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Rolls-Royce buys out control-system joint venture

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Rolls-Royce plc announced Friday that it will acquire the remaining half of Aero Engine Controls, which designs control systems for aircraft.

Aero Engine Controls is a joint venture established in 2009 by London-based Rolls-Royce and Charlotte, N.C.-based Goodrich.

Aero Engine Controls has its headquarters in the United Kingdom, but a large engineering staff works out of offices near Indianapolis International Airport. The company announced plans in January 2011 to grow its local work force to more than 200 people by 2013.

Rolls-Royce builds jet engines in Indianapolis and employs about 4,000 people locally. The joint venture, established in 2009, designs and manufactures electronic engine controllers, fuel pumps and fuel metering units for a wide range of Rolls-Royce engines and other programs.

Rolls-Royce decided to buy out its venture partner because Goodrich Corp. is being acquired by Hartford, Conn.-based United Technologies Corp.

Rolls-Royce did not disclose the purchase price but said the deal would not have a material effect on this year’s earnings.

Engine control systems play an increasingly important part in enhancing the fuel efficiency and overall performance of modern jet engines, Rolls-Royce said in a prepared statement. The acquisition will give Rolls-Royce full ownership of a critical capability that confers competitive advantage, the company said.

Aero Engine Controls employs about 1,400 people at sites in Birmingham, Derby and Belfast in the United Kingdom and Indianapolis, Rolls-Royce said.

Rolls-Royce won’t complete the transaction until United Technologies completes its acquisition of Goodrich and the deal clears anti-trust regulators.

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