Metair completes Romanian battery factory, mulls sale of energy storage business

11th December 2019 By: Marleny Arnoldi - Creamer Media Online Writer

JSE-listed automotive components maker Metair has successfully completed the installation of the company’s first lithium-ion battery cell manufacturing and assembly facility in Bucharest, Romania.

The facility will start producing cells from the second quarter of next year, at a capacity of between 600 000 and one-million cells a year.

The project marks the conclusion of Metair’s €13-million greenfield development investment for lithium-ion technology, which started in 2017.

Meanwhile, Metair in 2018 launched a strategic review process to enhance shareholder value, finding that the two business verticals, automotive components and energy storage, were in different strategic positions. The company, therefore, plans to effect a managed separation of the two verticals.

The board has received unsolicited expressions of interest for the energy storage vertical and, particularly, Mutlu Aku.

Metair said shareholders’ interest would be best served by either keeping the energy storage business as a separate vertical, or selling the business. The board would engage with shareholders on the matter.

Further, the company was seeking a successor CEO for its Turkey-based subsidiary Mutlu Aku after the former CEO resigned. In the meantime, management members Theo Loock and Sjoerd Douwenga had been appointed to assist the local team.

Two newly appointed independent nonexecutive directors Manfred Muell and Billy Mawasha will oversee the appointment of a new CEO to the Mutlu Aku board.