Metair's First National Battery production line. The company expects earnings for the six months to June to be significantly higher than in the previous corresponding period. Photo: Supplied
Metair's First National Battery production line. The company expects earnings for the six months to June to be significantly higher than in the previous corresponding period. Photo: Supplied

JSE-LISTED Metair is confident that with its refined strategy it is possible to reach its target of producing 50m batteries across five continents in the next five years.

Managing director Theo Loock said yesterday that Metair remained well positioned to take advantage of changing technological trends, particularly in its Energy Storage Vertical, where the market conditions and dynamics were subject to technology shifts in the mobility market, particularly the possible accelerated mass introduction of electric vehicles.

“We are seeing a lot of growth in the emerging markets countries and we are set to capitalise as we have positioned ourselves in these markets. With our refined strategy we are looking more to the East rather than the West. Countries like Russia, China and India are providing us with more growth opportunities,” Loock said.

Metair is a leading international manufacturer, distributor and retailer of energy storage solutions and automotive components.

The group operates in two segments: automotive components vertical and energy storage vertical.

It said the strategy for the energy storage vertical was to become the world leader in the supply of energy source products used in control and energy solutions across the full spectrum of mobility options. It also wants to nurture the automotive components vertical with participation in selected growth opportunities.

“There is no doubt that there is disruption and change in our markets, but Metair is very well positioned to capitalise on these changes.

“We have enhanced our globalisation strategy as we strive to become the leading market player in energy solutions for the full mobility spectrum which opens up new markets and opportunities,” Loock added.

The group said the foundation to achieve its strategy had already been laid through various technology advancements and strategic acquisitions made in recent years, including its most recent 25.1% investment in Moll, a German battery manufacturer and supplier, which provides access to Europe and Asia as well as different mobility products and technologies.

In the six months to end June results, the group reported a marginal increase in revenue to R4.08billion, up from R4.03bn, while operating profit rose 36% to R355m, up from R260m, largely driven by a much improved performance from the automotive components vertical while the energy storage vertical performed well operationally.

The group said the results were marginally lower, due to translation weakness of foreign reported currency earnings out of Turkey and Romania.

Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation was 35% higher at R527m, with headline earnings per share improving 111% to 114c a share.

Samantha Steyn, a portfolio manager at Cannon Asset Managers, said the results were broadly in line with expectations.

The group’s operating profit margin from the automotive components division was slightly better than expected, at 9.3%, compared to the guidance of 6.8%.

“However, management did note that there were short-term currency gains that are unlikely to repeat in the second half.

“The energy storage division also performed in line with expectations, with management expecting a seasonally stronger second half.

“This could, however, be negatively impacted by a further devaluation of the Turkish lira.

“The group is yet to deliver on its globalisation strategy, with the market seemingly displaying its impatience through the company’s share price,” Steyn said.

Metair shares rose 2.79% to close at R19.89 on the JSE yesterday.