UK: The Rolls-Royce model. (3 of 4)

UK: The Rolls-Royce model. (3 of 4) - In the light of the trend towards joint ventures it is not without irony that one of the benchmarks of Rolls' remarkable recovery was the breaking of a joint venture agreement with GE four years ago. The deal was tha

In the light of the trend towards joint ventures it is not without irony that one of the benchmarks of Rolls' remarkable recovery was the breaking of a joint venture agreement with GE four years ago. The deal was that Rolls would give the Americans a share in its RB211 adaptation for the Boeing 757, while GE would let Rolls in on developing a giant engine with a thrust of over 60,000lbs.

The venture had been set up by Lord Tombs's predecessor as chairman, Sir William Duncan, against a background of quiet in the industry. But by the late '80s the strategic importance of high-thrust engines was becoming clear. If Rolls was to stop being a poor relation to its American cousins then it had to be in the mega-thrust market in its own right. The final impetus to make the break, explains Stuart Miller, managing director of aerospace, came from customers. "They wanted another RB211, not a GE engine," he says.

The decision paid off. GE was left high and dry on the 757, leaving Rolls and Pratt to divide the spoils. The British took 50% of the market and 75% of all customers. At the same time Rolls further developed the RB211 series, without which it would not have the Trent today.

Sign in to continue

Sign in

Trouble signing in?

Reset password: Click here

Email: mtsupport@haymarket.com

Call: 020 8267 8121

Register

FREE

  • Up to 4 free articles a month
  • Free email bulletins

Register Now

Become a subscriber

From £66 a quarter

  • Full access to managementtoday.co.uk
  • Exclusive event discounts
  • Management Today's print magazine
  • Plus lots more, including our State of the Industry Report.

Choose a Package