Sanlam concludes largest acquisition to date

The company has sealed its acquisition of Moroccan insurer Saham Finances for $1.1 billion (R16 billion).

JSE-listed insurer Sanlam has fulfilled all the conditions for its purchase of the rest of Moroccan insurer Saham Finances for $1.1 billion (R16 billion) after regulators approved the deal, the company said on Thursday.

Sanlam, which South Africa’s biggest insurer by market capitalisation (R166 billion), told shareholders on March 8, 2018, that it would acquire the remaining 53.27 percent shareholding in Saham that it doesn’t already own.

Sanlam has now sealed the deal, with the company now owning 90 percent of Saham.

The Cape-Town headquartered company said the deal, which is its biggest to date, is effective from October 9, 2018.

Ian Kirk (pictured), the Group CEO of Sanlam, said the conclusion of the Saham deal is an important milestone in achieving the company’s vision of “becoming a leading financial services group on the continent.”

“The confluence of the combined footprint and respective expertise of Sanlam, Santam and Saham Finances provides the Sanlam Group with an opportunity to grow its Life Insurance businesses in Francophone markets as well as leveraging the group’s expertise to grow the general insurance portfolio,” Kirk said in a statement.

“We are uniquely positioned to be the ‘go to’ financial services partner for multinationals doing business on the continent,” he added.

The Saham deal was funded with a combination of available capital, debt facilities and the issuance of equity instruments, Sanlam and Santam said in a joint statement when the deal was initially announced.

The purchase of Saham comes at a time when Sanlam’s competitor Old Mutual, returns to its South African home market after splitting off its US and UK businesses.

The Saham deal will give Sanlam presence¬ – through Saham’s operations – in more than 30 markets across the African continent including the Middle East, North, West and East Africa.

Saham predominantly writes personal lines general insurance business (which exceeds 80 percent of its portfolio). Saham has approximately 65 subsidiaries, a network of 700 branches and a staff complement of more than 3,000 people.

Saham has followed the trail of Moroccan banks, which have been moving to sub-Saharan countries to grow their influence and clout in the African continent.

According to Reuters, Saham was owned by Groupe Saham, founded in 1995 by Moroccan tycoon Moulay Hafid Elalamy who is also the country’s trade and industry minister.