturing Park.

The 14,300 square metre factory is one of three that the group hopes to build on the Rotherham site and will make jet engine turbine blades capable of withstanding temperatures of more than 1,900C.

Rolls-Royce is said to have chosen South Yorkshire for its new plants because of the skilled workforce, existing links with suppliers and the ease of access to other parts of the UK and the rest of the world.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has described the investment as “a welcome shot in the arm” for the region.

It is expected to create 350 skilled jobs.