British engineering and aerospace giant Rolls-Royce Thursday defied widespread economic gloom by reporting a 10 percent rise in underlying pre-tax profits to 880 million pounds ($1.2 billion) for 2008.
The civilian and military aero-engine producer said its order books grew to a record 55.5 billion pounds in the reporting period up to the end of December 2008. Sales increased by 22 percent over the year to 9 billion pounds.
However, Rolls-Royce warned that underlying profits for the current financial year were likely to remain unchanged, while turnover would grow.
"2009 is going to be a very difficult year for the global economy," Rolls-Royce chief executive John Rose said. The "unprecedented" economic gloom would have an impact on the company, its suppliers and customers.
But he was upbeat about the company's long-term prospects, and forecast the capability to double its revenues though organic growth in the next decade.
So far this year though, Rolls-Royce has announced a clutch of new contracts for clients including the Ministry of Defence and Germany's Lufthansa airline.
The company announced around 2,300 job cuts last November.