Transense shares inflate on Michelin tyre deal

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The Independent Online

Transense Technologies' shares leapt nearly 17 per cent yesterday after the company licensed its system that warns drivers of falling tyre pressure to a unit of the French tyre-maker Michelin.

A US federal law passed late last year will require pressure-monitoring systems on all new cars and trucks sold by 2003 in the US. A company spokeswoman said Transense expects similar moves in Europe. Transense said it had signed a worldwide licensing agreement with Société de Technologie Michelin, allowing the French group to use its Surface Acoustic Wave technology exclusively and to license it to other companies. The shares shot up from 2,312.5 to 2,700.

The sensor is placed in all four tyres. Each is about 1 centimetre (half an inch) in diameter. The Oxford-based com- pany called its product unique because rival devices use lithium batteries, making them considerably more expensive.

"We use a sound wave rather than a lithium battery," said the spokeswoman, who added that such batteries "can be dangerous, exceptionally expensive and very difficult to dispose of."

Pressure was one of the major sources of concern in the first recall of 6.5 million tyres by Bridgestone's Firestone unit in the US, many of which had been fitted to Ford Motor's Explorer sport utility vehicle.

Underinflated tyres can overheat, leading to tread separation and blowouts, while overinflation can lead to increased strain and wear and possible burst tyres.

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