Business Day online – Metair gives its European and Asian expansion a jolt with purchase of Moll stake

Metair, a JSE-listed battery storage and automotive components manufacturer, has bought a 25.1% stake in Germany-based battery manufacturer Akkumulatorenfabrik Moll for cash of €7.4m.

This investment boosts Metair’s globalisation strategy, providing it with access to its European customers in Germany, and further access to Europe and Asia.

It also creates scope for product expansion across e-bikes, two-wheeler, three-wheeler, four-wheeler, trucks and electric vehicles.

“This acquisition is an important next step in delivery of our strategic objectives … and builds an incubator for partnership with Moll and Chaowei [Power Holdings],” Metair MD Theo Loock said.

Chaowei, a Chinese company listed in Hong Kong, is the largest producer of lead-acid e-bike batteries in China, with an annual production capacity of more than 140-million batteries.

Chaowei also uses lithium-ion technology, producing about 300,000 lithium-ion cells a year for e-bikes.

It bought a stake in Moll in 2013 and has since developed start-stop batteries for supply in China.

“It also provides Metair with a small but very critical access point into the Chinese market, laying the platform for future technology transfer and cooperation,” Loock said.

Founded in 1945, Moll supplies European car manufacturers, including Audi, Daimler, Porsche, Skoda, Lamborghini and Volkswagen.

The company has a distribution network across Europe and Asia.

By Mark Allix