Half-year results from Rolls Royce (RR.) are far from inspirational yet there is clear relief etched across the market's collective face. Investors can at least weigh a growing order book against figures showing underlying pre-tax profit fall to £439 million from £646 million a year earlier.
While it remains to be seen whether former ARM (ARM)-man, and new chief executive, Warren East can revive the fortunes of the aircraft engine manufacturer in the long-term, investors are obviously taking some heart from an order book up £2.8 billion to £76.5 billion, which most likely explains the shares modest 2.1% rise to 745.5p. It's worth noting that Mark Martin, manager of the Neptune UK Opportunities Fund featured in today's new issue of Shares, remains a supportive fan.
Record orders from Emirates for Trent 900 engines proved the main factor contributing to a 61% increase in order intake and a 4% increase in the order book.
Weakness in the group's offshore marine markets and the transition to more fuel efficient jet engines is being blamed for the £13.4 billion cap's patchy performance. Underlying group revenue slid 3% in the first six months of 2015 and this reflects an 8% decline in revenue from original equipment. This was partially offset by a 2% increase in services revenue, led by Civil Aerospace. By division, Aerospace revenue increased 2%, whilst Land & Sea revenue declined 12%.
Asssessing the reaction to today's results RBC Markets analyst Robert Stallard thought that: 'given the performance of the share price in July, we think the response from investors today could be one of relief - at least the situation has not got worse for Rolls, and we could see some stability at current levels.'