Rolls-Royce buoyed by record orders

Engineering and aerospace giant Rolls-Royce has said its record order book and "robust" balance sheet left it confident of weathering the economic storm.

The group posted a 10 per cent rise in underlying pre-tax profits to £880m for 2008, at the top end of market expectations.

It also said its order book had grown 21 per cent to a record £55.5bn – although it warned the economic headwinds would stall profit growth this year

But the firm was bullish about its long-term prospects, and forecasted the capability to double its revenues through organic growth in the next decade.

The firm is also paring back on costs this year after it announced plans to cut up to 2,000 staff last November. But it has seen some weakening demand towards the end of the year and warned the "unprecedented" economic gloom would have an impact on the company, its suppliers and customers.

Rolls-Royce said its resilience in dealing with other crises such as the 9/11 terror attacks and the Gulf War would help it cope with the tougher environment.

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