Rolls-Royce has agreed to offload its stake in AirTanker Holdings – a joint venture with Airbus, Babcock, and Thales – in a £189m deal.

The manufacturer has sold its 23.1 per cent stake to Equitix Investment Management. The deal is expected to complete by the end of the first quarter of 2022, with Rolls-Royce set to use the funds to reduce its debt.

AirTanker Holdings 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, supporting the Royal Air Force. The fleet is operated by AirTanker Services, in which Rolls will continue to be a 23.5 per cent shareholder. Rolls says it will also continue to provide servicing and maintenance for the fleet of Rolls-Royce engines which power the Voyager aircraft.

Deal is part of plan to generate £2bn from disposals

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.”


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