Rolls-Royce announces the agreed sale of its 23.1% shareholding in AirTanker Holdings Limited to Equitix Investment Management Limited for cash proceeds of £189m, including the repayment of shareholder loans and accrued and deferred interest of approximately £47m, subject to any routine closing adjustments and before transaction costs. The transaction is expected to complete by the end of the first quarter of 2022, subject to regulatory approvals. There is no merger control condition. Proceeds will be used to reduce net debt. Remaining AirTanker shareholders have pre-emption rights over the Rolls-Royce shares and loan notes.
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.”
AirTanker Holdings Limited, 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 Limited, in which we will continue to be a 23.5% shareholder. We 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.
Rolls-Royce Holdings plc is a British multinational aerospace and defence company incorporated in February 2011. The company owns Rolls-Royce, a business established in 1904 which today designs, manufactures and distributes power systems for aviation and other industries. Rolls-Royce is the world’s second-largest maker of aircraft engines (after General Electric) and has major businesses in the marine propulsion and energy sectors. In February 2021, Rolls-Royce started talks concerning an operational shutdown of its civil aerospace unit that might last for two weeks and that is due to the impact of Covid-19 and its restrictions. The company’s registered office is at Kings Place, near Kings Cross in London.