Rolls Royce's boss just made the biggest understatement of the year

Rolls Royce John Rishton probably just said the biggest company understatement this year.

In the aerospace and defence giant’s full year results, Rishton said 2014 was a “mixed year.”

Well, you could say that, considering the over 23% drop in the stock price, underlying revenue dropping for the first time in 10 years and a major restructuring of its aerospace division.

Investors seem to think it was a little worse than a “mixed year,” though:

Rishton added:

We have met guidance for 2014 revenue and profit in challenging conditions while continuing to build strong foundations for future growth.

2014 has been a mixed year during which underlying revenue fell for the first time in a decade, reflecting reduced spending by our defence customers, macroeconomic uncertainty, and falling commodity prices.

In response to these headwinds, we are taking decisive action to improve the Group’s financial performance and accelerating our focus on the 4Cs: Customer, Concentration, Cost and Cash. This includes a major restructuring programme in our Aerospace Division and continued rationalisation of our Land & Sea Division.

The fundamentals of our business remain solid, with long-term growth in demand for the complex power systems we deliver across our Aerospace and Land & Sea Divisions.

The results showed the following decline in a number of areas:

Oh, and there was also another statement to kickstart 2015 – the President and CEO of Rolls-Royce North America

decided to retire after 17 years with the company.

For this year, Rolls Royce added that revenue and profit will fall again on “deteriorating markets.”

“Since we last gave guidance, the external environment has deteriorated in some of our major markets. In particular, oil prices have halved over this period, creating increased uncertainty for many of our markets and customers, particularly in Marine Offshore. As a consequence, our full-year guidance is framed within a broad range and excludes the effects of foreign currency translation,” warned Rolls Royce.

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