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The Manufacture of Batteries
This report focuses on the manufacture and supply of batteries in South Africa. The Department of Environmental Affairs estimates that 50 million batteries are sold locally each year, primarily to the automotive, industrial and retail markets. Although the domestic manufacturing sector has the capacity to produce 5 million automotive batteries per annum, average annual production has been 4 million batteries over the last three years, sufficient to supply the replacement market for the South African Customs Union and the requirements of the Original Equipment Manufacturers. In the dry-cell battery sector Eveready is the only local manufacturer, competing with imported international brands such as Duracell, Panasonic and Energiser.
A Challenging Market
Local manufacturers of automotive batteries are finding it increasingly difficult to compete with imports especially those from South Korea, where manufacturers receive government grants and incentives. The latest available statistics show that importers have grown market share from about 8.5% in 2010 to just over 20% in 2013. The current electricity crisis has also proved challenging: although batteries are required for generators to cope with load shedding and for energy storage in the renewable energy sector, it negatively affects the cost of manufacture. The only local manufacturer of Electrolytic Manganese Dioxide (EMD), which is a vital component of the battery cathode mix in Alkaline and Lithium-ion batteries, decided to close down its operations in 2014. Delta EMD ascribed this to increasingly challenging conditions which included global EMD over-capacity, the increasing cost of doing business and the substantial capital expenditure required to sustain operations.
This report describes the current situation in the country, examines the increasingly competitive market and focuses on factors influencing the sector’s success, including the development of an industry Waste Management Plan and the importance of research and development into new, innovative technologies. The report also profiles seven local companies, including the four dominant manufacturers, Dixon, Eveready, First National Battery and Powertech.