Metair snaps up 25% stake in Moll
Deal opens door to important Chinese battery market
JSE-LISTED Metair has gained entry into the increasingly important Chinese battery market through the acquisition of a 25.1 percent shareholding in German-based battery manufacturer and supplier Akkumulatorenfabrik Moll for €7.425 million (R111.02m).
Theo Loock, the managing director of the leading international manufacturer, distributor and retailer of energy storage solutions and automotive components, said yesterday that Metair’s investment in Moll was in line with the group’s globalisation strategy.
Loock said it was an important step in the delivery of the group’s strategic objectives for its energy storage vertical.
He said the transaction would also build an incubator for partnership with Moll and Chaowei Power Holdings, the Hong Kong Stock Exchangelisted Chinese company that was the largest producer of lead-acid e-bike batteries in China, with an annual production capacity of more than 140 million batteries.
“It provides Metair with a presence next to its European customers in Germany and expands Metair’s global reach through access to Europe and Asia. Additionally, it creates scope for product expansion across the mobility range and across technologies (e-bikes, two-wheeler, three-wheeler, four-wheeler, truck and electric vehicles).
“It also provides Metair with a small but very critical access point into the Chinese market, laying the platform for future technology transfer and co-operation,” Loock said.
A technical aid agreement on the advancement of Moll enhanced flooded batteries (EFB) and EFBPlus technology forms part of the transaction and will facilitate technology transfer to Metair.
It will also enhance Metair’s access to the world intelligence pool on battery technology through the combination of skills from more than 30 doctorates throughout the three partnering companies.
The investment in Moll, with Chaowei as a partner, provides Metair with access to the Chinese market through Moll’s interest of a 5 percent shareholding in Chaowei’s Greenfields automotive production facilities in China.
This 60 000m² manufacturing facility is expected to reach 4 million automotive after-market batteries by the end of 2018.
Founded in 1945, the Moll group manufactures a range of batteries at its site in Bad Staffelstein in Germany and is a supplier to a number of European car manufacturers, including Audi, Daimler, Porsche, Skoda, SEAT, Lamborghini, Liebherr and Volkswagen.
Moll has a distribution network across Europe and Asia through three wholesalers and employs about 280 staff.
Chaowei acquired a stake in Moll in 2013, and since then the two companies have partnered on the development of EFB start-stop batteries for supply in China.
Chaowei is also involved in lithium-ion technology and annually produces about 300 000 lithium-ion pouch type cells for use in e-bikes.
Metair made the investment in Moll through one of its wholly owned subsidiaries.
Following the acquisition, the equity shareholding of Moll comprises Moll-Mohrstedt Family (39.66 percent); Leadnew, a subsidiary of Chaowei Power Holdings (34.46 percent); Metair Investments (25.1 percent); and Moll Beteiligungs (0.78 percent).
Johannesburg-based Metair manages an international portfolio of companies that manufacture, distribute and retail products for its energy storage and automotive component verticals. It exports its products to about 46 countries.
The group’s operations manufacture, assemble, distribute and retail energy storage products and automotive components in Africa, Europe, Turkey, the Middle East and Russia.
It also supplies batteries to major original equipment manufacturers in South Africa, Europe, Romania, Turkey and Russia through subsidiaries in Romania (Rombat), Turkey (Mutlu Akü) and South Africa (First National Battery).