Rolls-Royce Holdings

This article is about the aircraft engine and power systems company. For the brand of automobile, see Rolls-Royce Motor Cars.
Rolls-Royce Holdings plc
Public limited company
Traded as LSE: RR.
Industry Aerospace, Defence, Energy, Marine
Founded 1906 (as Rolls-Royce Limited)
1971 (nationalised as Rolls-Royce (1971) Limited)
1978 (renamed Rolls-Royce plc)
1987 (privatised as Rolls-Royce plc)
May 2003 (as holding company - Rolls-Royce Group plc)[1]
Founder Charles Rolls and Henry Royce
Headquarters Buckingham Gate, City of Westminster, London, United Kingdom
Key people
Ian Davis (Chairman)
Warren East (CEO)
Products Civil & military aero engines
Marine propulsion systems
Power generation equipment
Revenue £13.725 billion (2015)[2]
£1.499 billion (2015)[2]
£0.084 billion (2015)[2]
Number of employees
50,500 (2015)[2]

Rolls-Royce Holdings plc is a British multinational public holding company that, through its various subsidiaries, designs, manufactures and distributes power systems for aviation and other industries. Rolls-Royce Holdings is headquartered in City of Westminster, London.[3] It is the world’s second-largest maker of aircraft engines,[4] and also has major businesses in the marine propulsion and energy sectors. Rolls-Royce was the world's 16th-largest defence contractor in 2011 and 2012 when measured by defence revenues.[5][6] It had an announced order book of £71.6 billion as of January 2014.[7]

Rolls-Royce is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index. As of June 2013, it had a market capitalisation of £22.22 billion, the 24th-largest of any company with a primary listing on the London Stock Exchange.[8]


Restored Rolls-Royce Merlin engine of an Avro York

1906 to 1971

Main article: Rolls-Royce Limited

Rolls-Royce Limited was founded in 1906 by Henry Royce and Charles Rolls at the Midland Hotel, Manchester, as a manufacturer of luxury cars, before diversifying into aircraft engine manufacturing. The production of road vehicles remained a major activity of the company until the car business was split off in 1973 as Rolls-Royce Motors.

A Rolls-Royce Merlin is manufactured in a British factory in 1942

Rolls-Royce produced its first aircraft engine, the Eagle, in 1914. Around half the aircraft engines used by the Allies in World War I were made by Rolls-Royce. By the late 1920s, aero engines made up most of Rolls-Royce's business. The last design in which Henry Royce was involved was the Merlin aero engine, which came out in 1935; Royce had died in 1933. This was a development subsequent to the R engine, which had powered a record-breaking Supermarine S.6B seaplane to almost 400 mph in the 1931 Schneider Trophy. The legendary Rolls-Royce Merlin is revered as a British icon.[9] The Merlin powered many World War II aircraft: the British Hawker Hurricane, Supermarine Spitfire, De Havilland Mosquito (twin-engined), Avro Lancaster (4-engine); it also transformed the American P-51 Mustang into one of the best fighters of its time, its Merlin engine built by Packard under licence. The early Merlins – Rolls-Royce piston engines were named after birds of prey – were used by the British Royal Air Force in the Hawker Hurricane and Supermarine Spitfire that won the Battle of Britain. The Merlin engine is often considered to be one of the main factors in winning the war for the Allies.[10] Over 160,000 Merlin engines were produced.

In the post-World War II period, Rolls-Royce made significant advances in gas turbine engine design and manufacture. The Dart and Tyne turboprop engines were particularly important, enabling airlines to cut journey times within several continents, whilst jet airliners were introduced on longer services. The Dart engine was used in the Argosy, Avro 748 (and its military variant the Andover), Friendship, Herald and Viscount aircraft, whilst the more powerful Tyne powered the Atlantic, Transall, G222, Belfast and the Vanguard. Many of these turboprops are still in service.

Rolls-Royce turbine engines had traditionally borne numeric designations during development, and then were assigned the name of a British river on delivery. The use of river names was introduced with the earliest Rolls jet engines to reflect their nature: a steady flow of power rather than the pulses of a piston engine. RB stands for "Rolls-Royce Barnoldswick",[11] the latter a major ex-Rover plant north of Burnley. This facility was bought by Rolls-Royce when it traded production of tank engines (the Merlin-based Rolls-Royce Meteor) for production of the first Whittle turbine engines.

Amongst the jet engines of this period was the RB163 Spey, which powers the Trident, BAC 1-11, Grumman Gulfstream II & III and Fokker F28. Military versions of the Spey powered the Buccaneer S2 for the RAF, the Phantom F4K and F4M, and the Nimrod. The Spey was licence built by Allison Engine Company as the TF41 for the A-7 Corsair II. Other types of military engines produced in the second half of the 20th Century include the Avon and Viper; these engines powered many of the British Aircraft of this period.

Also of this period was the Conway, a low (by today's standards) bypass ratio turbofan which was used on some Boeing 707s and Douglas DC-8s, and all Vickers VC10s, as well as on the MkII variant of the Handley Page Victor bomber for the RAF.

During the late 1950s and '60s, there was a significant rationalisation of the British aero-engine manufacturers, culminating in the merger of Rolls-Royce and Bristol Siddeley in 1966. Bristol Siddeley, which had itself resulted from the merger of Armstrong Siddeley and Bristol in 1959, and with its principal factory at Filton, near Bristol, had a strong base in military engines, including the Olympus, which was chosen for Concorde.

Nationalisation and separation

Having been selected as the sole engine supplier for the Lockheed L-1011 (TriStar), Rolls-Royce committed heavily to the RB211 engine, but its development was hampered by considerable technical problems, and on 4 February 1971 Rolls-Royce went into administrative receivership. To save the company, Edward Heath's government nationalised it as Rolls-Royce (1971) Limited.[12][13] The automotive division was separated from the aircraft engine division in 1973, as Rolls-Royce Motors and sold to Vickers. The aero company renamed itself as Rolls-Royce plc from 1978.[13] A side-effect of this affair was a change in accounting regulations to forbid the capitalisation of expenditure on research. This practice had resulted in Rolls-Royce massively overstating its assets, thus disguising its financial difficulties until it was too late to seek effective help.

Privatisation and expansion

Rolls-Royce plc was privatised in 1987 under the government of Margaret Thatcher. 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.

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.[14]

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.[15]

Allison acquisition

On 21 November 1994, Rolls-Royce announced its intention to acquire the Allison Engine Company,[16] an American manufacturer of gas turbines and components for aviation, industrial and marine engines; 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.[17] 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."[18] 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.[18] In 2000, this restriction was replaced by a more flexible Special Security Arrangement.[19] In 2001, Rolls-Royce and its LiftSystem was among the group that won the JSF contract for the F-35.[20]

The Allison acquisition, at $525 million (equivalent to £328 million),[16] 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.

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.[21]

1999 acquisitions

In 1999 Rolls-Royce acquired Vickers plc for its marine businesses.[22] Rolls-Royce sold Vickers Defence Systems (the other major Vickers area of business) to Alvis plc in 2002, which then became Alvis Vickers.[23]

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.[24]

Optimized Systems and Solutions (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.[25]

21st century

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.[26]

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.[27]

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.[28]

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.[29]

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 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) F-35 Lightning II to production level, planned to be produced in significant numbers.[30]

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.[31]

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.[32] On 11 November 2007, another large contract was announced at the Dubai Airshow from Emirates Airline 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.[33]

On 20 November 2007, Rolls-Royce announced plans to build its first Asian aero engine facility in the Seletar Aerospace Park, Singapore.[34] 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,[35] by the start of production in 2012, 1,600 employees were based in Singapore.[36]

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.[37] 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.[38] 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.[39]

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.[40] 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.[40]

In May 2012, Rolls-Royce won a contract worth more than £400m, for integration of the reactor design for UK’s next generation nuclear-armed submarines, by Ministry of Defence.[41]

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.[42]

In 2013 media reported allegations from two American ex-employees that thousands of the company's jet motors from the US division were manufactured with defects, including the use of used parts in jet motors sold as new.[43]

In 2014, facing allegations of bribery in the aftermath of the Sudhir Choudhrie affair, RR offered to return the money to the Indian government.[44] The SFO is also investigating allegations of bribery in Indonesia and China.[45]

In May 2014, Rolls Royce sold its energy gas turbine and compressor business to Siemens for £785 million.[46]

In June 2014 Rolls-Royce announced the merger of two wholly owned subsidiaries, Aero Engine Controls (AEC) and Optimized Systems and Solutions (OSyS), to form a new business, Rolls-Royce Controls and Data Services which would continue to operate as part of the Rolls-Royce Group.[47]

In November 2014, the engineering group of the company announced that 2,600 jobs are going to be cut over the following 18 months.[48]

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.[49]

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.[50][51][52]

In late October 2016, a joint Guardian and BBC investigation alleged widespread corruption by Rolls Royce through middlemen in foreign counties - Brazil, India, China, Indonesia, South Africa, Angola, Iraq, Iran, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Nigeria and Saudi Arabia. The company is now subject to an SFO investigation, along with one of its alleged middlemen - UnaOil.[53]


As of 2014 the board of directors[54] consists of

  1. Ian Davis, Chairman
  2. Warren East, Chief Executive
  3. Lewis Booth, Senior Independent director
  4. Helen Alexander, Non-executive director
  5. Ruth Cairnie, Non-executive director
  6. Frank Chapman, Non-executive director
  7. Lee Hsien Yang, Non-executive director
  8. John McAdam, Non-executive director
  9. John Neill, Non-executive director
  10. Jasmin Staiblin, Non-executive director
  11. James Guyette, President & CEO of North America
  12. David Smith, Chief financial officer
  13. Colin P. Smith, Director - Engineering and Technology
  14. Pamela Coles, Company Secretary


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 Ltd (a subsidiary company) manufactures and tests nuclear reactors for Royal Naval submarines.


Rolls-Royce Trent 900 on the prototype Airbus A380. This aircraft carries four engines.
The Rolls-Royce LiftSystem coupled to an F135 turbofan at the Paris Air Show in 2007
Diagram of LiftSystem components and airflow




Rocket engines


STX Europe dockyard where Rolls-Royce plant is located at Rauma, Finland

Gas turbines




Energy – oil & gas

Now a part of Siemens.

Gas turbines


Energy – power generation

The Energy division of Rolls-Royce was acquired by Siemens in 2014 and Rolls-Royce no longer caters to the Oil & Gas or Power Generation Industry.

Gas turbines

Rolls Royce is consistently working on the industrial gas turbines. Montreal, Canada is where research work is done on gas generators. Mount Vernon will support complete packaging of the Gas turbine. Shipping of the complete skid is done from Mt Vernon.

Distributed generation systems

See also



  1. Rolls-Royce plc history
  2. 1 2 3 4 "Annual Report 2015" (PDF). Rolls Royce. Retrieved 26 March 2016.
  3. "Rolls-Royce headquarters". Rolls-Royce Group plc. Retrieved 28 September 2010.
  4. Wall, Robert (26 February 2014). "Rolls-Royce unveils new engine for future Boeing, Airbus planes". Bloomberg Business Week.
  5. "Defense News Top 100 for 2012". Defense News. Retrieved 25 May 2012.
  6. "Defense News Top 100 for 2013". Defense News. Retrieved 15 February 2014.
  7. Hoyos, Carola (13 February 2014). "Rolls-Royce comes down to earth". Financial Times. Retrieved 15 February 2014.
  8. "FTSE All-Share Index Ranking". Retrieved 15 June 2013.
  9. "Welcome to ICONS - Icons of England". Retrieved 21 March 2015.
  10. "Rolls Royce Merlin 20 Series". Retrieved 21 March 2015.
  11. Gunston 1989, p. 146.
  12. The Economist 18 January 2009. U.S. print edition. "Coming in from the cold".
  13. 1 2 "Companies House - ROLLS-ROYCE PLC". Companies House. Company No. 01003142. Retrieved 2 December 2015.
  14. "The crane makers". NZR Cranes. Retrieved 21 March 2015.
  15. "Rolls-Royce BR725 engine receives EASA Type certification". Rolls Royce plc. 24 June 2009.
  16. 1 2 Lazonick, William & Prencipe, Andrea. "Sustaining the Innovation Process: The Case of Rolls-Royce plc" page 18. Retrieved: 18 September 2010. Archive
  17. Ashbourne, Alex. Opening the US Defence Market Centre for European Reform page 6, October 2000. Retrieved: 18 September 2010.
  18. 1 2 "DoD is satisfied that deal between Allison Engine Co. and Rolls Royce does not endanger national security" United States Department of Defense, 27 March 1995. Retrieved: 3 October 2012. Archived on 14 October 2013.
  19. Lorell et al Going Global? page 175, RAND Corporation, 2002. Retrieved: 18 September 2010. Archive
  20. Bolkcom, Christopher. JSF: Background, Status, and Issues page CRS-4,, 16 June 2003. Retrieved: 18 September 2010. Archive
  21. "A3XX programme gathers momentum as MoU is signed with Rolls-Royce". Flight Global. 13 November 1996. Retrieved 21 March 2015.
  22. "Rolls-Royce to Buy Vickers for $933 Million". New York Times. 21 September 1999. Retrieved 21 March 2015.
  23. "Alvis leads in UK tank race". BBC. 2 August 2002. Retrieved 21 March 2015.
  24. "Rolls-Royce Deutschland". EWMD. Retrieved 21 March 2015.
  25. "Data Systems & Solutions expands aftermarket services with Coredata acquisition". Coredata. Retrieved 21 March 2015.
  26. "Rolls confident on Dreamliner project". Free Library. Retrieved 17 March 2013.
  27. "Penny Shares Online". 10 July 2006. Retrieved 13 July 2006.
  28. "Derby's Rolls-Royce signs £340m engine support deal with Vietnam Airlines". Derby Telegraph. Retrieved 21 October 2015.
  29. "Rolls-Royce settles into a launch groove for A380". Flight International. 15 October 2007. Retrieved 17 October 2007.
  30. "Rolls-Royce welcomes green light on Joint Strike Fighter programme". The Manufacturer. Retrieved 17 March 2013.
  31. BBC (20 July 2005). "Air China at Paris Air Show". BBC News. Retrieved 13 July 2006.
  32. "Rolls-Royce inks biggest-ever sale". Flight International. 19 June 2007. Retrieved 20 June 2007.
  33. "Emirates places $8.4bn order for Rolls-Royce Trent XWB". Archived from the original on 21 November 2008. Retrieved 14 November 2007.
  34. "Channel NewsAsia". Channel NewsAsia. Retrieved 21 March 2015.
  35. "News". Retrieved 21 March 2015.
  36. Saira Syed (2 February 2012). "Rolls-Royce gears up for Singapore production". BBC News. Retrieved 2 February 2012.
  37. Heasley, Andrew (3 March 2011). "Rolls-Royce speaks out after more Qantas engine problems". The Age. Australia. Retrieved 9 March 2011.
  38. "Trent 900 update". Rolls-Royce. 12 November 2010. Retrieved 23 November 2010.
  39. "Qantas, Rolls-Royce settle over blast that grounded A380 fleet". The (Montreal) Gazette. 22 June 2011. Retrieved 22 June 2011.
  40. 1 2 Arnott, Sarah (10 March 2011). "Rolls-Royce and Daimler bid €3.2bn for Tognum". The Independent. UK. Retrieved 10 March 2011.
  41. "Rolls-Royce". BBC News. 22 May 2012. Retrieved 24 May 2012.
  42. "Rolls-Royce buys out Aero Engine Controls partner Goodrich". 8 June 2012. Retrieved 28 June 2015.
  43. Eirik Winsnes. "Beskylder Rolls-Royce for å ha brukt skrapdeler i flymotorer". E24. Retrieved 21 March 2015.
  44. "Rolls Royce to return to govt Rs 18 crore paid to commission agents". PTI. 9 March 2014. Retrieved 9 March 2014.
  45. Osborne, Alistair (1 May 2014). "Rolls-Royce chief 'optimistic' over Siemens deal". Telegraph Media Group Limited. Retrieved 5 May 2014.
  46. Tasim Zahid (6 May 2014). "Rolls Royce sells energy gas turbine business to Siemens". Reuters.
  47. "Rolls-Royce: AEC and OSyS merge to form Controls and Data Services". 30 June 2014. Retrieved 28 June 2015.
  48. "BBC News - Rolls-Royce to cut 2,600 jobs". BBC News. Retrieved 21 March 2015.
  49. "Report: Rolls Royce accused of bribing Petrobras for $100 million contract". Petro Global News. Retrieved 18 February 2015.
  50. "Emirates A380". Emirates. Retrieved 4 April 2011.
  51. "Rolls-Royce receives record £6bn engine order". BBC News. 17 April 2015.
  52. Osborne, Tony (17 April 2015). "Emirates Orders Trent 900 For Future A380s". Aviation Week & Space Technology. Archived from the original on 17 April 2015. Retrieved 17 April 2015.
  53. "Rolls-Royce middlemen may have used bribes to land major contracts". Guardian Newspaper. Guardian Newspaper. 2016-10-31. Retrieved 2016-11-02.
  54. Rolls-Royce board, Rolls-Royce Holdings plc


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