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Rolls-Royce set to burn through £4.2bn of cash this year

Simon Foy
·2-min read
Rolls Royce 
Rolls Royce

Rolls-Royce expects to burn through £4.2bn of cash this year, higher than previously expected, as it announced plans to axe another 500 jobs in 2020. 

The aerospace giant said it still aims to return to positive cash flow sometime in the second half of next year, but anticipates it will go through more than £1bn in cash a quarter during the crisis, 5pc higher than it estimated in August.

Shares fell almost 7pc to 118p in afternoon trading on Friday. 

It came as the FTSE 100 company revealed plans to shed a further 500 jobs in 2020, bringing the total number of cuts this year to 5,500, as it seeks to reduce costs by £1bn this year to weather the Covid storm. 

Rolls said it would take "several years" for demand for its engines to recover, and plans to shed a total of 9,000 roles by the end of 2022, or 15pc of its workforce. 

The company has also launched a consultation process to transfer its facility and workforce at Hucknall, Nottingham to Spanish arm ITP Aero.

It said: "We are also proposing to consolidate the manufacture of aero-engine structures into ITP Aero. These difficult but necessary decisions will help generate efficiency savings for the group and strengthen ITP Aero's capabilities."

Rolls was hammered by a near-total halt to global air traffic at the beginning of the crisis and a slow recovery in demand. Flying hours for its turbines reached 33pc of last year's levels in October and November, it said. 

It expects commercial air travel to recover slowly in the first six months of next year, it said, but anticipates an improvement in the second half as vaccines are rolled out, allowing borders and economies to reopen. 

Chief executive Warren East said: "We have taken decisive actions to protect and reposition our business in difficult and uncertain trading conditions, including the impact from a second wave of Covid-19.

"We have made rapid progress on our restructuring programme and the consolidation and reorganisation of our Civil Aerospace footprint is well underway." 

In October, shareholders backed a £2bn rights issue to help bolster Rolls’s battered balance sheet. This was part of a £5bn funding package that also included a £1bn extension to a taxpayer guarantee and £2bn of new loans. 

Mr East added: "Our £5bn recapitalisation package in November was well supported and has increased our resilience and strengthened our balance sheet. The outlook remains challenging and the pace and timing of the recovery is uncertain.

"However, our actions have given us a strong foundation to deliver better returns as our end markets improve and we continue to drive our ambition of delivering more sustainable power to support the creation of a net zero carbon economy."