In a recent announcement, Metair Investments Limited revealed that Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Mr. Sjoerd Douwenga is set to resign from his position and as an executive director effective January 31, 2024, citing health reasons. Having served on the board since 2014, initially as Chief Financial Officer and later as CEO, Douwenga’s departure marks the end of an era for the company.
The Board expressed gratitude for Douwenga’s dedicated service and wished him well in his future endeavors. Currently, a recruitment process is underway to identify a suitable successor, with a comprehensive plan in place to ensure a seamless leadership transition. To facilitate this shift, Douwenga has committed to remaining available until March 31, 2024, ensuring an orderly handover.
Ford Project Update: Positive Momentum Amid Challenges
Metair’s operational update provided insights into the progress of the Ford Project in South Africa, a pivotal element for the Automotive Components Vertical. The report indicates that the project is on track, and investee companies associated with it continue to meet expectations. Notably, Hesto Harnesses, a Metair associate, has seen positive developments in commercial negotiations.
|Ford Project Progress
|On track as per expectations
|Hesto Harnesses Update
|Positive progress in commercial negotiations
|Pending final approval; expected July 2023
|Hesto’s Strategic Move
|Appoints Mr. Theo Loock as consultant till March 2024
The negotiation includes a proposed commercial price adjustment, set to compensate for increased product design complexities during the ramp-up phase. This adjustment is anticipated to substantially boost Hesto’s revenues and operating profit for the remaining model life. Furthermore, Hesto has taken internal measures to enhance efficiencies and reduce costs. To provide operational and strategic guidance to Hesto, Mr. Theo Loock has been appointed as a consultant until March 2024.
European Commission’s Statement of Objections: Antitrust Concerns
On Thursday, November 30, 2023, Metair and its Romanian subsidiary, Rombat S.A., received an advance copy of a Statement of Objections from the European Commission. The Statement outlines concerns that Manufacturers, including Rombat, may have violated EU antitrust rules in the realm of automotive lead-acid starter batteries from 2004 to 2017.
|Date of Objections
|November 30, 2023
|Focus of Concerns
|Potential antitrust violations between 2004 and 2017
|Within 2 months (deadline extendable)
|Prohibits disclosure of further information at this stage
Rombat, like all Metair Group companies, is committed to conducting its business in full compliance with European law. It’s important to note that the Statement does not constitute a definitive ruling, and a final determination will be made after the Commission evaluates Rombat’s detailed response, in line with EU Competition Law procedures.
Despite the challenges posed by the CEO’s resignation and the European Commission’s antitrust concerns, Metair remains focused on its commitments to stakeholders, shareholders, and compliance with regulations. The company assures stakeholders that the leadership team is stable, experienced, and actively working towards a smooth transition. Further updates on these developments are expected as the situations unfold.