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© Torotrak Business | January 10, 2014

Torotrak finalises acquisition of Flybrid

Torotrak PLC has obtained the necessary shareholder approvals to complete its acquisition of Flybrid Automotive Ltd, a British engineering company at the forefront of hybrid vehicles.
With the acquisition of Flybrid, Torotrak now has the commercially viable, purely-mechanical flywheel M-KERS system in the market and can offer low cost, high performance hybrid systems for volume adoption in both passenger cars and commercial vehicles.

In addition, the fundraising and acquisition add the financing and expertise to accelerate the development of Torotrak’s other infinitely variable transmission technology applications. These include V-Charge variable supercharging for engine downsizing, and main drive transmission products as well as the company’s growing engineering consultancy capabilities.

“When we acquired a 20% stake in Flybrid back in March, we were certain of our combined technology’s potential. With the success of this offering, we’re delighted that our shareholders and the wider investment community have shown they share this belief,” said Jeremy Deering, Torotrak’s CEO. “The world can’t wait for electric hybrid and plug-in CO2 reduction technologies to mature. It needs affordable, effective solutions that can be implemented now and we are better placed than anybody today to provide that fresh approach without the cost and complexity of rival technologies.”

Jon Hilton, currently Managing Director of Flybrid, will join the board of Torotrak plc, bringing 30 years of powertrain engineering expertise gained at the highest level. His experience from championship winning motorsport, through the growth of Flybrid, to his current vice presidency of the Institute of Mechanical Engineers will be invaluable in supporting all of Torotrak’s product lines. Jon, together with Doug Cross, currently Technical Director of Flybrid, will also be key members of the enlarged group's executive team.

The company’s first joint product will be Flybrid M-KERS for commercial vehicles. This first-to-market technology will launch into trials in 2014 and into production one year later to offer affordable hybrid efficiency within a five year pay-back period. Torotrak is already working with vehicle OEMs and Tier One manufacturers in passenger car, off-highway, bus and coach segments and will increase this engagement as tougher new CO2 regulatory targets take hold. Opportunities for the take up of passenger car Flybrid M-KERS and the company’s innovative V-Charge technology are predicted to grow as the EU drives home its legislation to reduce emissions from 130 g/km in 2015 to a proposed 95 g/km phased in from 2020. Additional reductions to target the 68-78 g/km range are expected just five years later and further increase the market need for these solutions.

The £16 million of funds for the acquisition of Flybrid and to provide investment for the group have been raised from a combination of existing and new institutional investors and from Torotrak’s loyal private shareholder base. In a strong mark of confidence, Allison Transmission, the world's largest manufacturer of fully-automatic commercial vehicle transmissions, has increased its stake in Torotrak.

As well as funding the initial payments to acquire Flybrid, the proceeds will be used to finance the investment required for the commercialisation of Flybrid’s first manufactured product for the commercial vehicle market and to finance the ongoing design, development and testing of Torotrak’s V-Charge technology and Flybrid’s M-KERS technology for the passenger cars, as well as enhancing Torotrak’s testing and engineering capabilities.

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