UPDATE 1-Rolls-Royce sells helicopter engine stake to Turbomeca
LONDON, Sept 2 (Reuters) - Rolls-Royce has sold its 50 percent stake in the joint venture that makes engines for Apache and Merlin helicopters to Safran's Turbomeca for 293 million euros ($386 million).
France's Turbomeca will now assume full responsibility for managing the design, production and support of the RTM322 engine, which powers the Boeing Apache, AgustaWestland EH101 Merlin and NH90 helicopters.
Rolls, the world's second-largest maker of aeroplane engines behind U.S. group General Electric, on Monday said the RRTM Adour engine programme, which powers the BAE Systems made Hawk and Anglo-French Jaguar jets, would be unaffected by the sale, as are the other helicopter engine programmes in the Rolls-Royce portfolio.
Rolls is on a cost cutting drive after its CEO said in July it lags its major competitors in terms of managing costs and needs to narrow the gap.
Rolls shares in London, which have risen 29 percent this year, were 1.4 percent up at 1127 pence by 0733 GMT, valuing the group at around 21 billion pounds ($32 billion). Safran shares in Paris were 1.4 percent up at 42.6 euros.
Rolls said it would progressively transfer the operational responsibilities in the engine programme to Turbomeca over several years.
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