South Africa will still account for more than half of Sanlam’s profits within four to five years, but its contribution will decline from about 65% now as the group builds its businesses in emerging markets, particularly Africa.
“We are dialling up on Africa,” Sanlam CEO Ian Kirk said in an interview last week, following the release of annual results.
They showed Sanlam Emerging Markets posted a 30% rise in net operating profits to R1.5bn for the year to end-December, making it the group’s second-most significant cluster after its Personal Finance business in SA, which increased net operating profit 7% to R4bn. Emerging market new business volumes rose 63% to R23bn.
With the group putting in one of the best showings of the large listed life assurers for the latest period, analysts are asking how it is going to consolidate and grow the businesses it now has in Africa and other emerging markets, as well as where the growth will be in the more mature South African market. In 2016, Sanlam took its stake in Morocco’s Saham Financial Services to almost 47% in a $1.3bn deal, after it first bought into Saham three years ago.