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Exide Technologies turns to profit in 2013, sales slide after Petone plant closure, sale of unit

Friday 4th October 2013

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Exide Technologies turned to a profit in the 2013 financial year as sales slid by two thirds after it closed its troubled battery recycling plant in Petone and sold the unit that made Exide and Marshall batteries to a rival.

Exide's New Zealand sales fell to $19.1 million from $58.6 million in the year ended March 31, as it posted a profit of $279,000 from a loss of $722,000 the year earlier, according to the Auckland-based company's annual report.

The company paid out $1.6 million during the year in restructuring costs as it closed the country's only lead-acid battery recycling plant in Petone, following a Court of Appeal decision to allow the unlimited export of used lead-acid batteries for overseas recycling. The plant had previously faced criticism for environmental and health concerns, including harmful lead emissions, an explosion, a fire and breaches of emission standards.

The Petone land and buildings have since been sold for $2.2 million, although this is not recorded in the 2013 accounts as it occurred after the March 31 balance date.

Exide, whose US parent is reorganising its business under bankruptcy protection, sold its Australian and New Zealand transportation division which manufactures Exide and Marshall batteries to a unit of Philippines-based Ramcar Batteries in February.

The New Zealand Exide unit received $2.6 million from its share of the sale price and booked a $692,000 gain on the sale. Exide retained its Australasian GNB Industrial division.

The local unit also booked a gain of $422,000 on the sale of fixed assets which it had previously written down to zero value.

The New Zealand business paid a dividend of $889,000 in 2013, down from a $2 million payment the year earlier, according to its accounts.

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