Rolls-Royce Plc is downsizing its turbofan engine components manufacturing business as the long-range impact of the COVID-19 pandemic becomes more apparent. Its new strategy further narrows the scope of commercial-aircraft engine parts Rolls will produce for its own use and expands the list capabilities it will put into the ITP Aero portfolio it is offering for sale at a reported price of £2 billion ($2.6 billion.)
The pandemic has gutted demand for new commercial aircraft and maintenance for existing fleets, with dire effects on the supply chain. Rolls-Royce, which has been downsizing its organization for several years, raised the scope of those efforts earlier this year.
Rolls-Royce has said its goal in downsizing the Civil Aerospace business is to achieve total annual pre-tax cash savings of at least £1.3 billion by the end of 2022.
In May it put forth a downsizing plan for Civil Aerospace to reduce total employment by 9,000. In August it proposed to reduce employment by a further 8,000, approximately one-third of the unit's total prior to the onset of the pandemic. A further 1,000 positions would be eliminated from the group's central functions.
Also, Rolls announced its intention to close a plant in Virginia that produces precision aircraft components, including rotative discs and turbine blades.
ITP Aero (Industria de Turbo Propulsores) is a Spanish business established as a joint venture with SENER in 1989, but it has been Rolls’ wholly owned subsidiary since 2016. It produces turbofan engines for civil and defense aircraft, as well as industrial gas turbines, with activities ranging from R&D, design, metal casting, engine manufacturing, and testing.
Now, Rolls indicates it will add its aero-engine parts operation in Hucknall, England, to the ITP Aero portfolio, and will end aero-engine structures production at Barnoldswick, England.
Rolls has emphasized that it intends to continue to source engine components from ITP Aero after it finds a buyer.
While Rolls aims to continue manufacturing aero-engine turbine blades and compressors aerofoils in Inchinnan, Scotland, it will end production of aero-engine shafts there, consolidating those operations in Derby, England.
“Since the beginning of the pandemic we have taken swift action to protect our business by both reducing our spending and costs, and by raising additional funds,” according to a statement by Chris Cholerton, president – Civil Aerospace, said: “But, despite the prospect that business will eventually return to normal, sparked by recent news of vaccines, the pandemic has created a once-in-a-generation shock to the whole of commercial aviation and it is going to take years to recover.”
He continued: “By completing the restructuring of our Civil Aerospace business, we can emerge as a stronger, more efficient and sustainable business able to tackle some of the world’s toughest technological challenges.”