British based technology company Torotrak has today reported financial results for the first half of the year that show record revenues, lowered costs and income from asset sales, although it is yet to secure a major volume deal in the automotive industry for its innovative Infinitely Varible Transmission (IVT) toroidal technology.

Torotrak said that its first half revenue was £1.1 million compared to £0.1 million in 2004 and £0.5 million for the full year 2005. The company, formed by flotation on the London Stock Exchange in 1998, also pointed to steps taken to lower operating costs and the beneficial cash impact from the recent sale of land and buildings for £3.5 million.

Torotrak also said that its 'Infinitrak' joint venture was now formed and operational. Torotrak maintains that the joint venture will result in the high volume production of IVT planned in the outdoor power equipment market for 2006.

Torotrak CEO Dick Elsy said in a statement: "The formation of Infinitrak is an exciting strategic development for Torotrak.  We are partnered with a major global manufacturer and together we have shown that IVT is capable of high-volume commercial exploitation. The work within Torotrak to open up new markets has secured a product and market portfolio which supports the short, medium and long-term future of the business. This is reflected in our half-year results, with revenue at record levels."

Torotrak's partner in the Inifinitrak joint venture is MTD Holdings of
Cleveland, Ohio. Torotrak has licensed the joint venture to manufacture infinitely variable Infinitrak transmissions for the outdoor power equipment (OPE) market, which covers a range of products from ride-on lawnmowers to compact tractors. The new joint venture is also vested with exclusive global rights to IVT technology for the OPE market in the 0-25kw power range together with exclusive North American rights in the 25-45kw power range, for compact tractors.

Sales of Infinitrak products to third parties in the OPE market are planned from 2008.

Torotrak also said that it is making good progress with an off-highway transmission manufacturing licensee.

However, the company is yet to announce a deal in the key automotive sector where the technology has been evaluated by a number of vehicle manufacturers and transmission specialists.

However, Torotrak said that the three-way project to develop a production representative transmission with Equos and Koyo is now focused on the calibration of the compact IVT in the target customer's vehicle

Torotrak said that it is 'working closely with the parent company of Equos which has appointed a senior business leader to take responsibility for the programme. The calibration process is crucial to getting the best out of the transmission in the eyes of their customer, one of the world's foremost car companies. This involves a comprehensive optimisation of engine and transmission, to achieve the optimum combination of fuel economy, performance and driving feel. This is a normal but critical development process for any new transmission.'

Torotrak claims that its revolutionary IVT toroidal automatic transmission technology can yield a fuel economy gain of as much as 20% (along with a consequential CO2 emissions reduction). Its 1998 flotation raised some £50 million amid hopes that the company could achieve as much as 80% penetration of the global automotive automatic transmission market by 2010.

Ford, GM and Toyota were among carmakers to exhibit strong initial interest and subsequently back off. However, the company has secured a number of technology evaluation and development licences with Tier 1 transmission companies.    

Dave Leggett

Further reading: Torotrak's IVT: a role to play in making the ICE more efficient? /features_detail.asp?art=728



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