Sanlam Group's Africa expansion


Luanda, Angola - Two-thirds of its countrys citizens live in poverty but for the second year running, the Angolan capital has been named the most expensive city in the world.

CAPE TOWN – Sanlam Group on Tuesday announced a US$375 million deal that will significantly expand its footprint in Africa.

Sanlam and its short-term insurance subsidiary Santam have agreed to buy a 30 percent stake in Morocco-based Saham Finances, which operates in 26 countries predominantly across Africa with a presence in the Middle East.

The transaction, which is subject to regulatory and other approvals, would expand Sanlam’s footprint in Africa with entry into attractive new markets including Cote d’Ivoire, Gabon, Senegal, Cameroon, Morocco and Angola, as well as Lebanon in the Middle East.

Mouayed Makhlouf, director of the International Finance Corporation, a member of the World Bank Group and one of the sellers, said: “IFC is pleased to support this transaction which promotes cross-border South-South investments and partnerships across Africa.”

Saham Finances, which writes mostly non-life business, has a network of more than 650 branches and 3000 employees. The largest insurance group in Africa outside of South Africa it has seen steady growth because of its ambitious acquisition strategy, with recent acquisitions in Nigeria, Kenya, Rwanda and Angola, among others.

Sanlam chief executive Ian Kirk said: “We believe that Africa presents us with a unique, long-term growth opportunity. This partnership with Saham Finances will provide the Sanlam Group with a significant competitive advantage as no other insurance company can offer the same regional network to the professional and corporate market.

“This transaction, which is aligned to our diversification strategy, will enable us to access a diversified blend of new high-growth insurance markets in North and West Africa, which are largely under-penetrated,” he added.

Santam chief executive Liz Lambrechts said: “The combined expertise and experience as well as technology and other infrastructure of Sanlam, Santam and Saham Finances will add tremendous value to all our clients across the continent.”

Saham Finances managing director Raymond Farhat added: “Our partnership with Sanlam is an important step to expand our mutual geographical presence, ensuring a unique African footprint … This partnership clearly makes Saham Finances and Sanlam the leading insurance groups across Africa.”

The transaction is expected to complete in the first quarter of 2016.