* FY pretax profit up 24 pct to 1.43 bln stg
* Revenue up 8 pct to 12.2 bln stg
* Simon Robertson to retire as chairman
* BP non-exec Ian Davis to take over as chairman in May
By Rhys Jones
LONDON, Feb 14 Britain's Rolls-Royce
reported a 24 percent rise in full-year profit, led by strong
growth at its civil aerospace unit, and said it did not expect
the grounding of Boeing's Dreamliner jet to dent profits.
Rolls, which makes the Trent 1000 engines that power some
Dreamliners, on Thursday said last month's worldwide grounding
of the 50 jets in commercial service would not hit its profits.
"Boeing continues production so no, it won't impact us, and
I'm confident Boeing will sort the problems out soon," chief
executive John Rishton told reporters. "For the full year 2013,
we expect the group to see good growth in underlying profit."
Rolls, the world's second-largest maker of aircraft engines
behind U.S. group General Electric, also said chairman
Simon Robertson would retire after eight years in the job and be
replaced by BP non-executive director Ian Davis after the
company's annual general meeting in May.
Davis, a former chairman at management consultancy firm
McKinsey, joins Rolls-Royce at a time when corruption
allegations cast a shadow over the company.
Late last year Rolls said it could face prosecution after
Britain's Serious Fraud Office ordered it to conduct an internal
inquiry into possible bribery and corruption by intermediaries
in China, Indonesia and other overseas markets.
"Ian has experience under a raft of different
circumstances," said Rishton, who highlighted Davis' experience
in dealing with "challenging situations" such as the 2010 BP oil
spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
Rolls said lawyer David Gold, hired to lead a review of its
compliance procedures after the allegations emerged, had started
his review last week but that it had nothing more to say about
the alleged corruption.
The aerospace group posted a record underlying pretax profit
of 1.43 billion pounds ($2.18 billion) for 2012, ahead of an
average forecast of 1.37 billion pounds, according to a Thomson
Reuters I/B/E/S poll of 14 analysts.
The result was Rolls' tenth straight year of profit growth.
Rolls, a major British exporter which dates back to 1884,
said revenues rose 8 percent to 12.2 billion pounds, boosted by
a strong performance at Tognum, its marine and
industrial engine joint venture with Daimler.
Revenues at its civil aerospace business, which accounts for
around half of group sales, rose 16 percent, helped by soaring
demand for more fuel-efficient engines for planes made by
Europe's Airbus and U.S. rival Boeing.
Global airlines will buy $3.5 trillion of aircraft over the
next 20 years to meet demand for travel to and from emerging
markets - especially in Asia - and renew ageing fleets in the
West, according to the world's big two planemakers.
"The 2012 result is just fine ... so too, we believe, is all
of the guidance for 2013 other than that for cash flow, guided
to be around breakeven. That may prove a bone of contention in
the short-term," said Jefferies analyst Sandy Morris.
Shares in the group, which have risen 12 percent this year,
were 1 percent down at 974.5 pence by 0915 GMT, valuing the
group at around 18 billion pounds.
The company, whose website says a Rolls-Royce powered
aircraft takes off or lands every 2.5 seconds, increased the
interim dividend by 11 percent to 19.5 pence per share. Its
order book rose 4 percent to 60.1 billion pounds.