21.05.2008

Airtrax to stop manufacturing

Airtrax the US based manufacturer of Fork trucks and aerial lifts with Omni-directional wheels is to cease production. It will in future focus on technology licensing.

In a recent filing, the company, which exhibited at this year’s ARA Rental show, disclosed that it had ceased to operate due to a lack of financing. Since then, several significant personnel and management changes have taken place, including the appointment of William Hungerville as acting chief executive officer, replacing former CEO Robert Watson. Hungerville has been a director of the company since 2002.
The Airtrax Omni-directional wheel, works well on scissor lifts and fork lifts.

The company has also announced that it has raised $100,000 in new investment capital from a group of five institutional investors, including Platinum Partners of New York and Alpha Capital from Lichtenstein.

Airtrax has issued investors secured debentures, convertible into shares of
common stock at a conversion price equal to $0.05, for an aggregate
purchase price of $99,995.28. The debentures mature on November 16, 2008
and accrue interest at eight percent.

Airtrax says that it has already reduced its cash “burn rate” and has begun the process of acting on its newly defined business plan.
The Airtrax Cobra ATX-1933 a super 19ft scissor lift, but hardly worth nearly ,000 dealer net!

The $100,000 only represent a portion of the funds needed to meet the company's long term capital requirements and is therefore continuing to seek
additional investment capital.

Vertikal Comment

This is no great surprise, Airtrax has burnt its way though a large amount of investors cash as it worked on commercialising the Omni-directional patents that it acquired to set up the company.

Progress has been painfully slow and when its aerial lifts finally made it to this year’s Rental show, its idea of ‘show special’ pricing was $26,681 for a 19ft ‘elevator’ scissor lift, triple that of a regular machine. There are simply not enough benefits in the idea to justify such a hefty premium.

However the machines were well built and the technology works well, if a scissor lift manufacturer was to acquire the patents, and add the drive train to a standard product in order to reduce the cost, it might have a decent niche product on its hands.

This is a prime example of investors being sold a pup. The chances of ever making a commercial success with these products in isolation and particularly from a standing start were always remote at best. Someone has probably benefited from its efforts, but it is hardly likely to be those who invested, unless they were looking for a tax loss.

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