Insurance group Sanlam has increased its stake in Morocco’s Saham to about 85%.
This happened despite the Casablanca-based group’s Lebanon business being written down to zero following the massive explosion in Beirut last August.
Sanlam initially bought its 61.7% stake in Saham for R5.7 billion in 2018, as part of its African expansion strategy. Its latest move now sees its subsidiary, SAN JV, acquiring a further 22.8% in Saham for about R2 billion.
“Morocco and the broader North and West Africa regions remain key markets for Sanlam and this proposed transaction is in line with our African diversity strategy,” said Sanlam Emerging Market CEO Heinie Wert.
In November, Sanlam said despite the setback in Lebanon it remained committed to its expansion across the continent.
“Saham Finances brought a complementary footprint and has expanded our continental business presence and given us particularly strong property and casualty insurance businesses in a number of African countries outside South Africa,” said Sanlam Group CEO Paul Hanratty at the time.
An ‘outstanding’ business
He added: “Saham Finances has a particularly strong management team and sound financial management. We have got to know and appreciate this business over the last five years, and it is an outstanding business in every sense.”
Sanlam is acquiring the holding from Said Alj and two entities related to him, Sanam and First Commercial Estate Company SARL.
The latest transaction will enable Sanlam “to deepen its direct presence in North and Francophone West Africa” as part of its strategy to optimise the Pan-Africa portfolio and strengthen its position in core markets.
It will also enable it to “explore broad partnerships in the long-term that will further support growth in the region”.
This latest deal also allows Alj to exit the business. Alj will, however, continue to chair Sanam.
“This transaction further enhances our long-standing commitment to the Moroccan market. We look forward to deepening our presence and to continue delivering excellent service and value to our clients and stakeholders,” said Wert.