Antonov shares almost doubled after the company confirmed the most significant licensing deal yet for its automatic transmission technology.
Antonov said ‘a major Japanese car firm’ – widely believed to be Honda – had agreed to license several of its patents. The manufacturer has been testing prototype transmissions based on Antonov’s patented AAD technology with a view to using them in its medium-sized cars.
The deal is Antonov’s first with a major automotive OEM, and shares leapt by 90% to 26.75p following the announcement, valuing the business at £24m.
Chief executive Mike Emmerson said exact terms of the deal were subject to negotiation, but confirmed it would be non-exclusive. That means Antonov can continue attempting to negotiate similar agreements with other vehicle manufacturers.
The firm said AAD holds out the prospect of making automatic transmissions simpler, lighter and more fuel-efficient than is possible with current systems. It claimed tests show cost and fuel efficiency improvements of up to 40% and 30% respectively.
However, the lengthy and painstaking development process involved in getting its concept accepted by the world’s big car companies has left Antonov investors needing nerves of steel.
The business has continually needed to return to the markets for more funding, reflecting the cash-burn involved in developing its technology without a significant revenue stream.
But Emmerson predicted that the successful conclusion of the Japanese negotiations would ‘dramatically enhance Antonov, both in the eyes of the industry and the financial community.’