South Africa-based automotive and energy storage group Metair Investments has posted increased operating profit for 2018— boosted by its lead-acid operations in Turkey and Romania.
Metair said group operating profit for the year ended 31 December 2018 increased by 19% to just over ZAR1 billion (US$69 million) compared to the previous year. Revenue for 2018 was ZAR10.28bn, an increase of 8% compared to 2017.
Group earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) increased 9.4% to ZAR1.33bn.
Metair’s MD Theo Loock (pictured) said: “Contrary to the reporting trend by South African businesses that have invested overseas, we saw a strong contribution from our overseas acquisitions in the energy storage vertical, particularly Mutlu Akü in Turkey, which managed to outperform the Turkish lira currency weakness for a fifth year in a row, and Rombat in Romania which operated at full capacity in the second half.”
Meanwhile, Metair said its investment in promoting South African lead-acid firm First National Battery brand and retail network was bearing fruit, with a 6% improvement to ZAR162m in profit before interest and tax.
In February 2018, Metair acquired a 35% stake in South African battery tech provider Prime Motors— which is to become Metair’s “incubator and R&D centre for lithium-ion battery development”.
Prime Motors has “secured its first lithium-ion coating and cell assembly manufacturing line, developed a low temperature lithium-ion starter battery, received its first request to quote for lithium-ion starter batteries and supplied several lithium-ion battery pack solutions, while launching the first electric vehicle business in Romania in partnership with Rombat”, Metair said.
In June 2018, Metair called off a bid to acquire Slovenia-based lead battery firm Tovarna Akumulatorskih Baterij because of volatility in currency markets of emerging countries.