DAVIS, Calif., Dec. 9, 2011 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Moller International, Inc. (MI) (OTC-QB: MLER), the developer of the Skycar(R) aircraft, the Rotapower(R) line of rotary engines and the Aerobot(R) line of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV), announced today that it has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with a Joint Venture (JV) partner in China for the development, manufacturing, distribution and sales of its Skycar, Rotapower engine, and Aerobot products in the People's Republic of China.
Under the provisions of the memorandum, MI will join a consortium consisting of a private company in China and representatives from a local Economic and Development Zone to form a JV in the People's Republic of China.
The memorandum outlines the objectives of the JV, including the JV's total investment for first, second and third installment funding for the Moller Skycar Project of 84.5 billion Rmb ($13.7 billion) and production plans with the goal of reaching 100,000 units per year by 2018.
MI is to contribute the use of its Intellectual Property (IP) to the JV including aircraft designs, Rotapower aviation engines, ducted fan designs, and its flight control system architecture and in return MI is receiving a seven-figure "up front" equity investment to be followed by a substantially larger investment in support of operations in the US.
In addition the memorandum states that MI would receive 25% ownership in the newly formed JV, and a royalty on each unit produced and sold in China, although the amount of the royalty is yet to be determined.
The Joint Venture is to be responsible for financing the Skycar Project as well as building a number of related facilities in China, including an office complex, dormitory, 5-Star hotel, R&D, Leisure, Commercial and Marketing centers, a wind tunnel test facility, Rotapower engine production facility, and 5 showrooms for the JV's products.
The Chinese company will assist with land allocations, adherence to government policies, licensing and administrative support for Government backed financing, grants, as well as general industry coordination and support.
"While we still have to complete a formal agreement, we are confident that this consortium's intentions are clear... to become the world leader in Personal Airborne Transportation," said Dr. Paul Moller. "Our unique blend of technology has created practical vertical take off and landing capable aircraft, which makes a shift to personal air travel possible."
"We look forward to a partnership that can help MI achieve its long-term strategic objectives, particularly in the Asian markets," said Bruce Calkins, MI's General Manager. "This is a potentially historic shift for the Company and could be the first step along the long-sought path of making this new form of personal transportation a reality."
Mike Shanley, MI's Director of International Sales and Marketing, speaking from China, said, "Our technology linked with China's financial stability and rapidly expanding transport requirements make this the perfect time for this project."
The formal agreement is expected to be completed by early January 2012.
About Moller International
Moller International has its origins in research carried out by Dr. Paul Moller when he tested a scale model of his VTOL capable aircraft in 1961. A full-size version of the earlier VTOL aircraft was demonstrated in 1965. In 1967, research was conducted with the specific purpose of developing vertical takeoff aircraft for the consumer market.
Today, Moller International (OTC-QB: MLER) is a fully reporting public company that has continued to develop a number of VTOL aircraft employing Rotapower(R) engines and stabilization systems. Products in development are the M400 Skycar(R), Neuera(R), and a newly designed 2-passenger model called the Skycar 200 LS intended to qualify as a Light Sport Aircraft under existing FAA categories. The Company also has other VTOL aircraft in development targeted at the military, public safety, commercial and consumer markets.
The Skycar(R) has been featured on a number of TV programs including CBS 60 Minutes, "Highway In the Sky", NBC's Today Show "Today's American Story", and History Channel's, "Greatest Movie Gadgets: Then and Now."