Rolls-Royce losses double to £3.2bn in 2020 pandemic

By: AFP      Published: 02:45 PM, 11 Mar, 2021
Rolls-Royce losses double to £3.2bn in 2020 pandemic

British aircraft engine maker Rolls-Royce said Thursday that net losses more than doubled last year to £3.2 billion, hit by the coronavirus pandemic which forced thousands of company layoffs.

The loss after tax, equivalent to $4.4 billion or 3.7 billion euros, compared with a loss of £1.3 billion in 2019, the company said.

Revenues tanked almost 29 percent to about £11.8 billion, with civil aviation hit the hardest by coronavirus.

The deadly Covid-19 pandemic had a a "severe impact" on the group's 2020 performance and its near-term outlook, Rolls-Royce said in a results statement.

The aviation sector was slammed last year as the contagion grounded aircraft worldwide and sparked a crisis in air transport.

The company saved more than £1.0 billion in costs last year, including via the loss of 7,000 jobs in a restructuring drive that seeks to shed "at least" 9,000 roles by the end of 2022.

Rolls, which operates in the air, defence and energy sectors, has slashed jobs and costs as it seeks to navigate damaging fallout from the health emergency.

"2020 was an unprecedented year," said Chief Executive Warren East.

"The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the group was felt most acutely by our civil aerospace business.

"In response, we took immediate actions to address our cost base, launching the largest restructuring in our recent history, consolidating our global manufacturing footprint and delivering significant cost reduction measures."

East added that the group had also taken "decisive actions" to enhance its finances and improve operational efficiency.

He noted that this resulted "in a regrettable, but unfortunately very necessary, reduction in the size of our workforce".

The group meanwhile secured extra liquidity via a rights issue, bonds, and further credit facilities last year, while it embarked upon key asset disposals.

"We have made a good start on our programme of disposals and will continue with this in 2021," East said.