METAIR says first-half earnings will drop as much as 59% because of the high costs associated with new model launches for clients including Toyota, which released its revamped Hilux earlier in 2016.The manufacturer of car parts and batteries said on Tuesday that it expected headline earnings per share to decline to 45c-55c in the six months to June from 111c in the previous comparable period.Metair is scheduled to release its results on August 17.The first half of the year is traditionally Metair’s toughest, as this is when production ramps up for new model launches.In 2015, the group said it had secured substantial new business from original equipment manufacturers but warned of complexities associated with volume ramp-up. This included uncertainty around market demand for new vehicles. In the longer term, however, model changes would offer growth opportunities, provided market-penetration targets were met.Although SA’s vehicle sales have faltered as inflation and interest rates sq...

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