Rolls-Royce offloads AirTanker stake in £189m deal

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Rolls-Royce has agreed to offload its stake in AirTanker Holdings in a £189m deal.

The Derby-based manufacturer has sold its %23.1 stake to Equitix Investment Management. The deal is expected to complete by the end of the first quarter of 2022. Rolls will use the cash to reduce its well-publicised debt.

AirTanker Holdings, a joint venture with Airbus, Babcock, and Thales, owns 14 A330-200 Voyager aircraft which are powered by Trent 772B engines, a derivative of the Trent 700 engine. The Voyager aircraft support air-to-air refuelling, air transport and ancillary services for the UK Ministry of Defence. This fleet is operated by AirTanker Services, in which Rolls will continue to be a 23.5% shareholder. Rolls says it will also continue to provide servicing and maintenance for the fleet of Rolls-Royce engines that power the Voyager aircraft to support the Royal Air Force.

Tom Bell, president Rolls-Royce Defence, said: “We are honoured to power the Voyager fleet. Through our continued ownership position in AirTanker Services, the Royal Air Force can rely on us to support its mission critical operations with our Trent 700 derivative engines. The sale of our shareholding in AirTanker Holdings is another important step towards achieving our Group target to generate at least £2bn from disposals, as announced last year, to help rebuild our Group balance sheet in support of our medium-term ambition to return to an investment grade credit profile.”