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Sanlam seals largest deal yet in growth drive

Regulators approved the deal for Sanlam’s $1.1 billion purchase of shares in Morocco’s Saham Finances.

Sanlam, Africa’s largest insurer by market value, said it fulfilled all the conditions for the $1.1 billion (R16 billion) purchase of the shares it doesn’t already own in Morocco’s Saham Finances SA after regulators approved the deal.

The Cape Town-firm’s biggest acquisition yet deepens Sanlam’s presence in 33 markets across North Africa, the Middle East, southern, East and West Africa. Sanlam’s acquisition of the remaining 53.37% of Saham Finances, announced in March, brings its total investment in the company to almost $1.7 billion since February 2016.

“The African presence of the combined group is unparalleled in the industry,” Junior Ngulube, chief executive officer of Sanlam Emerging Markets, said in an emailed statement. “With expertise across life, general and specialist insurance and investment management in Africa, we now have significant opportunities for cross-selling and diversification.”

Sanlam now owns 90% of Saham Finances, while its property and casualty insurer, Santam, will hold the balance. Nadia Fettah will remain CEO of Saham Finances and together with deputy CEO, Emmanuel Brule, will join the Sanlam Emerging Markets executive committee, the company said.

Flush with excess cash, Sanlam has been on an acquisition spree across emerging markets and Africa at a time when its main South African rival, Old Mutual, returns to its roots on the continent after splitting off its US and UK businesses. Saham Finances, a Casablanca-based arm of the Saham Group founded by Moulay Hafid Elalamy in 1995, is the largest insurer on the continent outside of South Africa.

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The reason that the United Kingdom is being gently kicked out of the European union is because of the worthless financial services contribution they make to that Union. This “financial capital of the world” nobody wants any longer because its products insurance, money lending and spread betting is a one way benefit that gives little in return. And it is there that our South African Insurance companies march lock step in unison and follow the UK example selling hugely profitable but worth less to its customers. Quite honestly insurance is a disservice to South Africa sold to a naive rising black middle class that knows no better. Sanlam could do better developing manufacturing industry.

And when your house burns down or you are no longer able to earn an income due to disablement….Unlike the UK, the SA Govt won’t step in to bail you out with a meaningful social grant. Buying insurance is perhaps not so naive after all.

End of comments.

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