Metair eyes Slovenian battery maker

Metair, the listed battery and automotive components maker, said its proposed acquisition of Slovenian car battery maker TAB would be value accretive. Photo: Supplied

JOHANNESBURG – Metair, the listed battery and automotive components maker, said yesterday that its proposed acquisition of Slovenian car battery maker Tovarna Akumulatorskih Baterij (TAB) would be value accretive.

Metair confirmed reports that it was eyeing TAB, in a 300million (R4.43billion) transaction that Metair chief executive Theo Loock yesterday said was “by design”.

Addressing shareholders, Loock said the mooted acquisition was a responsible step. “It is not something that was taken lightly. It was not a random act.” Metair chief financial officer Sjoerd Douwenga said the company was still undergoing necessary due diligence for the acquisition target. Metair would ensure “a value-enhancing” deal for its shareholders, he said.

Metair on Friday said that it had submitted an “indicative non-binding” offer to acquire TAB to the controlling shareholders of TAB. TAB comprises after-market automotive battery manufacturing facilities in Slovenia and Macedonia, an automotive after-market battery distribution network throughout Europe, as well as a global industrial battery business, and an energy storage business, an area with enormous growth opportunities, according to Loock.

Following its initial foray into international markets, such as Turkey and Romania, Metair’s stated priority is to grow into five continents in the next five years and produce 50million batteries. The company has production facilities in South Africa, Turkey, Romania and Kenya, as well as a presence in the UK and Germany.

Loock said Metair was in exclusive discussions regarding the proposed transaction, which he said was still in early stages. During the period of exclusivity, Metair would, among others, go through TAB’s past financial statements. The exclusivity period would end on October 1, he said.

Douwenga said TAB’s distribution footprint in countries such as Italy, France, Slovenia and Poland was an advantage for Metair. “They have a fantastic distribution network,” he said.

Metair on Friday said, if implemented, the transaction was expected to execute on Metair’s stated strategy of expanding its Energy Vertical business, with a targeted combined automotive battery production of 15million units and industrial cell manufacturing of 2million units per annum. It would also result in Metair becoming a key player in the global energy storage solutions market.

Metair has identified TAB as a scarce strategic asset, as it has a strong global presence in the industrial batteries segment and provides a platform to secure Metair’s own European after-market distribution network. Metair shares declined 1.4percent on the JSE yesterday to close at R19.50.