Me­tair snaps up 25% stake in Moll

Deal opens door to im­por­tant Chi­nese bat­tery mar­ket

The Star Early Edition - - COMPANIES - Roy Cokayne

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).

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