Metair says it's been approached by buyers interested in its Energy Storage business, particularly Turkish battery maker Mutlu Aku. The group says it's examining its options after a strategic review concluded that the separation of its Automotive and Energy Storage divisions would potentially unlock value for shareholders.
In an operational update, Metair said despite geopolitical challenges in Turkey it remained positive about the market outlook for Mutlu Aku as it entered the year-end high demand cycle. Metair management including CEO Theo Loock and chief financial officer Sjoerd Douwenga had stepped in to assist the local management team until the appointment of a new CEO following the resignation of Achim Lülsdorf last month.
In Romania, Prime Battery and Rombat had successfully completed the installation of the group's first Lithium-Ion battery cell manufacturing and assembly facility in Bucharest. The facility has the capacity to produce up to 1 million cells a year and marks the conclusion of Metair's €13.6 million greenfield development capital for Lithium-Ion technology, started in 2017. Production is expected to start in the second quarter of next year.
Although there have been production challenges in the South African OEM (original equipment manufacturer) market, it said the long-term prospects for its Automotive and spare parts business remained positive, with several car makers confirming new vehicle launches and investments. It said it was currently in talks to secure additional business related to the new models.
Metair said it would consider retaining the battery division as a separate vertical, or potentially selling the business.
In the interim, Metair remains focused on maximising the value potential for the Energy Storage vertical and on executing on the growth and expansion opportunities available for the Automotive Components vertical," the company said.
Its shares declined 1.4% to R23.30 yesterday.