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Rolls-Royce (1971) Limited

Volume 975: debated on Friday 7 December 1979

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asked the Secretary of State for Industry who at present is the legal owner of the shares of Rolls-Royce (1971) Ltd.; who has the right to exercise control over the shares; and how the situation is affected by the provisions of the Industry Bill.

The NEB at present owns 100 per cent. of the shares of Lolls-Royce Ltd. Its rights to exercise control over the shares are limited by the provisions of the Industry Act 1975 and the directions made under that Act. It is for the NEB to consider how to exercise its powers and discharge its responsibilities in relation to its share-holding in the period before the Industry Bill is enacted. Consultations are taking place between the NEB and the Department about appropriate arrangements for this interim period.

asked the Secretary of State for Industry what instructions he has issued to the new National Enterprise Board with respect to its relationship with Rolls-Royce (1971) Ltd.

My right hon. Friend has told the chairman of the Board that the transfer of the shareholding in Rolls-Royce Ltd. will not be possible to effect until the Industry Bill has received the Royal Assent. In the intervening period, there may be legal and practical aspects which will require careful consideration, and, while these are being resolved, the Department and the NEB will have to look at particular issues on an individual basis, having regard to the requirements of the Industry Act 1975.

asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he will confirm that the memorandum of agreement between Rolls-Royce (1971) Ltd. and the National Enterprise Board is still in force and that both organisations are still bound by its provisions.

This is a matter for the NEB and Rolls-Royce, who entered into the memorandum in the circumstances which applied in 1976. However, since the Department is now preparing to take over ownership of Rolls-Royce Ltd. in anticipation of the enactment of the Industry Bill. I understand that the memorandum is no longer considered appropriate by either party.