Weakness in maritime market pushes Rolls-Royce to cut 800 jobs

Rolls-Royce has made plans to accelerate the transformation of its Marine business, which supplies technology and services to merchant, offshore, and naval vessels, as a result of continuing weakness in the maritime market. 

According to the company’s statement on Thursday, planned measures include a further simplification of the structure of the business, with a streamlining of the senior management team, and a series of cost reduction initiatives which will result in the loss of around 800 roles worldwide and an estimated £45-50 million of annualized savings from mid-2017.

Costs of this restructuring are expected to be around £20 million, split between 2016 and 2017, the company noted.

As part of the program, investments are also being proposed to establish an R&D center for the development of new propulsion products, and an expanded Services hub for Northern Europe, both in Ulsteinvik, Norway.

The proposal on Thursday follows a series of cost reduction initiatives carried out over the past three years to improve the affordability and competitiveness of the company’s Marine business. The proposed job reductions are in addition to the reduction of 1,000 employees announced in May and October last year. The Marine business currently employs around 4,800 people in 34 countries.

In the trading update on November 16, 2016, the company highlighted that there were no signs of a recovery in offshore oil & gas markets and orders for new equipment remain very weak, resulting in expectations of further revenue weakness for the business in 2017. Service revenues have also been impacted by lower utilization of vessels.

Mikael Makinen, Rolls-Royce, President – Marine, said: “The ongoing market weakness that has followed the dramatic fall in the price of oil continues to have an adverse impact upon our order book and profitability. We have made significant progress in transforming Marine into a far more agile and simplified business than we were and we have to take further steps to address our cost base.

“Reducing our workforce is never an easy decision, but we have no option but to take further action beyond the changes we have made to date.”

Warren East, CEO of Rolls-Royce added: “I am very supportive of Mikael and his team’s proactive efforts to optimize our Marine business in extremely challenging market conditions and at the same time to target investment on future opportunities. The actions being taken will enhance the competitive strength and resilience of the business in what remains an attractive market for Rolls-Royce.”

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