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Sanlam exits UK businesses to sharpen focus

In order to free up capital for its expansion in various African markets and in India.
Image: Bloomberg

Sanlam is planning to exit several of its UK-based operations, including its life insurance and wealth management units, in order to free up capital for its expansion in various African markets and in India.

Africa’s largest insurer is buying a further stake in Morocco-based Saham Assurance SA for about R2 billion ($141 million) to boost its presence on the continent, where it already operates in over 30 countries.

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“We will maintain an asset management business in the UK,” chief executive officer Paul Hanratty said by phone. “Our other domestic businesses we’re exiting as they don’t form part of our strategy.”

The Cape Town-based firm has already received 75 million pounds ($103 million) for Nucleus Financial Group Plc after finalising its sale in August and is exploring the disposal of its insurance, pensions and wealth businesses in the UK.

The move falls in line with the insurer’s African focus, started three years ago when it paid $1.1 billion for Saham Finance. The CEO declined to disclose the value of the businesses Sanlam is exiting.

It’s also focusing on growing its market share in South Africa where it still makes most of its money. The nation has been hit hard by the pandemic, with Sanlam and its peers reporting record mortality claims.

The company is raising life premiums to protect its income base from the ongoing effects of Covid-19. It has also been recording increasing claims out of its markets in East and West Africa, Hanratty said.

The firm, which does not declare an interim dividend, reported a 16% increase in its net result from financial services for the six months ending in June, compared with the same period last year.

It’s appointed Carl Roothman, currently the head of Sanlam Private Wealth, to the role of CEO of Sanlam Investment Group with effect from January next year after the retirement of Robert Roux.

© 2021 Bloomberg

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Can we assume that Sanlam just doesn’t travel well in the UK?

Most SA companies that went abroad have been BURNT… those guys are just super competitive….

too many options in those markets.

Very few SA insurers make it in the UK and US.

Discovery/Vitality is still doing well in the UK.

Great way to get your /our cash out the country

Land with expropriation is coming after the local elections.

That explains why the JSE is dropping every day while the rest of the world stock markets are profitable.

Yet the Rand does not drop to R20/$

End of comments.

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