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Rolls wins pounds 294m Emirates deal

Rolls-Royce's aerospace division was given a significant boost yesterday with the announcement of a $500m (pounds 294m) order for its Trent range of jet engines to power a fleet of Airbus A330-200 airliners for Emirates, the international airline of the United Arab Emirates.

The order comes on top of Emirates' existing deal with Rolls to supply 28 Trent 800 engines for 14 Boeing 777s. It means that by 1999, when the first A330s go into service, Emirates will operate with only Rolls-Royce engines, a highly unusual development in an industry which traditionally prefers to play one jet manufacturer off against another.

The deal, won in competition with General Electric and Pratt & Whitney of the United States, brings Rolls-Royce's total order over the past year to more than pounds 7bn. It also raises the order book for the Trent to 223 aircraft and a total of 446 engines and is likely to secure jobs for workers at the group's main Derby assembly operations, which employ 13,000 people and have been heavily hit by restructuring of the aerospace industry over the past five years.

Emirates ordered the fleet of 16 long-range Airbus A330-200s last year to replace its current A300-600s and A310s, with an option to buy a further seven aircraft later. Each of the A330s, which will seat up to 272 passengers, will be powered by two Trent 700 engines, with work due to start in Derby in early 1998. Deliveries will then continue at the rate of four planes a year until 2002.

Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed al-Maktoum, chairman of Emirates, said: `We chose Rolls-Royce Trent engines because our study shows them to be the most effective and efficient engine for the A330-200 for our present and future network."

Analysts said the latest order put Rolls-Royce on an equal footing with its two US rivals in the race to supply the Airbus A330 and Boeing 777. Though Rolls has found it harder to secure orders with US carriers, it has done increasingly well with Far Eastern airlines. Profits for 1996 are forecast at around pounds 235m, rising to pounds 300m in 1997.

"This is a big order in the civil field by any standards. It's unusual for a carrier to end up with engines supplied by one company, and even more unusual for that company to be Rolls- Royce," one analyst said.

Rolls-Royce shares were unchanged at 244p.