Slovenia battery manufacturer Tovarna Akumulatorskih Baterij d.d. (TAB) is to invest up to €25m to build a new automotive starter battery plant in North Macedonia.
TAB’s new facility will be established in Probištip in the east of the Balkan state where it already operates a 1.5 million unit per year battery production unit. The new facility will create nearly 90 jobs.
This project was announced in the Slovenian capital Lublijana during a recent visit by a Macedonian business delegation led by the country’s Prime Minister Zoran Zaev. During the visit he held talks with his Slovenian counterpart Marjan Sarec on boosting economic ties between their countries.
TAB, based in Mežica in Slovenia, runs its local plant TAB MAK which the company launched in 2012 at Probištip when it acquired the Vesna SAP battery unit, formerly known as Zletovo.
Today, TAB MAK has a 414 strong workforce there and the local subsidiary is profitable, generating annual revenue of €60m. Expansion with a new unit will take the number of employees to over 500.
TAB, which is one of the most successful companies in Slovenia’s northern region of Koroška, achieved annual national turnover of €280.5m with a net profit of €26.5m during 2018.
Overall, with its operation in North Macedonia included, the TAB group performance for last year saw it achieve revenue worth €336.4m with a profit of €31.6m.
The privately-owned company has a vehicle starter battery plant at Črna na Koroškem in northern Slovenia, close to the Austrian border producing 3 million units annually. Nearby, TAB runs a second facility in Žerjav producing industrial batteries and recycling lead from battery scrap.
Last year, TAB was the subject of an international takeover bid from Metair Investments Ltd, a South African auto parts and battery manufacturer keen to enter the growing European EV power supply industry. But, after several months of exclusive talks, Metair abandoned its quest in the face of currency fluctuation and the escalating cost of a purchase.
TAB vowed to continue its “independent development” while remaining open to discussing strategic cooperation in the battery industry, the firm’s director and co-owner Bogomir Auprih said.
However, talk of a potential new TAB acquisition was revived recently with local media reports that TAB may be sold to a new buyer, though the Slovenian company did not comment immediately on the speculation.