In this file photo, a VW Polo moves down the assembly line at the VWSA plant in Uitenhage.
CAPE TOWN -  Automotive parts maker Metair Investments lifted headline earnings a share 21 percent to 160 cents in the six months to June 30 in spite of challenging conditions in the European and local motor industries.

“These pleasing results reflect delivery against our strategic objectives at an operating level, where we were able to counter economic challenges through volumes and higher value component opportunities,” MD Theo Loock said in a statement on Wednesday.

 Group revenue increased 19 percent to R5.3 billion and operating profit grew 21 percent to R499 million with the group operating margin improving slightly to 9.3 percent from 9.2 percent. Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) increased 19 percent to R699m.

 Metair is a leading international manufacturer, distributor and retailer of batteries and automotive components.

.“Both business verticals delivered real volume growth which supported the improved performance. In the energy storage vertical, Mutlu Akü achieved an 85 percent increase in exports, while growing the aftermarket in a tough economy and maintaining OEM (original equipment manufacturer) volumes in a declining market." 

First National Battery recovered as planned due to improved market and competitive positioning. 

The automotive components vertical benefitted from improved manufacturing volumes, customer diversification and a higher level of localisation.

Metair’s major OEM customer volumes rose 5 percent, mainly due to increased exports, with some of the increased volume output related to contingency plans for the renewal of wage agreements planned for the second half of 2019.

Loock said a stable and high-volume production environment in the second half would see the group benefit from a sustained upward volume trend, buoyed by higher local OEM production and export volumes in the automotive components vertical.