South Africa-based automotive and energy storage group Metair Investments has launched a EUR300 million ($353m) bid to acquire European lead battery firm Tovarna Akumulatorskih Baterij (TAB).
Metair said the bid is still “in the early stages”— but confirmed it is in exclusive talks that could see it take control of and expand the Slovenian firm’s international automotive batteries and energy storage business.
The acquisition would see Johannesburg-listed Metair increase its grip on lead battery production in the region, having already acquired Romania’s Rombat and Mutlu in Turkey. Metair also has a strategic partnership with German family-owned lead battery firm Moll.
Metair said if the TAB acquisition goes ahead, it would invest to “enhance” production capabilities and technological development.
TAB, whose battery brands include Topla, Vesna and Volthor, manufactures a combined annual total of more than six million lead-acid flooded, VRLA AGM and VRLA Gel batteries across three factories for markets in Europe, Asia and America.
Metair said the acquisition would make it “a key player in the global energy storage solutions market”. The deal would support Metair’s goal of having a combined annual automotive battery production capacity of 15 million units and industrial cell manufacturing of two million units.
Metair has told investors its board’s “preliminary view is that it would seek to preserve and would consider expanding TAB´s existing production sites to benefit from the competitive manufacturing cost base in TAB´s current locations”.
Metair said in a Johannesburg Stock Exchange announcement that if the company reached a deal with TAB, completion “would likely only occur during the final quarter of 2018”.
TAB was established in 1965 as a subsidiary of Rudnik Mežica Holding (Lead Mine Mežica Holding) in a region where lead industry activities date back more than 350 years.