An illustration of a Rolls-Royce reactor Image Credit: Rolls-Royce

Rolls-Royce Holdings Plc has reached an agreement under which Qatar will invest in the British aerospace firm’s small modular reactor business.

The company already signed a deal with the oil-producing nation to invest billions in green engineering projects. This latest move will see Rolls-Royce give up some of its stake in the SMR unit, according to the Daily Telegraph, as Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund takes a 10 per cent equity share.

Qatar will invest 85 million pounds ($112 million) in Rolls-Royce SMR Limited. The Rolls-Royce SMR business is now fully funded, the company said in a statement.

The shares fell 3.5 per cent as of 8.13am in London on Monday.

Rolls-Royce, which has seen its aerospace business gutted by the pandemic, is looking to branch out into new technologies including small nuclear reactors. CEO Warren East has said he wants to rebalance the business in the wake of the coronavirus.

UK business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said the SMR investment “is a clear vote of confidence in the UK’s global leadership in nuclear innovation”.

The government invested 250 million pounds in the project as part of the latest funding round, which has given Rolls enough money to proceed with obtaining design approval and identifying locations for on-site assembly of its plants.

Rolls-Royce also announced a partnership with EasyJet Plc on Monday to research electrical and hydrogen propulsion systems. The study will start next month and run for as many as two years, the companies said, and will also include analysis of areas like fuel production, transportation, storage and handling.