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Metair managed a solid set of results for the year to end-December with all operating metrics up. The highlights showed revenue up 8% and headline earnings up 16%, while both operating margin and asset turn were higher. Gearing remained unchanged at 30%, with the return on invested capital (ROIC) at 13% compared with a cost of capital of 12.4%. But it was not all plain sailing. Locally, First National Battery, which accounts for 16% of revenue, endured industrial action. The political situation in Turkey resulted in higher inflation and a weaker currency. So despite a 55% increase in operating profits at Mutlu Akü, the rand translation was a decline of 24%. Offsetting this was Rombat in Romania, which boosted operating profit 33% to R108m. In SA there was good volume growth as original equipment manufacturing production volume rose to 583,000 units on the back of record exports. Management at First National Battery has been strengthened and a better financial performance should be a...

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