ROLLS-ROYCE KEPT the good news rolling with an improved set of 1995 financial results to follow its best year ever for commercial engine orders.

Recovery in the core aero-engine business and an unexpectedly good performance from the Allison acquisition helped the group drive net profits up by nearly 80%, to £144 million ($220 million).

Chairman Sir Ralph Robins plays down some of the optimism, but says that the recovery is now feeding through to the group's bottom line. Allison, acquired in March, turned in a star performance, with pre-tax profits of £30 million on sales of £377 million.

The aero-engine business saw revenues edge above £2 billion, because of improved military sales, although civil sales fell by another 8% as deliveries of engines and spares remained sluggish.

The highlight of the year, however, was the group's tally of commercial-engine orders, which it calculates gave R-R a 30% market share. Robins, who has long coveted such a share, highlights the 61 Trent 800 engines ordered by Singapore Airlines for its Boeing 777s and the launch of the R-R BMW BR715 aboard the McDonnell Douglas MD-95 for ValuJet.

Financial analysts welcomed the figures, although speculation continues about the prices and incentives being offered to win business in the cutthroat big fan market. Some manufacturers privately admit that deals have been struck at discounts of around 30%.

Source: Flight International