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Rolls-Royce Shares Soar by 23% After Annual Results Crush Expectations

Paul Ellis | Reuters
  • Shares of FTSE 100-listed aviation manufacturer Rolls-Royce soared, after the company's annual results sharply beat expectations.
  • Rolls Royce recorded £652 million ($786 million) of underlying profit last year, £238 million higher than in 2021 — exceeding analyst forecasts near £478 million, as polled by Reuters.
  • The company attributed the results to recovering demand for international travel.

Shares of London-listed aviation manufacturer Rolls-Royce soared Thursday, after the company sharply beat expectations with a 57% year-on-year increase in underlying profit, driven by its civil aerospace and power systems.

Its stock was up by 23% at roughly 1:30 p.m. London time. The company recorded £652 million ($786 million) of underlying profit last year, £238 million higher than in 2021 — exceeding analyst forecasts near £478 million, as polled by Reuters. Rolls-Royce's free cash flow from continuing operations added £2 billion on the year to £505 million in 2022.

The company attributed the results to recovering demand for international travel, noting a 35% year-on-year hike in large engine flying hours for civil aerospace. The aviation sector is recovering from the severe pressure suffered during the Covid-19 pandemic, when lockdowns and higher barriers to passenger entry choked international mobility.

Rolls-Royce said it will make no shareholder payments for the 2022 financial year, but pledged to return to an investment grade credit rating and resume the practice, without specifying a timeline.

The company is undergoing a transformation program to improve its performance in 2023, led by Tufan Erginbilgic — the former BP executive who succeeded Warren East in January. The program will include a strategic review, with Rolls-Royce set to announce its ensuing medium-term goals in the second half of this year.

The company projects "a continued recovery in our end markets" and further increases to returns in 2023, issuing operating profit guidance between £0.8 billion and £1 billion and a fresh cash flow outlook of £0.6 to £0.8 billion.

The surge brings Rolls-Royce shares in line with the Deutsche Bank analysts' price target of £1.36.

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