Manufacturers are now making or investigating in electric cars and South Africa’s Metair is eyeing growth opportunities in the revolution of autonomous cars and hybrid vehicles.
Metair is a JSE-listed international manufacturer, distributor and retailer of energy storage solutions and automotive components.
The company informed investors on Thursday that in the year ahead it will focus on the transfer of technology in emerging markets.
“Our goal is to participate in the development of an electric vehicle (EV) energy source for at least one original equipment manufacturer (OEM),” the company said.
“We are busy establishing a new research and development centre in Germany in partnership with Chaowei and MOLL while looking forward to finalising the structure of our lithium-ion research and production division.”
The South African-based firm owns, or has shareholding in battery production sites in the country, China, Germany, Romania and Turkey.
The company on Thursday also reported a 6.3% rise in revenue to R9.5 billion as the automotive component vertical regained stability.
The company added that its energy storage businesses in Turkey and Romania grew revenue by 31% in local currencies, but this reduced to 21.1% in our consolidated accounts when translated into Rand.
Metair’s operating profit rose 15.9% and the group margin expanded to 8.9% (2016: 8.2%) supported by the margin recovery in the automotive component businesses.
The group earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) rose 17.6% to R1.2 billion and headline earnings increased 22.8% to R555.6 million, which translated into growth in headline earnings per share growth of 22.6% to 281 cents per share.
Headline earnings is South Africa’s main profit gauge.
Metair said revenue from the energy storage vertical increased 6.3% to R6.2 billion and operating profit grew 6%.
It added that battery sales in Turkey and Romania peak in the winter months of the last quarter of the year and strong performances at Rombat and Mutlu Akü over these months partially offset the impact of depreciating currencies and higher lead input costs.