Metair gains foothold in China with 25% stake in German battery maker

The South African battery storage and automotive components group of companies Metair Investments acquired 25.1% of the German battery manufacturer Akkumulatorenfabrik Moll (Gertrud Moll) for almost $8.5 million, the firm announced on July 4.

The company said the investment was in line with Metair’s globalization strategy, which should now see the company gain a foothold in China since Moll already has a partnership with China’s biggest e-bike lead-acid battery manufacturer, Chaowei Power Holdings.

Metair says that Chaowei, which reportedly has an annual production capacity of 140 million batteries, bought a stake in Moll in 2013 and has since partnered the German company to develop EFB start-stop batteries for supply in China.

“Gertrud Moll, Chaowei and Metair are all shareholders in Moll,” Metair CEO Theo Loock, pictured, told BESB. “Moll has a 5% shareholding inChaowei’s Chinese automotive Greenfield’s investments. Through Moll, Metair will now have a small indirect shareholding in China.” The facilities in China, Metair said, are predicted to have a capacity of 4 million batteries for the aftermarket by the end of 2018.

Moll, which has the capacity to produce 1.4 million batteries a year, making EFB, AGM, gel and traction batteries as well as batteries for motorbikes and solar applications, will now secure additional production capacity in Europe and Turkey, Moll managing partner Gertrud Moll-Möhrstedt said.

“Over the next few years, the company will continue to invest six figure sums into its site at Bad Staffelstein, which shall be expanded as both a research and development centre and production site,” she said.

“This acquisition is an important next step in delivery of our strategic objectives for the energy storage vertical and builds an incubator for partnership with Moll and Chaowei,” said Loock.

“It also provides Metair with a small but critical access point into the Chinese market, laying the platform for future technology transfer and co-operation.”

Metair’s companies are all involved in the manufacture, distribution and retail of energy storage products and automotive components that it supplies to 46 destinations around the world.

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.