Rolls-Royce Holdings

Rolls-Royce Holdings plc (company number 04706930)[3] is a British multinational engineering company incorporated in February 2011 that owns Rolls-Royce, a business established in 1904 which today designs, manufactures and distributes power systems for aviation and other industries. Rolls-Royce is the world’s second-largest maker of aircraft engines[4] (after General Electric)[5] and has major businesses in the marine propulsion and energy sectors.

Rolls-Royce Holdings plc
Public limited company
Traded asLSE: RR.
FTSE 100 Component
IndustryAerospace, Defence, Energy, Marine
FounderCharles Rolls and Sir Henry Royce
HeadquartersKings Place,
Key people
Ian Davis (Chairman)
Warren East (CEO)
  • Civil and military aero engines
  • Marine propulsion systems
  • Power generation equipment
Revenue£15,729 million (2018)[1]
£(803) million (2018)[1]
£(2,393) million (2018)[1]
Total assets£31,857 million (2018)[1]
Total equity£(1,074) million (2018)[1]
Number of employees
50,000 (2018)[2]

Rolls-Royce was the world's 16th largest defence contractor in 2018 when measured by defence revenues.[6]

Rolls-Royce Holdings plc is listed on the London Stock Exchange, where it is a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index. As of close of London trading on 15 June 2019, the company had a market capitalisation of £17.008bn, the 31st-largest of any company with a primary listing on the London Stock Exchange.[7]

Rolls-Royce's headquarters and registered office are at 62 Buckingham Gate in Westminster, London.[8]



Rolls-Royce grew from the engineering business of Henry Royce which was established in 1884 and ten years later began to manufacture dynamos and electric cranes. Charles Rolls established a separate business with Royce in 1904 because Royce had developed a range of cars which Rolls wanted to sell. A corporate owner was incorporated in 1906 with the name Rolls-Royce Limited.[9]

In 1971 the same company, Rolls-Royce Limited, entered voluntary liquidation because it was unable to meet its financial obligations though it remains in existence today, still in liquidation, with a file number for its name. Its business and assets were bought by the government using a company created for the purpose named Rolls-Royce (1971) limited. Rolls-Royce Motors was separated out in 1973. The (1971) company remains in existence today and carries on Rolls-Royce business under the name Rolls-Royce plc.[10]

Rolls-Royce plc returned to the stock market in 1987 under the government of Margaret Thatcher. In 2003 ownership of Rolls-Royce plc was passed to Rolls-Royce Group plc incorporated 21 March 2003 which issued its own new shares for payment to the previous shareholders. In the same way, Rolls-Royce Group plc passed ownership on 23 May 2011 to Rolls-Royce Holdings plc, a wholly new company incorporated 10 February 2011.[11] Rolls-Royce plc remains the principal trading company. Rolls-Royce Holdings plc, like its immediate predecessor, is merely a holding company.[11][nb 1]


The 1980s saw the introduction of a policy to offer an engine fitment on a much wider range of civil aircraft types, with the company's engines now powering 17 different airliners (and their variants) compared to General Electric's 14 and Pratt & Whitney's 10.[12]

The civil engines business represents the company's main area of growth: between 2010 and 2018, Rolls-Royce invested £11 billion in facilities and R&D and launched six new civil engines including the Trent XWB and the Pearl 15 for the business aviation market. It secured orders for 2,700 engines for wide-body aircraft and business jets. It expects to produce over 600 wide-body engines a year and should power over half of the world wide-body fleet within a few years, up from 22% a decade before.[13]


In February 2017 Rolls-Royce posted its largest ever pre-tax loss of £4.6 billion; This included a £4.4 billion writedown on financial hedges that the company uses to protect itself against currency fluctuations, and a £671 million penalty to settle bribery and corruption charges with the Serious Fraud Office (SFO), the US Department of Justice, and Brazilian authorities.[14]

On 14 June 2018 the company announced a restructuring of the business to create three simpler decentralised units (civil aerospace, defence and power systems), to rationalise back office functions and to remove middle management functions. The cost savings should amount to £400 million per year by 2020, with an up-front restructuring cost of £500 million. Some 4,600 people[15] are likely to leave the business out of 55,000 employed worldwide, 3,000 job losses from the UK and the rest from elsewere in the world[16] (15,700 of the employees work in Derby and 10,300 work elsewhere in the United Kingdom).[17][18]

In August 2018 Rolls-Royce announced it was taking a charge of £554 million to cover faults with some Trent 1000 engines on Boeing 787 Dreamliners; Rather than going thousands of hours between inspections, the faults with turbine blades mean the engines currently require inspection every 300 hours of flight. In the same announcement Rolls-Royce said it would spend £450m fixing faults on the Trent 1000 in 2018, £450m in 2019 and £350m in 2020, with the work complete by 2022.[19]



Rolls-Royce's $190 million test bed 80 will be the largest of its kind, sized for engines of up to 140,000 lbf (620 kN) of thrust. Design started in 2017, construction began in 2018 and it should be commissioned by mid-2020. The 80,730 sq ft (7,500 m2) facility is 426.5 ft (130.0 m) long, has a 95 ft (29 m) tall intake tower and a 123 ft (37 m) tall exhaust stack. Built from 3,450 tons of steel and 27,000 m3 (950,000 cu ft) of concrete, it has a 49 by 49 ft (15 by 15 m) tall and wide enclosed space and it can handle a 66 tons engine including its carrier.[20]

X-ray imaging allows to visualize the position of seals and clearances in real time while an engine is running. While it was retrofitted on Rolls' test bed 57, test bed 80 is the first to be purpose-designed for industrial radiography. To protect from external X-ray like 30 cm (11.8 in.) of lead, double walls are up to 8.9 ft. (2.7 m) thick (a 5.6-ft. interior wall and 3.3-ft. exterior wall) and provide acoustic insulation. Canadian prime contractor MDS Aero Support is responsible for design and management, test systems supply, engine adapters, support systems and data acquisition and control while construction is done by Buckingham Group Contracting.[20]


Northern Engineering Industries / broken up and sold

In 1988, Rolls-Royce acquired Northern Engineering Industries (NEI), a group of heavy engineering companies mainly associated with electrical generation and power management, based in the North East of England. The group included Clarke Chapman (cranes), Reyrolle (now part of Siemens) and Parsons (now part of Siemens steam turbines). The company was renamed Rolls-Royce Industrial Power Group. It was sold off piecemeal over the next decade as the company re-focused on its core aero-engine operations following the recession of the early 1990s.[21]

Allison Engine Company/Rolls-Royce Corporation

On 21 November 1994, Rolls-Royce announced its intention to acquire the Allison Engine Company, an American manufacturer of gas turbines and components for aviation, industrial and marine engines.[22] The two companies had a technical association dating back to the Second World War. Rolls-Royce had previously tried to buy the company when General Motors sold it in 1993, but GM opted for a management buyout instead for $370 million. Owing to Allison's involvement in classified and export restricted technology, the 1994 acquisition was subject to investigation to determine the national security implications.[23] On 27 March 1995, the US Department of Defense announced that the "deal between Allison Engine Co. and Rolls-Royce does not endanger national security."[24] Rolls-Royce was, however, obliged to set up a proxy board to manage Allison and had also to set up a separate company, Allison Advanced Development Company, Inc., to manage classified programmes "that involve leading-edge technologies" such as the Joint Strike Fighter program.[24] In 2000, this restriction was replaced by a more flexible Special Security Arrangement.[25] In 2001, Rolls-Royce and its LiftSystem was among the group that won the JSF contract for the F-35.[26]

The Allison acquisition, at $525 million (equivalent to £328 million),[22] brought four new engine types into the Rolls-Royce civil engine portfolio on seven platforms and several light aircraft applications. Allison is now known as Rolls-Royce Corporation, part of Rolls-Royce North America.[27]


In 1999 Rolls-Royce acquired Vickers plc for its marine businesses.[28] The portion retained is now Vinters Engineering Limited. Rolls-Royce sold Vickers Defence Systems (the other major Vickers area of business) to Alvis plc in 2002, which then became Alvis Vickers.[29]

BMW joint venture / Rolls-Royce Deutschland

Rolls-Royce has established a leading position in the corporate and regional airline sector through the development of the Tay engine, the Allison acquisition and the consolidation of the BMW Rolls-Royce joint venture. In 1999, BMW Rolls-Royce was renamed Rolls-Royce Deutschland and became a 100% owned subsidiary of Rolls-Royce plc.[30]

SAIC joint venture / Optimized Systems and Solutions

Optimized Systems and Solutions Limited (formerly known as Data Systems & Solutions) was founded in 1999 as a joint venture between Rolls-Royce plc and Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC). In early 2006, SAIC exited the joint venture agreement, making Rolls-Royce plc the sole owner.[31]

Tognum joint venture with Daimler / Rolls-Royce Power Systems Holding GmbH

In March 2011, Rolls-Royce and Daimler AG launched a $4.2 billion public tender offer for 100 per cent of the share capital of Tognum AG, the owner of MTU Friedrichshafen – a leading high-speed industrial and marine diesel engine manufacturer, which was completed using a 50:50 joint venture company.[32] Rolls-Royce and Daimler AG intend that the joint venture company, which also now incorporates Rolls-Royce's existing Bergen engine business, is listed on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange.[32]

Aero Engine Controls / Rolls-Royce Controls and Data Services

Following the acquisition of Goodrich by United Technologies Corporation in July 2012, Rolls-Royce announced it would purchase Goodrich's 50% share of Aero Engine Controls to become wholly owned by Rolls-Royce Plc and a part of the Rolls-Royce Group.[33]

At the June 2019 Paris Air Show, Rolls-Royce announced its acquisition of Siemens' electric propulsion branch (while they are partners on the E-Fan X demonstrator), to be completed in late 2019, employing 180 in Germany and Hungary.[34]



In May 2014, Rolls-Royce sold its energy gas turbine and compressor business to Siemens for £785 million.[35]


In July 2018, Rolls-Royce sold its commercial marine business to Kongsberg for £500 million.[36]

Nuclear services businesses

In September 2019, Rolls-Royce agreed to sell its civil nuclear services businesses in the U.S., Canada, Mondragon France, and Gateshead UK to the Westinghouse Electric Company for an undisclosed sum. These businesses had a revenue of $70 million and about 500 employees in 2018. Rolls-Royce is keeping its nuclear new build and small modular reactor business in the UK.[37]

Major sales

In 1990, BMW and Rolls-Royce established the BMW Rolls-Royce joint venture to produce the BR700 range of engines for regional and corporate jets, including the BR725 powering the Gulfstream G650, which received EASA Type Certification in June 2009.[38]

Airbus A380

In 1996, Rolls-Royce and Airbus signed a Memorandum of Understanding, specifying the Trent 900 as the engine of choice for the then A3XX, now called the Airbus A380.[39]


On 6 April 2004, Boeing announced that it had selected both Rolls-Royce and General Electric to power its new 787. Rolls-Royce submitted the Trent 1000, a further development of that series. GE's offering is the GENX, a development of the GE90.[40]

UK C-130 Hercules

On 13 June 2004, Rolls-Royce was awarded a £110m contract by the Ministry of Defence to supply engines for its C-130 Hercules transport aircraft over the following 5 years.[41]

Airbus A350

In July 2006, Rolls-Royce reached an agreement to supply a new version of the Trent for the revised Airbus A350 (XWB) jetliner. This engine, the Trent XWB is an engine developed from the Trent 1000, a variant of which was offered for the original A350 proposal. As of July 2015, over 1,500 engines of this type have been supplied to 40 customers.[42]

In October 2006, Rolls-Royce suspended production of its Trent 900 engine because of delays by Airbus on the delivery of the A380 superjumbo. Rolls-Royce announced in October 2007 that production of the Trent 900 had been restarted after a twelve-month suspension caused by delays to the A380.[43]

Tornado, Typhoon and Lightning

On the military side, Rolls-Royce, in co-operation with other European manufacturers, has been a major contractor for the RB199 which in several variants powers the Panavia Tornado, and also for the EJ200 engine for the Eurofighter Typhoon. Two modified RB199 engines also powered the EAP demonstrator which evolved into the Typhoon. Rolls-Royce has matured the Rolls-Royce LiftSystem invented by Lockheed Martin for the F-35 Lightning II to production level; The F-35 is planned to be produced in significant numbers.[44]

Air China

At the 2005 Paris Air Show, Rolls-Royce secured in excess of $1 billion worth of orders. The firm received $800m worth of orders from Air China to supply its 20 Airbus A330 jets.[45]

Qatar Airways

On 18 June 2007, Rolls-Royce announced at the 2007 Paris Air Show that it had signed its biggest ever contract with Qatar Airways for the Trent XWB to power 80 A350 XWBs on order from Airbus worth $5.6 billion at list prices.[46] On 11 November 2007, another large contract was announced at the Dubai Airshow from Emirates for Trent XWBs to power 50 A350-900 and 20 A350-1000 aircraft with 50 option rights. Due to be delivered from 2014, the order is potentially worth up to 8.4 billion US Dollars at list prices, including options.[47]

On 20 November 2007, Rolls-Royce announced plans to build its first Asian aero engine facility in the Seletar Aerospace Park, Singapore.[48] The $562m (£355m) plant complements its existing facility at Derby by concentrating on the assembly and testing of large civil engines, including Trent 1000 and Trent XWB. Productivity will be higher than at Derby, as the plant is fully integrated, as opposed to manufacturing occurring across five sites in the UK: a Trent 900 will take only 14 days to manufacture, as opposed to 20 in the UK. Originally expected to provide employment for 330 people,[49] by the start of production in 2012, 1,600 employees were based in Singapore.[50]

During the 2011 Avalon Airshow, Rolls-Royce faced questions concerning incidents with its Trent 900 Turbofan used to power the Airbus A380 aircraft. One of the engines suffered a partial power loss during a Qantas flight in February 2011. This followed an incident in November 2010 in which an engine disintegrated in flight causing Qantas Flight 32 to make an emergency landing in Singapore.[51] The aircraft was extensively damaged and the airline grounded its fleet of A380s. The problem was traced to a fatigue crack in an oil pipe requiring the replacement of some engines and modifications to the design.[52] Trent-powered A380s operated by Lufthansa and Singapore Airlines were also affected. Qantas gradually returned its A380s to service over several months. In June 2011 the airline announced it had agreed to compensation of US$100m from Rolls-Royce.[53]

Nuclear submarines

In May 2012, Rolls-Royce won a Ministry of Defence contract worth more than £400 million for the integration of the reactor design, the PWR3, for UK’s next generation nuclear-armed submarines.[54]


On 17 April 2015, it was announced that Rolls-Royce had received its largest order to date worth £6.1bn ($9.2bn) to supply engines for 50 Emirates A380 planes.[55][56][57]

Corruption allegations

Rolls-Royce has been accused numerous times of corrupt practices and bribery. Most recently, in 2014, facing allegations of bribery in the aftermath of the Sudhir Choudhrie affair, Rolls-Royce offered to return money to the Indian government.[58] The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) also investigated allegations of bribery in Indonesia and China.[59]

In February 2015 Rolls-Royce was accused of bribing an employee of Brazil’s state-controlled oil company to win a $100 million contract to provide gas turbines for oil platforms.[60]

In October 2016 a joint Guardian and BBC investigation alleged widespread corruption by Rolls-Royce through middlemen in foreign countries including Brazil, India, China, Indonesia, South Africa, Angola, Iraq, Iran, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Nigeria and Saudi Arabia. Rolls-Royce became subject to a major SFO investigation.[61]

Alleged defects

In 2013 media reported allegations from two American ex-employees that thousands of the company's new jet engines were assembled with used parts.[62]

Settlement with SFO

In January 2017 Rolls-Royce came to an agreement with the SFO to pay £671 million under a deferred prosecution agreement to avoid prosecution for bribery to obtain export contracts.[63][64] As part of this agreement, a $170 million fine was paid to US authorities to end a bribery investigation,[65] and $25 million to the Brazilian authorities.[63]

Subsequent to the settlement, Private Eye reported that some of Rolls-Royce's contracts under the scope of the SFO investigation had been supported by the British government's UK Export Finance department, using taxpayers' money. The government department underwrote multimillion-pound liabilities under Rolls-Royce contracts secured with the help of bribes and "facilitation" commissions. It has also been highlighted in the press that Rolls-Royce's auditor since 1995, KPMG, had failed to identify any corrupt practices throughout the 1990s and 2000s. This is notable considering judge Brian Leveson's statement that Rolls-Royce's offending was "multi-jurisdictional, numerous", "persistent and spanned from 1989 until 2013", and it "involved substantial funds being made available to fund bribe payments".[66]


As of 2017 the board of directors consists of:[67]

  1. Ian Davis, Chairman
  2. Warren East, Chief Executive
  3. Steven Daintith, Finance director
  4. Pamela Coles, Company Secretary
  5. Lewis Booth, Senior Independent director
  6. Kevin Smith, Senior Independent director
  7. Ruth Cairnie, Non-executive director
  8. Frank Chapman, Non-executive director
  9. Lee Hsien Yang, Non-executive director
  10. Jasmin Staiblin, Non-executive director
  11. Irene Dormer, Non-executive director
  12. Beverley Goulet, Non-executive director
  13. Bradley Singer, Non-executive director


Rolls-Royce's aerospace business makes commercial and military gas turbine engines for military, civil, and corporate aircraft customers worldwide. In the United States, the company makes engines for regional and corporate jets, helicopters, and turboprop aircraft. Rolls-Royce also constructs and installs power generation systems. Its core gas turbine technology has created one of the broadest product ranges of aero-engines in the world, with 50,000 engines in service with 500 airlines, 2,400 corporate and utility operators and more than 100 armed forces, powering both fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft. Rolls-Royce Marine Power Operations (a subsidiary company) manufactures and tests nuclear reactors for Royal Naval submarines.[68]


For business jets, research and development in the market niches is a $2 billion annual investment, for a predicted market of 8,500 to 9,000 aircraft over the next decade.[69]




Rocket engines


Gas turbines




  • Brown Brothers Legacy Stabilizers
  • Brown Brothers Neptune or VM Stabilizers
  • Brown Brothers Aquarius Stabilizers

See also



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  • Gunston, Bill. Development of Piston Aero Engines. Cambridge, UK. Patrick Stephens Limited, 2006. ISBN 0-7509-4478-1.
  • Newhouse, John. The Sporty Game: The High-Risk Competitive Business of Making and Selling Commercial Airliners. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1982. ISBN 978-0-394-51447-5.
  • Pugh, Peter. The Magic of a Name: The Rolls-Royce Story, The First 40 Years. London: Icon Books, 2000. ISBN 1-84046-151-9.
  • Pugh, Peter. The Magic of a Name: The Rolls-Royce Story, Part 2, The Power Behind the Jets. London: Icon Books, 2001. ISBN 1-84046-284-1.
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  1. Companies with shares available to the general public
    • 1906 company, Rolls-Royce Limited. Its shares became more or less valueless in 1971 and their price sank as low as a penny from a high of £1.25.
    By the time the liquidation was effectively complete those shareholders had received more than £0.60 per share from the liquidation and they may have bought them for around a penny.
    • 1971 company, floated as Rolls-Royce plc still owns the principal business but itself was sold to the new holding company in 2003
    • 2003 company floated as Rolls-Royce Group plc bought the 1971 company
    • 2011 company floated as Rolls-Royce Holdings plc bought the 1971 company from the 2003 company
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