Thursday, 22 July 2010

AGM 2010 and Tech Talk

Just a gentle reminder that it is the AGM taking place next week on the 29th of July 2010
More information here:

The annual report is available here for those who have not yet read it:

With promises of a launch of the quieter transmission from Infinitrak in MTD lawnmowers almost for a year now, and the possible news of the KERS unit being fitted to a Jag anytime soon as part of the TSB project there should be something for everyone, or just a sausage roll.

Progress with Allison and their standardised IVT transmission - and where they stand on licenses as well as the news on the current testing rigs for the European bus & truck manufacturer should be covered.

Additionally new partnerships as Rotrak for superchargers will be a topic of interest too. From the books it looks like TRK have put all the money in (even if it is as a loan - which seems a bit shakey) - but there is a nice photo of the CAD model on the website now.

Tech Talk
If you're interested the traditional pre-AGM tech talk has been arranged on this topic:
Subject... "The application of Toroidal Variable Auxiliary Drives (TVAD's) to super chargers"
Speakers... Roger Stone & Chris Brockbank
Time... 7:30pm on Wed 28th July

Seeing as the preliminary results stated they are going to try to focus on shareholder value (and in one comment say that the shareholders to date therefore have not been getting any), it will be an interesting AGM to see if director salaries, royalties and licenses are going to be addressed as well as if more investment in joint ventures is the new flavour of the board. 

The main concern is if the funds in the coffers are starting to burn holes in the boards pockets and they are getting jumpy. If there is excess money left in the coffers then a share-buy-back scheme might be the fastest way to deliver shareholder value. One other suggestion has been to get another licensee to purchase shares in the company - which is all well and good - but that is only likely to result in another share issue and dilution of shareholder value. Heaven forbid, they could even issue a DIVIDEND. But I've not got any hopes up.

Analysis of the preliminary report showed the short to medium term future of Torotrak is in the hands of Allison Transmissions - all outcomes are good - as long as they keep their current license - not continuing at all would obviously be bad. Some people seem to be holding out for Allison to take up all their global exclusivity options and more in terms of power rating - and anything else is bad news - which I can't agree with - as long as they are bringing their transmission to market that's great. If they are focussing on one solution at a time to get it to market and make it work in time for the emissions legislation that will hit - brilliant. The only bad news is if they stop all development - which for a company which owns 9% of TRK - is on the "highly unlikely" side of the scale.

Some news of Carraro would be welcomed, and any other tractor projects. We don't hold anything out for news on TATA, but to still be flagged as under concept studies for commercial vehicles (see page 7 of the annual review) after all this time - and allow to be named - would suggest it's not the flaming torch of shareholder value it once was.

Torotrak are a company in flux. They started out as an academic research project and after targeting the much maligned SUV market (which collapsed before TRK got there) have diversified around in both application and size. Scaleability is being explored, but so is the business model of licensing and partnership because in today's tough times of austerity - there isn't a single car manufacturer project listed on the page 7 diagram. How do TRK get people to invest in their technology and commit to getting it to market ? Buying a seat on the JV board seems to be the current idea - but is that really going to get enough voting rights to make things happen ?

Perhaps at some point, TRK need to design a standardised transmission for a product that needs a CVT (scooters perhaps), find a customer who will put them in (and buy them!), and get a subcontractor to make them and sell them at a profit. Then and only then will Torotrak have real control over their destiny, at the moment they are just spectators, just like us shareholders. As such the JV with Rotrex will be watched with great interest.

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