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Can the Rolls-Royce share price rise in the months ahead?

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The Rolls-Royce (LSE: RR) share price has followed a disappointing trajectory over the past few years. Climbing to 130p near the end of 2020, it seemed the stock may have been gaining momentum. However, this was not the case. Currently sitting at 97p, the Rolls-Royce share price has hovered around the 100p mark for most of 2021. It’s up only 6% year-on-year and this raises the question: can the share price rise higher over the next few months?

Rolls-Royce share price problems

The pandemic hit Rolls-Royce hard. The firm was forced to cut 7,000 jobs in the face of a £4bn loss for 2020. Rolls makes most of its money servicing aeroplane engines, but with the travel industry grinding to a halt during the pandemic, business dried up. This forced the company to issue 6.4bn new shares in October 2020. While this raised £2bn, it halved the value of the share price, vastly reducing the earnings per share.

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2020 was a bad year for Rolls-Royce, but the firm was experiencing problems even before the pandemic. In 2019, problems with its Trent 1000 engines forced the firm to fork out nearly £800m. This raised the total cost of Trent 1000 engine setbacks to £2.4bn for 2017-23. These expenses put a huge strain on free cash flow, something the firm could not afford going into the pandemic.

Results dependent

On 5 August, Rolls will be publishing its half-year results. This will offer investors insight into the future direction of the business. The firm itself has set out several targets for the last six months of 2021 and for 2022. These include turning free cash flow positive by the end of 2021 and achieving annualised savings of over £1.3bn by the end of 2022.

The half-year results should give investors a closer idea of the progress of these targets. If targets are looking achievable, I believe we will see positive growth in the Rolls-Royce share price. However, these targets are heavily reliant on the increase of engine flying hours. If travel problems linked to the pandemic persist, it could vastly reduce the likelihood of these targets being reached.

Will the shares climb higher this month?

I expect the August results will be a good indication of the direction of the Rolls-Royce share price in the coming months. However, this month’s share price will rely on a broader range of factors. The UK is set to abandon all Covid-19 restrictions on 19 July. If this is pushed back (again) it will likely hinder any immediate Rolls-Royce share price growth. In addition to this, in an interview with Bloomberg this month, Engineering and Technology Director Simon Burr asserted his optimism in moving beyond the Trent 1000 jet engine problems. Encouraging statements like this are great for investors’ confidence and could help drive up the Rolls-Royce share price.

I think it’s hard to say if the share price will rise in the immediate future. It has shared its plans to overcome 2020 problems and the August results should highlight the probability of these targets being achieved. If the results bring good news, I think we could see a rise in the Rolls-Royce share price immediately afterwards and in the coming months.

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Dylan Hood has no positions 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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