South African energy storage products and auto parts manufacturer Metair Investments Ltd is bidding to enter Europe's expanding EV power supply business
It is seeking to acquire the established Slovenian vehicle battery producer Tovarna Akumulatorskih Baterijd.d. (TAB).
The Johannesburg-based group said it has submitted to TAB shareholders “an indicative non-binding offer” to purchase the European firm which has three plants in Slovenia and Macedonia, for around €300m.
Fifty-three year old TAB, based in Mezica, Slovenia, produces a range of automotive and industrial batteries as well as recycling power pack scrap. It makes auto after-market batteries and distributes the products throughout Europe with global industrial battery sales. The firm employs 1,300 overall.
Metair is keen to take advantage of TAB's research and development expertise in the area of lithium-ion batteries and electric vehicles where the enlarged group would dedicate more resources.
The would-be buyer identified TAB as “scarce strategic asset” offering a strong global presence in industrial batteries, as well as providing a valuable distribution outlet in a new market in Europe.
Publicly quoted Metair made clear in a filing on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange any transaction is at an early stage and still subject to a number of conditions. But it suggested, if the deal goes through, the takeover could be completed by the final quarter of this year.
In its preliminary statement, Metair indicated it is willing to expand TAB's production sites to take advantage of its competitive manufacturing cost base.
Formed in 1948, Metair was initially an auto parts supplier to a single OEM in South Africa before expanding its aftermarket and non-automotive product range and international customers. It already has operations in five countries and aims to extend its reach over five continents in the next five years.
TAB produces 3 million vehicle starter batteries per year at its plant at Črna na Koroškem, Slovenia while at a second unit in Žerjav, Slovenia makes industrial batteries recycles lead waste from battery scrap. Another auto battery production plant with a 1.5 million pa capacity and recycling operates at Probishtip in Macedonia.