Metair expects strong growth in vehicle production – Business Day

Metair, the JSE-listed leading international manufacturer, distributor and retailer of energy storage solutions and automotive components, anticipates a 100 000 to 150 000 units a year increase in vehicle production by original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) in South Africa in the medium term.

Analyst cites Turkish business as results come in better than expected.

Metair says it “performed very well in 2017 in a dynamic and challenging environment”, at a time vehicle technologies are shifting away from fossil fuels …

Measured in energy, it sold as many batteries as Tesla made at its famous gigafactory, the JSE-listed Metair said on Thursday.
Even if its manufacturing is not centralised in one huge factory but scattered around the world – where the customers are.
Metair wants to be a “multiple-site giga factory” as it scrambles to keep up with electric cars, which hold a lot of changes for part manufacturers.
His company’s sale of batteries last year “were on par with Tesla’s Gigafactory automotive output” Metair CEO Theo Loock said in an annual report for the company released on Thursday.
Even if the way parts company Metair approaches mass-manufacturing is rather different to the way electric car company Tesla goes about things.
“Metair cannot be a single site Giga factory as our customer base is in multiple locations and the watt-hours we sell are required by vehicle manufacturers and vehicle owners in different countries and diverse geographical locations,” Loock said. “Our strategy is to continue to become a multiple site gigafactory.”
Tesla is famously building a single, gigantic factory to make the batteries for its electric vehicles, which now include trucks. 
At its final capacity the Tesla factory is due to produce 35 gigawatt-hours (GWh) worth of lithium-ion batteries every year, or about as much as made in the entire world at the moment. But it is still ramping up to that number.
In 2017 the Metair energy business had a capacity of 11.5GWh, and sold 10.42GWh in batteries, Loock said.
Metair started life as a supplier to Toyota more than 70 years ago, and car parts are still a huge part of its business. However, for the 2017 year it reported R6.2 billion in revenue from its energy storage business, which was nearly 60% of its group revenues, and batteries were also responsible for most of its profits.
It started using lithium-ion batteries for the lamps on mining helmets in South Africa in 2013. It now has relationships with universities in the Western Cape and Romania to look into battery technology, and in 2017 converted a car from internal combustion to battery power as part efforts to explore electric vehicles.

By Phillip de Wet, 15 March 2018

South African automotive and energy component maker Metair Investments Limited’s full-year profits rose 23% after an improved performance from its automotive unit, the firm said on Thursday.
Headline earnings per share (heps) for the year ended December 31 increased to 281 cents from 229 cents in the previous comparable period. Revenue rose 6.3% to R9.5 billion ($805 million).
Turnover at the company’s automotive components unit recovered strongly, growing by 5.2% to R4.4 billion, as production ramped up and stability returned to the businesses after a new model launch in 2016, it said.
Revenue at the company’s energy storage businesses in Turkey and Romania grew by 31% in local currencies.
The automotive components unit, which makes vehicle components such as brake pads and shock absorbers, contributed 41% of group revenue and 42% of operating profit.
Metair, which also has operations in Turkey and Russia, has been growing its international footprint by acquiring majority stakes in battery manufactures in Romania and Istanbul to help develop its presence in the secondary automotive sector.
The company said it has a positive outlook for 2018 for its automotive component business in South Africa as it expects vehicle production to improve there.
“Metair’s outlook for South African vehicle production in the medium term has improved and we believe volumes of 650 000 to 700 000 for the industry as a whole (around 10% to 20% above the 563 857 units produced in 2017) could be achievable,” Metair said.

By Patricia Aruo, 15 March 2018

Energy storage and automotive component manufacturer Metair is gearing up to become a multiple-site giga factory, in an effort to reap the benefits from the rapid increase in battery use in the automotive, telecoms, utility, mining, retail and materials-handling sectors.
“We have made good progress in becoming a multiple site giga factory, servicing customers closer to the geographies where they operate,” said Metair MD Theo Loock on Thursday, commenting on the group’s financial results for the year ended December 31.
“To put this into perspective, our combined energy vertical sold over 10.4 gigawatt-hours in 2017, which is equivalent to Tesla’s Giga factory automotive output.”
Capacity within the group is 11.5 gigawatt hours.
Loock said Metair aimed to have 20 gigawatt hours capacity in the “next two to three years”.
This growth would not be organic, but acquisitive, he added.
The final phase of growth, to an expected 35 gigawatt hours, would require a merger or acquisition of some kind, noted Loock.
Metair has two business verticals: automotive components and energy storage.
The Numbers

Metair 2017 revenue was up 6.3%, to R9.5-billion, compared with 2016. Operating profit increased by 15.9%, to R847-million.
The group margin expanded to 8.9%, up from 8.2% in 2016.
Metair’s performance was supported by a bounce-back in the results of its automotive component vertical and the energy storage businesses in Turkey and Romania growing revenue by 31% in local currencies.
“The group performed very well in a dynamic environment marked by major technology shifts in the mobility market,” said Loock.
The automotive components vertical recovered strongly as production ramped up and stability returned following a new vehicle model launch for a key customer in South Africa in 2016.
Turnover within the vertical increased 5.2% to R4.4-billion, contributing 41% to group revenue and 42% to operating profit.
“Metair provided input into the review of the Automotive Production and Development Programme (APDP) and we believe that the [new] programme will continue to support the South African automotive industry effectively,” noted Loock.
“Against this backdrop, our outlook for South African vehicle production in the medium term has improved and we believe volumes of 650 000 to 700 000 are attainable.”
Loock said this growth would especially be made possible on the back of studies to increase light-commercial vehicle production in South Africa.
South African vehicle production reached 563 857 units in 2017.
Metair’s energy storage vertical increased revenue by 6.3% to R6.2-billion, contributing 59% to the group revenue.
Operating profit grew 6% and contributed 58% to the group operating profit.
“[This year] will see us focus on the transfer of technology in emerging markets, with our key goal to participate in the development of an electric vehicle energy source for at least one [vehicle manufacturer],” said Loock.
In 2017, Metair acquired a 25.1% stake in Germany-based battery manufacturer and supplier, Akkumulatorenfabrik Moll. This investment provides Metair with a presence next to its European customers in Germany and, through Moll’s shareholding in Chaowei Power Holdings, expands Metair’s global reach in Asia with a small, but critical access point into the Chinese market.
Metair is establishing a new research and development centre in Germany in partnership with Moll and Chaowei. The group is also in the process of finalising the structure of its lithium-ion research and production division, following the acquisition of a 35% in Primemotors, in Romania, to accelerate its production of lithium-ion batteries for the growing European market.
The group also launched a programme to partner with universities and industry agencies for the production and certification of lithium-ion batteries. The programme is an important move for Metair which historically used available lithium-ion solutions from upstream suppliers in order to deliver customer specific systems and solutions by adding its own system design and controls.
A key programme milestone has already been achieved with Metair delivering its first lithium-ion electric vehicle conversion from its Romanian operations to a vehicle manufacturer in Turkey.
In South Africa, Metair is looking at sourcing aluminium sheeting that is used in lithium-ion battery production, said Loock.
He added that the next generation of vehicles to be produced by vehicle manufacturers in South Africa would feature hybrid and/or electric vehicles.

“Our export markets will drive this development.”

By Irma Venter, 15 March 2018

Vehicle parts maker Metair reported a better set of results on Thursday.

Metair’s automotive components vertical division showed a steady recovery after disruptions linked to new vehicle launches a couple years ago.

Thus, headline earnings per share rose 23% to R2.81 in the year to December, which was in the upper end of its guidance.

Group revenue was up 6.3% to R9.5bn, as the automotive component vertical regained stability, helping to push net profit to R587.57m from R468.05m.

Group margin expanded to 8.9% from 8.2%, supported by the margin recovery in the automotive component businesses.

The automotive components vertical segment sells product solutions ranging from lighting, ride comfort and heat exchange to vehicle electrical distribution and plastic part solutions.

The group also has an energy-storage business, which sells batteries to the after-market and industrial clients.

The battery business enjoyed a particularly strong performance in Romania and Turkey, partially offset by the weaker Turkish lira, the company said in a statement.

Metair exports products produced in SA, Turkey and Romania to original equipment manufacturers, making it sensitive to currency fluctuations.

By Andries Mahlangu, 15 March 2018


The manufacturer, distributor and retailer of energy storage solutions and automotive components, Metair released its results today.

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