The board of Antonov plc, the transmissions technology company, has announced that it has signed heads of agreement for a production licence with Zhejiang Geely Automobile Gearbox Co; the transmission manufacturing subsidiary of Geely Automotive, one of China's leading vehicle manufacturers.

The licence would be for the production of the company's TX6 six-speed automatic transmission.

The Antonov board emphasised that a production licence agreement has not been signed with Geely at this stage, but said that 'an announcement is being made due to certain shareholder speculation that the board has become aware of.'

Under the terms of the proposed production licence agreement, Antonov and Geely will work closely together in order to develop the TX6 to production to meet Geely's 'aggressive' production timetable for its own vehicles and to make the transmission available to other vehicle makers worldwide.

Under the terms of the proposed production licence agreement, Antonov will receive both licence fees and production royalties.

Geely has already taken two models of conventional automatic transmission to production and the Antonov TX6 will be an addition to this model line-up.

The chairman of Antonov, Christopher Ross, has also been instrumental in securing the deal relating to LTI, between Geely and Manganese Bronze, where he is deputy chairman.

Mr An Conghui, vice president of Geely Automotive, said: "Geely are pleased to have signed heads of agreement on this production licence for the Antonov technology, which will further strengthen Geely's transmission product range.  We look forward to working with Antonov on their transmission technology."

John Moore, CEO of Antonov plc, said: "We are pleased to be working with Geely who have already developed their own transmissions and have the production infrastructure in place. This will enable a rapid programme to start of production."


Antonov said that it 'expects to make a further announcement to shareholders in due course'.