Britain's Most Admired Companies 2013: Engineering - aero and defence

Fortunes are flying at Britain's flagship high-tech engineering firms. But can they engineer a full recovery?

Rolls-Royce is crowned sector winner for a truly remarkable 10th year in a row, a performance as utterly consistent as that of its famed jet engines. It also scoops the value as a long-term investment prize, despite an uncharacteristic first-half £491m pre-tax loss, partly due to problems with its complex currency hedging arrangements. Traditional defence markets may be challenging, but revenue at Ultra Electronics rose 4% to £760.8m, nonetheless. GKN posted a hefty 34% rise in Q3 profit to £131m, thanks to strong growth at its automotive and commercial aerospace units. Aviation supplier Meggitt's shares dived more than 10% in a day after production setbacks in the US hit Q3 trade. Still, the firm says the civil aerospace market remains

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