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Rolls-Royce forms gearbox production JV with Germany's Liebherr-Aerospace

[LONDON] British engineering group Rolls-Royce said it would form a joint venture with Germany's Liebherr-Aerospace to develop manufacturing facilities for a new, more efficient aero-engine's gearbox.

The world's second-largest maker of aero-engines is working on a new Ultrafan engine which could be ready to power aircraft by 2025. The engine will be at least 25 per cent more fuel-efficient than the current generation.

The JV will be based in Friedrichshafen, Germany, and will produce components for the power gearbox in the new partner's existing facilities, with a view to building a new factory as production volumes rise.

Rolls-Royce's German unit has already started to build an 80 million euro test centre for the gearboxes south of Berlin.

The aerospace division of Rolls-Royce, which is headquartered in central England, is in the middle of a cost-cutting programme as part of a plan to boost aero-engine profitability, which has lagged that of bigger rival General Electric.