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Will the Rolls-Royce share price bounceback in 2021?

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With a 12% fall in the Rolls Royce (LSE: RR) share price in the past three weeks, this question comes up yet again. The Rolls-Royce share price has seen plenty of ups and downs in the past year (though it’s up almost 9.5% over 12 months) given the company’s heightened sensitivity related to all sorts of developments from vaccines to its own finances. 

Why did the share price fall?

The Rolls-Royce share price fall coincided with the Norwegian government stopping the sale of its marine engines manufacturer, Bergen Engines, to a Russian company. Bergen Engines is a Norway-based business. The Norwegian government sees the sale as a security threat, because it has no security co-operation with Russia. 

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What does the blocked Bergen Engines’ sale mean for the company?

Hiving off Bergen Engines can be seen in the context of the company’s big restructuring, which started almost a year ago. As Rolls-Royce puts it in its release regarding this subsidiary “Bergen Engines….is not core to our long-term strategy”.  

Besides slowing-down its overhaul, the blocked sale also means a delay in raising finances. With its business at a near standstill in 2020, Rolls-Royce has planned to raise £2bn through disposals to keep itself well funded. This adds to the company’s other efforts at fundraising, which have included significant new equity and debt, in the past year. 

What’s next for the Rolls-Royce share price?

Delays in financing itself, especially in these uncertain times, is negative news for the company. There is no way of knowing how long it will take for Rolls-Royce to find another buyer. 

Yet, it is one of the many developments that can impact Rolls-Royce right now.

Recently, the company started building the world’s biggest aero-engine, which will provide greater fuel-efficiency. Also, it runs on sustainable fuel, which is made of waste products. 

Clean energy is a growing focus area for both policy makers and consumers, so this sounds like a step in the right direction.

But I think the biggest impact on the Rolls-Royce share price will be from its future financial developments. Some improvements should be visible later this year, as air travel comes back to some extent. I think these can have a positive impact on the company’s stock market performance.

Would I buy the shares?

While I think that the Rolls-Royce share price can rise over the next few months, albeit unevenly, I am hesitant to make a long-term call on it yet. The reason is that there is still too much up in the air right now. 

Rolls-Royce was loss-making even before the pandemic struck, and now it is in an even worse place. I am cautiously positive on the stock given that it has a reputable position in a specialised industry, which cannot be replicated easily. At the same time, its financials are in an undeniable funk too. 

I am watching it for a turnaround before buying the share for the long haul. 

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Manika Premsingh has no position in any of the shares mentioned. The Motley Fool UK has no position in any of the shares mentioned. Views expressed on the companies mentioned in this article are those of the writer and therefore may differ from the official recommendations we make in our subscription services such as Share Advisor, Hidden Winners and Pro. Here at The Motley Fool we believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.

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